Review – Penny Arcade: Gamers vs Evil

Posted on by Jesta

If you want a standard, light deck building game with good mechanics and a bit of humour this game could be for you.

Title: Penny Arcade The Game: Gamers vs Evil

Year Published: 2011

Designer: Mike Donais, Paul Sottosanti

Publisher: Cryptozoic

Players: 2-4

Game Time: 30+ Mins

Set-up Time: >5 Mins

Ages: 16+

Theme: The Penny Arcade World

Mechanic: Deck Building

How to win: Score the most Victory Points

Game Description

Welcome to the world of Penny Arcade, the top web comic for all things gaming, so it’s only fitting that Penny Arcade gets its own deck-building game. Players will select cards from a communal pool. You’ve followed the way of the warrior, the story of the Cardboard Tube Samurai. You too wept with Charles over the lack of Halo on the Macintosh. Now rally them together to build your perfect deck.

In Penny Arcade: The Game – Gamers vs. Evil, players will take from a shared group of cards representing icons from the Penny Arcade world, each character possessing a unique power. Purchase Gamer cards with your gold. Yes, put that Merch in your deck! CONSUME! If you’d prefer to battle, wield the Cardboard Tube and attack one of the Evil cards. Dodge PAX Pox, make friends with a Werewolf With a Top Hat, ally with Cardboard Tube Samurai, PvP with your opponents, and skewer Dark Tycho for his epic loot. Build your perfect deck and win the battle of Gamers vs. Evil.

Set Up

Set up is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

Firstly you pick one random Red boss and one random Green boss. Shuffle the boss cards and put 4 face down under the Level 1 card, 4 face down under the Level 2 card and place the Level 3 card face up at the bottom.

Penny Arcade Boss Cards

The boss cards including the promotional Fruit F*cker

Merch (Green) and Fleshreaper (Red) are in every game and the Red backed cards are used to randomise the other 12 piles. There may not always be an even number of Red and Green piles to choose from.

If you’re interested, here is my fave 5 Penny Arcade Gamers vs Evil cards

Merch and Fleshreaper

Merch and Fleshreaper – In every game

The ‘Deleted Cards’ and Pax Pox stack are placed near the board. All the other cards are lined up, usually by colour and in order of their cost.

Penny Arcade Gamers vs Evil Standard Setup

Suggested set up for the first game

Next, deal out two Character cards to each player so they can choose one to use for the game.

Now, we personally prefer to deal out character cards first before setting up the game to make it more interesting. This means you pick a character then adjust your play to how the board is set up. But, as long as everyone has the same advantage/disadvantage I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Character Cards

Character Cards

If you’re interested in who I would pick I wrote a post on my fave 5 Penny Arcade Gamers vs Evil Characters.

Which ever way you choose to do it, you will have a starting deck containing the number of Tokens or Cardboard Tubes stated on your character card. You may also start with another card in your deck, depending on the character.

Game Play

Again, VERY straight forward.

You shuffle your deck and draw 6 cards add up the number of Tokens or Power you produce and buy up to as many cards as you can afford.

The purchased cards and the cards you played go into your discard pile, you discard unused cards and draw up back up for your next turn. On your third turn you are generally out of cards in your deck so you shuffle your discard pile to create a new deck and draw 6, hopefully drawing those juicy new cards you purchased.

For anyone even slightly familiar with how deck building games work this will all be very familiar.

End Game

When 6 stacks of cards (including the Pax Pox Stack) have been depleted, or either level 3 boss had been bought, the game ends at the end of that turn.

Most victory points wins.

Round Up

It is VERY basic but a lot of fun. More filler than real game but you can play 5-6 games in a couple of hours. If you know the Penny Arcade characters and like the Penny Arcade humour then this is definitely one for you.

Taking the Green Strategy over the Red is quite balanced. Standard Green cards don’t get you any points but the Boss loots are worth more. With Red, each card is worth at least 1 point but the Boss loots are worth fewer points.

Green tends to favour card drawing, card deleting and defence from attacks with Boss loots favouring luck (Roll of a die)

Red favours attacks and pure power with Boss loots having a strong but definite ability.

So either way the game plays pretty much the same. PVP attack cards make the game somewhat interactive but generally this is a solitaire game.

It’s very quick, turns are fast and it’s often over just as you get your deck engine running. Speaking of which, you can build a pretty decent engine. Cards that allow you to delete stuff allow you to keep a deck of around 6-8 cards. Card drawing can help you draw your 12-14 card deck EVERY turn, if you do it right.

But, as I said, the game will usually end just as you get this going.

Also, as 6 piles emptying ends the game there is room for a player who believes they won’t win to just start buying up multiple copies of cheaper cards to get the game finished.


Trying not to take into account the many, MANY times I’ve played this and the fact there is an iPhone app which is really good. It has wore out on me a bit though.

I give this 5/10

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