GAME REVIEW: VIEWPOINT
Viewpoint in a new non-collectible abstract card game produced by an independent Australian games group called 93 Made Games. The game contents consist of a deck of 70 cards and a rule sheet, attractively packaged in a small black cardboard box. The card stock is of a good quality. The rules are short and simple and presented on a folded enclosure. The game is designed for 2 – 8 players of ages 7+
The first thing I liked about Viewpoint, is its simplicity. You can easily be playing your first game within 5 minutes. Most of what you need to know is printed on the cards themselves. The designer has also used icons, representing different aspects of the game (e.g. the discard pile, the play area and your hand of cards) to make it even easier to understand.
At the start of play, each person is dealt a hand of five cards. These cards each have values clearly printed on them, ranging from negative amounts to a maximum of 20 points. They also have actions printed on them, along with a graphic (which features some pun on vision such as ‘wink’ or ‘blind spot). The action associated with an individual card is usually executed as you attempt to put the card face up into your play area (known as your Viewpoint). There are a few cards (such as spectacles) that allow you to play the card as a reaction to other players trying to affect your cards.
The object of the game is to be the first player with 100 points down on the table, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Players have cards that can steal cards you have tabled or send them to the discard pile. So you need to be able to judge the best time to put card on the table and how to defend your cards once they are down.
When I received my copy of Viewpoint I initially played a number of 2 player games with my son. Admittedly, the games were fun but I was not initially impressed. Viewpoint appeared to be a very quick game (5 minutes or less duration) and there did not appear to be a high degree of skill involved in winning. However, a few days later I had the chance to introduce Viewpoint to our games club and played a number of games with 4-6 players. This is where Viewpoint really shines. With more players, you need to be much more strategic about how and when you play your cards, as well as keeping a careful eye on what people have got down on the table.
Simply placing cards into your Viewpoint won’t win you the game, as other players will start targeting you as you hit a score of around 80+. You need think ‘out of the box’ and bluff your opponents, by sitting on a ‘non-threatening’ score, while searching for cards that will let you steal cards or take multiple turns, allowing you to suddenly win the game by coming from behind. By the end of our third game at the club, you could see the lights coming on in people’s eyes and the attitude to the game changing. Players began to explore the subtle strategies inherent in each different card and how they could be used to get those elusive 100 points down on the table.
Overall, I would highly recommend Viewpoint as an excellent game for 4-8 players. Personally, I don’t think it works as well with fewer players but (hey), I’m a person who has always liked multiple player games over one on one games. The design of the game system works very well and there is an opportunity for “93 Made Games” to release future expansion packs of cards that could add to the mischief already present in the base deck. Perhaps they could run a competition for Viewpoint enthusiasts to design a card for inclusion in an expansion.
The only real negative comment is that I found the graphics not quite up to standards set by other games manufacturers – but full praise to 93 Made Games for publishing Viewpoint with what resources they currently have available to them and releasing an entertaining game accessible by hard-core gamers and casual gamers alike.
Overall Rating: Four Stars
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