Throwing cards is fun. Just place a hat/box/ another container on the floor and start throwing. Cards are unwieldy and will swish and wobble through the air, so landing one in the hat feels like a triumph. What if there was a game that could replicate this feeling while bolting on a few extra game elements, surely it would be a winner?
Maximum Throwdown is a game about throwing cards at other cards. It’s full of special powers, hilarious moments, thrilling moves and enough tactical silliness to be an enjoyable experience. Players take a unique faction deck. These have a picture on the back and various symbols on the front. The front symbols are different for each card and faction. As you throw your cards you want to have these symbols showing, so that you can gain points, execute powers and win the game.
This dexterity game allows you to have moments where you’re a champion. You have made the impossible throw that fully covered an opponent’s card. This has gained you loads of points and destroyed your enemy. You stand, cheer and feel like a legend. This feeling is then felt by the next player as they effortlessly ruin everything you have done. Equally, you might both miss so spectacularly that you can’t help but laugh.
The aim is to land your cards on the location cards or be touching other cards in play, and have their pips showing. Every six pips nets you a point. This can be from the card you just threw or ones that are already in play. This means that covering opponents pips will stop them gaining points. Your cards also have special abilities that add some cool powers to the fray.
The special abilities do all kinds of hilarious things. In each deck of 15 cards players have access to five different abilities. You can draw extra cards giving you an option of which to throw. Throw an extra card from your hand or rethrow any that have missed. Keep a missed card in play. Steal and throw an opponent’s card. In this case, if it connects to the board and shows abilities then that player gets to use abilities present on the card. Finally, attack lets you discard the top card of an opponent’s deck. Each of these adds some spice to the game and keep things light and silly.
Every turn you get access to any abilities that are visible. This means that decent throws can result in you doing lots of cool things in your turn. If you run out of cards to throw, then you can still activate abilities and participate in the game. Once everyone has run out of cards to throw, then the game ends and the person with the most points is the winner.
Maximum Throwdown has moments of excellence and, sadly, periods of mediocrity. Succeeding or failing is fun to a point. It’s only funny the first few times you miss massively, and it’s only heroic after first few fantastic throws. Games of Maximum Throwdown last a touch too long. You can easily stop once it feels ‘like it’s over’, but that is never the sign of a good game. You can certainly play it without being overly competitive, but that isn’t in the spirit of the game. The issues don’t stop there.
Throwing cards is fun if you’re good. Not everyone can throw a card and land it in the way that they want. I’m not talking about those times where the card seems to have a mind of its own but just finding throwing cards an impossible proposition. Some people are not going to enjoy Maximum Throwdown, not even slightly.
Which is fine, you always want to pick games that suit the people you’re playing with. However, even if you enjoy the simple act of throwing cards you might not enjoy Maximum Throwdown. The abilities make a simple game of throwing cards a little bit too complicated. The point system adds a bit too much competition to such a simple, silly game. It makes the game feel overdesigned. Instead of enjoying the moment and losing yourself in the pure act of throwing. You end up calculating, strategising and pontificating. All of which are incredibly boring in a game about throwing cards. If you want all of these things, then play a game that specialises in exactly that.
So what role does Maximum Throwdown fill? If you want to throw cards, then grab a standard pack of cards and a hat. If you want to gain points, use abilities and best your friends, then there are better options. If you want to combine the two, then you’re after something very specific and are in luck that Maximum Throwdown exists.
If you want to get yourself a copy of Maximum Throwdown and support the website, then you can always use our Amazon Affiliate link.