The game: WordPress: The Card Game by Rustan Håkansson. The game was published by Angry Creative in 2018 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. I was a sponsor-level backer in the campaign in order to get my WordPress plugin Relevanssi featured in the game.
Elevator pitch: A simple card game about running a WordPress agency. Create web sites for clients for money and contribute to open source projects for points.
What’s in the box? A deck of cards of medium quality and bunch of small cardboard tokens. Nothing spectacular, but everything works well enough. I’m not a huge fan of the art. The box shows that the publisher is not a board game company: it’s lacking basic details like player count, the length of the game and the name of the designer.
What do you do in the game? On your turn you use one of your cards. You start with an agency card and can use it to win contracts for web site projects and to recruit employees. Employees have skills in business, coding and design.
These skills are used to complete the web site contracts: each contract has couple of skill symbols. Employees are used to cover the symbols and once all are covered, the project is ready and the player earns money.
There’s one open source project available and everybody can contribute to it, again using the skills of their employees. Every time you contribute, you score one point. The player who completes the project by covering the last symbol on the card gets some kind of bonus, then a new project is drawn from the deck.
When employees are used, you have to turn them sideways. They can’t be used again. When you want to activate them again, you have to do a payday, paying everybody their salaries. Better have enough money: if you don’t have, you must pay points and if you can’t, you have to fire people.
The first player to reach ten points wins. Contributing to open source projects is thus the only way to win, but you can’t just do that, because that way you’ll run out of money soon.
Lucky or skillful? There are random elements from the cards, but they are moderate. The biggest random element is the open source project draw: having a project come up that matches your employee skill set well is helpful.
Abstract or thematic? This is a very light business game. It models running an agency, but on a very abstract level. Not a heavy business simulation, by no means, but the game feels enough like running a business. The WordPress theme is nice if you work in a WordPress agency and having the game filled with Scandinavian WordPress personalities is cool if you’re involved in the scene.
Solitaire or interactive? There’s no direct interaction between players, just a race to ten points with some taking cards that other people would like. Also, when contributing to open source projects, it helps to pay attention to what skills other players have available.
Players: 2–4, the game is better with more players.
Who can play? There’s no age recommendation from the publisher, but I’d say the game works with smart kids, maybe 10+ or even younger. It’s not a complicated game, as it’s mostly aimed at non-gamer audience.
What’s to like: The topic is unusual and if you work in a WordPress agency, it’s a pretty cool theme you’ll enjoy. It’s fun to see familiar faces and projects in the game, and the gameplay is simple enough.
What’s not to like: The game could use some editing; while Rustan Håkansson is a professional designer, Angry Creative is not experienced in board games and it shows. The game could definitely use some polishing.
My verdict: I backed WordPress: The Card Game for the promotional value, getting the name of my product in front of WordPress professionals can’t be bad, right? Too bad the publisher misspelled the name of my product…
I didn’t have great expectations for the game play value, and well, I wasn’t disappointed or positively surprised. I got a fairly harmless game: it’s fairly simple, decent fun, nothing spectacular. Without the theme, I’d have no interest in the game, and even with the theme, I’m keeping this more as a curiosity than as a game.
On the scale of Enthusiastic, Suggest, Indifferent or Avoid, WordPress: The Card Game gets Indifferent from me.