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Cheapass Games 2001 Lineup
Part 1: Girl Genius
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• Part 2: Witch Trial
• Part 3: Mister Bond
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Cheapass Games always has some interesting projects in the works, and the beginning of 2001 is no exception. Company president and game designer James Ernest recently took some time to answer questions about some of the games scheduled to be released in 2001.

girl genius graphic

Girl Genius: The Works, is Cheapass Games' biggest spring 2001 release and it sounds like a game the whole family can enjoy. It's due out in April and should sell for about $15.

ABOUT: Girl Genius: The Works is based on a comic series by Phil Foglio. What made you think it would be a good game?

ERNEST: Actually, we had a good game before the Girl Genius comic came into being; I loved the mechanic from the XXXenophile trading card game but for obvious reasons [adult content] it reached a very narrow audience. We have always promised to bring that game to a wider audience someday, and Girl Genius was the perfect opportunity.

How did you develop the idea for how the game would play?

The XXXenophile trading card game was based on a number of principles, the most important of which was the understanding that a traditional combat-based card game was completely inappropriate for the subject at hand. So, I based the idea loosely on a bunch of characters interacting with each other, finding common interests, and having the all-important "fun."

As it translates to the Girl Genius game, everyone in the world is basically a gear in a giant machine, and when the gears turn correctly, pieces of the machine pop out. When you collect enough points' worth of cards, you win.

Though the game is based on a trading card game, is the 80-card deck all you'll need to play Girl Genius?

That's correct, except that we've managed to squeeze 112 cards into the deck now (it's still expected to retail for $15). This is a stand-alone game with nothing more to buy ever.

Essentially, the game proceeds like this: Shuffle the deck and deal five cards to each player, as well as 12 cards into the middle. These 12 cards are arranged in a cross, face down. Players will take turns flipping cards face up, spinning them, and trying to capture, or "pop" cards of the right colors. Most cards are worth points, but some are weird.

For example, there are eight dirigibles. If you collect four of these, you win. There are several Mimmoths (tiny Mammoths). If you take one of those, all the others stampede into your score pile. Some villains are worth negative points, some make you lose turns, some tamper with the rules of the game, and so forth. You get the idea.

Is it possible that there will be Girl Genius expansions?

It's possible, but even if there were expansions they would probably be stand-alone decks, not booster packs. This card set is not being designed as a deck-tuning game, which lets me put in different kinds of cards than I could use in the trading card game.

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