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     " This game is nice and simple, but has enough elements of strategy to still be engaging. "

      Title: Pipe Game by Cheapass Games

      Format: Strategy card game

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: An abstract strategy game, it isn't like any other pipe-related game you've ever played before.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Playability: This game is really very simple and fun. The point of the game is to collect more cards than your opponent by closing off, "sets" of pipes of your color. It sounds pretty straightforward, and for the most part it is. You and your opponent are dealt nine cards (of which you keep five), and one of you declares what color they will be playing (white or black). All of the cards have white and black pipes, or caps on them. After this you start laying down cards on the table, when somebody has a collection of pipes that won't leak water (i.e. all pipes are connected, or capped) then they take all of those cards off the table and add them to their pile. This is the basic version of the game, there are two others that involve using the, "fields" (basically the areas between pipes) to add more variety and strategy to the game. 4 out of 5.

      Aesthetics: Aesthetically this game is pretty lacking. The cards are all grayscale with white or gray pipes (although the pipes do have a nice 3-D look to them), and the backgrounds are really simplistic, being composed of either a diamond plate texture (you know like that stuff Christian Slater put on his final skateboard in Thrashin'), or a random stone-like texture. The cards really could have used either color, or at least more engaging background textures. 2.5 out of 5.

      Balance: The game itself is very balanced. Because there seem to be equal numbers of pipe configurations for both colors, you and your opponent have exactly the same chances of winning based on the distribution of cards alone. The games however aren't always balanced, that really depends on how good you and your opponents are at anticipating each other's moves, or spotting their possible sets. 4 out of 5.

      Value vs. Cost: This game is dirt-cheap. I found it for $3.95; you really can't get much for that amount of money as far as card games go. Therefore judging by the amount of time that you and your friends are likely to spend playing the game, it is worth a bit more than it costs. Especially when you consider that there are three versions of the game, one of which can involve four players, this game will have you playing for hours. 5 out of 5.

      The Verdict:

       This game is nice and simple, but has enough elements of strategy to still be engaging. It is something that you would always want to have in your pocket, or your backpack just in case you and your friends got bored. It also works as a fun little game to play at home with siblings and whatnot.

      The Good: Easy to pick up, small (physically), fairly cheap.

      The Bad: The cards are very bland (black and white, with lame textures).

      The Overall Ugly: This is a cool, small, easy to learn game that will keep you and one, or three, friends happy for a while and it is fairly cheap too.

      What it's Worth: $6.00

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