Tuesday, July 22, 2014

After My First Game of Peeve Wars

I received my Grammar Girl's Peeve Wars card game in the mail (along with some other grammary goodies) this weekend, and through an unexpected twist of fate, I actually got to play the game with my sons on Monday morning. Now I'm here to report.

If you've never heard of Peeve Wars, don't worry — you're in the majority. Peeve Wars is a labor of love from everyone's favorite maven, Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl), which was funded through FundAnything.com. That's how I got my hands on it. I imagine it will, at some point, be available to larger audiences, but right now it looks like only those who contributed funds are getting the decks.

That's still a lot of decks going out, though: 568 contributors ponied up $28,025 toward the project, almost double Mignon's original goal.

At any rate, the premise of the game is pretty straightforward: You amass an army of grammatical peeves — little monsters like Alot, Invasive Apostrophe's, and Very Unique — and when you think your army is maddening enough, you try to annoy the other plays to death. You also have a few heroes available to grant patience when others try to annoy you, heroes like Autocorrect, the Librarian, Noah Webster, and even Grammar Girl herself.

I've played the game exactly once so far, but here are four things I learned from that premiere:
  1. No card game's instructions can account for every possible situation a player might encounter. I had learned this from playing other card games; this one only reinforced that belief. Peeve Wars isn't terribly complicated, though. We only stumbled over one situation that wasn't explicitly covered in the instructions.
  2. Read the instructions. All the instructions. To say I learned this isn't exactly true. I will never learn this.
  3. Knowing your grammar won't help you win. Peeve Wars is won through elimination. I am a word connoisseur, a fairly seasoned editor, and a lifelong reader inching toward his fortieth birthday. My opponents were a fourteen-year-old trombone-playing Boy Scout and an eleven-year-old denim-eschewing ragamuffin who might be even more addicted to Doctor Who than I am. In spite of my apparent grammatical superiority, I was the first player eliminated.

    In short, language is only the theme for this game. You don't need to be member of the grammarati to play Peeve Wars any more than you need to know about surgical procedures to play Operation.
  4. Sharing other characteristics with Grammar Girl might improve your chances of winning. In my game, the redhead won.
Overall, Peeve Wars is a fun, wholesome game. The imagery is adorable (thanks to artist Len Peralta), it's easy to learn and play (thanks to Mignon Fogarty and Joseph Kisenwether), there isn't a whit of violence to the game, and you can play a round in 20–25 minutes. It's a great game for children, parents, and grandparents.

And if it can keep just one "could of" off the street, it'll be worth every penny.