Eyeball Boxing Review
Review by David Lent
Eyeball boxing is a zany card game for 2-5 players where each player tries to be the last eyeball standing or create 3 hotdogs (yes, you read that right). I saw an article about this game on the Internet and the theme seemed really unique, if not strange so I contacted the manufacturer and requested a demo copy so I could review it.
The game includes a 20-page rulebook and lots of cards. The artwork on everything looks good and has a humorous look to it. There is also a how to play video on Quirky Engine Entertainment’s website, so you can watch that if you don’t like reading rulebooks.
Each player starts the game with two eyeballs that have the equivalent of 3 hit points each and seven cards. The deck has 3 bell cards inserted into it in the top, middle and bottom third. Whenever a bell card is drawn, each player may play a patch and stitch card to heal an eye. The first player is determined by whoever has the best insult.
During a turn a player may play one card or build a hotdog if they have all three ingredients and draw cards to replace them. The legal moves are punches, blocks, jab and grabs, shakedowns, block and knocks, patch and stitch and safety first. However, eyeballs are not known for playing fair so they also have some illegal moves. They are stealing, swarm, eye fry and nap time. If you have a foul card, you can play it to cancel an illegal move.
The game play for this game seemed different for 2-player games than the 3-5 player games. In two player games, the game was usually won by whoever created 3 hotdogs. However, the 3-5 player games seemed to usually be won by whoever was the last eye standing. In 3-5 player games, players are not out of the game if they get 2 black eyes (as long as 2 or more players still have healthy eyes). Instead, they can continue to play and try to win by building 3 hotdogs.
There was less punching in this game than I thought there would be in a game named Eyeball Boxing. Much of the game revolves around getting hotdog parts instead. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I do wish there was punching cards that did more than 1 damage. A hypothetical one-two punch that does a total of 2 damage and requires two blocking cards to completely stop it would have been really cool. The way the game is an opponent can only do a maximum of 1 damage to you during his/her turn. Variable damage would make the game more interesting. I felt that some of the steal cards, eye fry cards and swarm cards should have been replaced with some type of punching card.
There is no mechanic in the rulebook to just “discard a card to draw a card” when you have a hand full of cards that you currently can’t use. This caused players to simply pass their turn and do nothing more often than players would have liked.
Munch of the fun in this game is from stealing hotdog parts with either shakedown or steal cards. It’s common for someone to shakedown another player and take a card followed by the other players immediately stealing it. Sometimes the hotdog parts become a hot potato.
This is a simple and fun game that can be played be people of any age. It plays really fast, especially with 2 players. There are areas that could use improvement and I can’t help but wonder if a little more play testing and development would have made this an outstanding game instead of just a good game.