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     " Would it just be hundred of white cards that each said, 'Ha-hah! You'll pay us like the addicts you are'? "

      Title: The Simpsons Trading Card Game by Wizards of the Coast

      Format: Humorous collectable card game

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: Easily the most popular, and marketable, sit-com and cartoon in history now hits as its very own trading card game. But with a dubious history of name association and a number of stinker products to their name, can a Simpsons card game fly? Wizards of the Coast, the company that started the collectable card game genre, thinks it can. Read on to find out what we think…

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Playability: Many of us, who were tortured with teasers and leaked bits of info for months before the game's debut, were really interested to see how The Simpsons' game would play. Would it be combat like Magic? Would it use a random connection mechanic like Girl Genius? Would it just be hundred of white cards that each said, "Ha-hah! You'll pay us like the addicts you are"? Or would it be something totally different? Well, promisingly, the game's system is totally new and completely proprietary. Based around the creation of scenes from the show (such as Krusty's Clown College, The Leftorium, and Barney's Bowl-O-Rama) using the venerable Simpsons' cast.
          This is executed through the playing of both "Scene" and "Character" cards. On their turn, a player may put down both a Scene and up to two Characters on that, or other, scenes which either complete or trash it. Once completed or trashed points are awarded based on the number of characters on the scene, who originally played it, and who finished it. Those points, in low denominations, are tracked for each player and the first player to 7 wins.
          Now, just in case that didn't make a whole lot of sense, I'll state straight away that The Simpsons plays both simply and in a manner that ties itself well to the series. The combined use of the show scenes and highly recognizable characters like Reverend Lovejoy and Cletus means that you'll actually feel somewhat involved with the eclectic mix of four fingered citizens. The mechanics themselves are solid and surprisingly entertaining and will be not only accessible but enjoyable to players of pretty much any age. Deck construction can be as deep or as simple as a player wants (or wants to put the time into) and while it is no doubt that a strong strategy and depth will immerge in tournament play, for beginners The Simpsons clearly lacks the painful card selection importance that other trading and collectible card games have required. 4.5 out of 5

      Aesthetics: Sporting simple black borders and small pictures inspired by, but not taken from, the series the artwork is effective and reasonable but not quite as good as you'd probably expect. Not quite show quality, the art is very reminiscent of The Simpsons' comic books, which leaves a little to be desired. Layout itself is logical and easy to read with all the information being presented sensibly and clearly. 3.5 out of 5

      Value vs. Cost: With 40 card (deck size) starters running about $10 and 11 card boosters falling in at about $3.25 getting started will be pleasantly reasonable but expanding your deck may get pricey in a hurry. What's worse is that for our review we acquired 3 booster packs to add to our starters and in among those 33 booster acquired cards we had 15 duplicates of 5 different cards; which means that a little less than half the cards from the boosters were the same 5 cards over and over again. And while duplicates will definitely be desired in your playable deck if this ends up being a fair sampling of the card assortment you'll either have to spend a ton of money to expand your set or be happy with the small amount of diversity in your allotment. 2 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, I'm very pleased with WotC's new foray into the genre and playing The Simpsons is one of my favorite current gaming activities. It's balanced, easy to learn, fun to master, and is playable in equal parts intense strategy and drunken-esque humor. My only real complaint is the positively horrid booster duplication issue…but if you're only playing for fun that won't be a big deal.

      The Good: Fun, easy to learn, and very fitting to The Simpsons' theme.

      The Bad: Almost 50% duplicates? What gives?!?!

      The Overall Ugly: Definitely a good time…but to play it seriously be prepared to drop a lot of cash.

      What it's Worth: Market…but I'd get a bunch of buddies together to buy your boosters in bulk. That should also cut down on your duplicates.

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