Swat!

Swat! is a card game for 2-7 players. It’s very easy to learn. It’s quick and exciting to play. It’s as fun for a 7-year-old as for a 70-year-old. What else do you need to know?

Oh, how to play it.

There are 110 cards. There’s a dealer. The dealer turns the cards over one at a time, making a stack of them. Any time any player wants to, she can “swat” the stack. She gets the stack. Then she gets to be the dealer. As long as she’s the dealer, she doesn’t get any stacks. As soon as someone else deals, she can get as many as three stacks. The round continues until everyone has three stacks or the dealer runs out of cards.

The cards are cartoon bugs. Each kind of bug is worth points. Some bugs are worth negative points (the ones with stingers). Some bugs aren’t worth anything unless you have two of them. Then there are wild cards and cards that you can get 7 points for if you capture the majority of them and lose 7 points if you have less than the majority.

So therein lie the rubs. You want to swat, but you only want to swat a stack that’s worth a lot of points. And it’s very hard to figure out exactly how many points the stack is worth, unless you have a very good memory and have enhanced arithmetic competencies. So you have to guess how much the stack is worth. And it’s worth more or less every time a card is added. So you want to wait. But then someone else swats.

Very easy to learn. Very easy to play. Not so easy to figure out who won. Because you have to look at all the cards you get and make pairs out of the cards that you have to make pairs out of, and count the cards that you have to get a majority of, and add and subtract. Luckily, it gets easier as you become more familiar with the game. Also lucky, players usually help each other with the scoring part. And even luckier, the more you play, the more you remember about what the cards are worth and for.

Swatting is fun. Swat is fun. Funny fun. It’s what you might call a “filler” game, or a “casual” game. You laugh, but waiting for just the right moment to swat that pile before someone else does is deliciously tense, totally absorbing. Designed by one of the most prolific game designers currently on the planet, Reiner Knizia, graced by the wonderfully whimsical art by Charlie Bink, packaged in a metal, plush-lined case. Swat is a game you might not want to take seriously, but you might want to take with you everywhere.

Avalialable in the U.S. through Fred Distribution.

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