Full disclosure: A review copy of Pigasus was provided by Brain Games.
Dusting off more games for review! I’m surprised I didn’t get around to doing this one, but I think I know what happened. I originally wanted to make it a Halloween Spooky Game, but it wasn’t quite spooky, and then it got lost in my archives for a bit. But, my county is still kinda locked down, so, it’s time to dig all sorts of stuff out of the archives and see what we can do. So let’s dig into Pigasus, one of the many new releases from Brain Games.
In Pigasus, well, something horrible has happened. You left the animals unattended, and, well, they got switched up somehow. Not in a “pigs ended up in the chicken coop” sense, but more in a “there’s a pig’s head on a snail’s body, god help us all, these are the times of the devil” way. You know, as they do. Your only hope is to figure out which animals are swapped and just kind of … leave them together and hope they swap back eventually. Or open up some kinda freaky zoo. Or both, honestly. Will you be able to figure out which of your animals got flipped around? Or are you stuck with these weird nightmare creatures forever?
Shuffle the Animal Cards:
Remove 16! Set them aside. They won’t be used this game. Set the Pigasus in the center of the table:
So cute. You’re ready to get started! That’s it.
Alright, this one’s dead simple. Designate one player to be the flipper. Similar to Anomia, they’ll flip the top card of the deck away from them and place it face-up in the center at any pace they’d like. No covering cards!
If you see any pair of animals who have had their heads and bodies swapped, grab the Pigasus! If multiple players go for it, whoever has grabbed more of it takes it. The player who grabs it must immediately point out the matching pair. If they can, they take that pair, set it aside in a pile of cards they’ve collected, and become the new flipper. If they can’t, they must put X cards that they’ve collected back into the box, where X is the number of players.
Game’s over once there are no more pairs to get! This may take a minute to figure out, but remember that there are 16 cards missing, so once there are fewer than 16 cards it’s possible that you’re in a state where there are no more pairs available. Once that happens, count cards; the player who has collected the most wins!
Player Count Differences
Not many. Hope you’re quick! At higher player counts there’s more contention for points since there’s more players to try and steal them away from you … and that’s about it. Beyond that, you don’t really change any aspects of the game to play it with more players; you just have to deal with more people reaching for the Pigasus when you want to score. Maybe they’ll see something you don’t? You better hope not.
- My ongoing trick is to always say, just to myself, the components of the animal that was just flipped. I tend to recognize me repeating myself (I do that a lot, so, you get kind of used to it), so if I say the same thing more than once, I tend to notice. I think I also came up with names for most of them, which helped? Whatever helps you notice if you should be paying attention to the card that was just played, though. Also the body colors are fairly distinct, if you can match color patterns quickly, and that can help a lot.
- Be quick. The whole point of this game is being the fastest, so you’re going to have to be the fastest. You also need to be precise, though; you don’t want to burn cards if you don’t have to, especially at higher player counts (as you’ll lose even more cards, which is bad).
- Don’t be afraid to throw some elbows to get to that Pigasus. You’re going to have to get it, so … go for it. Don’t shy away just because you see someone else going after it; that’s how you get intimidated into a loss. I find this happens a lot with some players in real-time games, and, yeah, there’s no better way around it than just telling them to get in there and fight for the Pigasus.
- If you’re really trying to be strategic about this … you might be overthinking it. It’s definitely a family-weight real-time game that you can’t do much better with than being good at pattern-matching quickly. There’s not really like, “placement strategies” or ways you can flip or play cards to try and advantage yourself. I mean, there might be, but … is that really how you want to live your life? I’d argue no. So just kinda let the wave of the game watch over you. It’s going to be exciting either way.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- The art is deeply upsetting, but I heard it used to be worse! I love it. Anything combined with the snail becomes a nightmare in either direction. I was told that it used to be even more realistic but test audiences of kids “found it horrifying”. The person who told me that laughed after they said it, so, that’s powerfully funny. It’s definitely a game that works playfully with just a little bit of intense animal body horror, so, if you’re into that, it’s a blast! That said, it’s the rough body horror equivalent of the Nicktoon Catdog, so, I’m not going to really say that it’s all that horrifying. It just kind of is what it is.
- That Pigasus is hilarious. I love it! It squeaks and it’s bright pink. What’s not to like? It makes for a great centerpiece and really draws the eye when people walk by. They come for the Pigasus and stay for the mild trauma of seeing all the other horrifying animals.
- Pretty easy to set up. All you need to do to be ready to play is shuffle a deck of cards and remove 16 of them. That’s pretty great, as far as setup for most games goes.
- Very simple game to learn. You slap the Pigasus when two “animals” have their heads and bodies swapped. That’s pretty much the whole game; just don’t slap it incorrectly. That said, sometimes even if you slap incorrectly you can pull it out and quickly find a pair that does work, and then pretend like that was what you were going for the whole time. Very nonchalant. Very cool. Very workable. Can’t recommend enough.
- Plays quickly. As most real-time games do. Less than 20 minutes, I’d say, depending on how fast your flipper is.
- I really do like a good speed game. It’s just very much my scene. I like having to move quickly to be successful and I think it’s satisfying when you hit the Pigasus perfectly.
- The pattern recognition in this is fun, though I do prefer the mental gymnastics required for Zogen, ever so slightly. I like that you have to track the changes, and that’s fun for me. This is much simpler, though, so if you want to ramp up to Zogen or introduce it to newer gamers, this might be the exact game to try that out with. Anomia, admittedly, is even harder, I think.
- There’s always some fungibility in how players reveal / place the cards; just try to make it somewhat fair. Please ask players to avoid trying to be “strategic” or “jerks” when they’re placing cards. Make sure the cards are face-up and visible and that should be fine. Don’t cover other cards. Don’t try to place them away from players who are doing well. Anything like that can happen with these games, so just … discourage it.
- Don’t play this one anywhere where you think slapping a squeak toy routinely is going to be extremely annoying. Other players and people not in the game may not like the loud noises that Pigasus can make, so, be sensitive to what nearby players are playing, as well.
- Speed games aren’t everyone’s jam. Be sensitive to the desires of your player group. I have a lot of friends who don’t like speed games. Don’t force people to play games they won’t enjoy. Real-time / speed games tend to be more divisive than other titles, I’ve found.
Overall: 8 / 10
Overall, I think Pigasus is a blast. It’s definitely on that list of speed games that people won’t really play as often, but I think that that’s often because these kinds of games tend to tilt towards players who either have a good scanning ability or have a lot of experience with these types of games, and that’s not always … fun? It’s not like you can learn the tricks of “look for cards faster”, all the time, and that doesn’t always make for a great player experience. That said, if you like these kinds of games, I think this one is very good. It’s streamlined in that you’re only looking for pairs, and all the art is hilarious. The decision to remove 16 randomly is just enough that there’s no way to guess what’s been omitted (since each card only has one pair), so there’s always a good bit of tension around whether or not you can actually match the card you’re looking at. The nice thing about these low-overhead speed games is that they’re also very easy for younger players to pick up and become pretty solid at, and the weird whimsical art will probably not horrify them too much. Though I gotta say, the art is really what makes this game, for me. It’s delightfully terrible in a weird Catdog-meets-Dr.-Moreau way, and I love it. Do I ever want to see another game with this art? Pretty solidly no, but it’s great and weird and terrible and excellent that this particular game exists. Plus it comes with a giant squeaky pig, which, hilarious. I fully acknowledge that real-time speed games like this aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ll freely admit that they’re mine. If you like that kind of gameplay, you’re looking for something that’s accessible for younger players, or you just want to see some really weird art, I’d recommend checking out Pigasus! I think it’s a lot of fun.