There’s no doubt BARPIG: After Hours will be enjoyed by friends and be involved in forging new friendships. For the right people. Might you be one?
To answer that question, to explore whether a pig and ale themed card game is for you, let’s talk about the most successful card game of all time.
There’s a card in Magic: the Gathering called Chaos Orb. The Chaos Orb is banned in most tournaments. Does that make it worthless and consigned to obscure Magic history? Far from it! As I start to write this review of BARPIG: After Hours, the sequel to BARPIG, there are Chaos Orb cards on sale on eBay for hundreds of dollars. The Chaos Orb is a card that people like to have in their collections and a card which triggers conversations.
I think BARPIG: After Hours is similar to Chaos Orb. This game does a thing that most other card games are too afraid to do.
In Magic: the Gathering the Chaos Orb is a card you drop from a height, and it can destroy a rival’s card if it lands on it. This single card inserts physicality, agility and the whims of the real world into the strategic bubble of a card game player’s mind. BARPIG: After Hours does the same.
For example, in After Hours, the Ryenger’s class power has everyone throwing their BARPIG cards at an item in the room to see who gets nearest to it.
There’s no mistaking it; BARPIG is a drinking game. To win you have to get a character up to level 5, keeping them sober as you try to drink your way through the shenanigans the other players throw at you. It’s also a drinking game in that I imagine it’s a heck of a lot of fun to do while tipsy.
BARPIG: After Hours, like BARPIG, might be too extravert for me. There’s a character called the Vodkleric, and their unique ability might require you to look into the eyes of another player and say sweet things about them. I’m a Scottish geek, and this means I show affection to my friends by saying something like; “Hey, shithead, you recovered from Game of Thrones ending yet?”
I might have to be drunk to play BARPIG: After Hours.
I guess that’s the critical difference between the Chaos Orb and this game. Chaos Orb’s unexpected demands that you stand up at the Magic table and start to toss your cards around is out of character for the rest of the game. That’s the not the case with BARPIG, with this game, as you deal the cards, you know exactly that happy mayhem awaits.
As it happens, I think BARPIG: After Hours is a bit less extraverted than the original game. The Ryenger and Vodkleric may be the most hardcore of the characters and the rest focus on pointing at each other and shouting out silliness.
How to play BARPIG
BARPIG: After Hours is two things. It’s both an extension to the original BARPIG that adds in new characters and items (generally reflecting a shadier tavern) and its a standalone game in its own right.
This video is a good demo of how to play.
An essential success for both BARPIG and After Hours is the ability to get all the rules on to just one card. After Hours offers up some game variants as well; Full Bar (for when you have up to 5 players), Pay as you Go, Jailbreak and actual Drinking Rules.
BARPIG: After Hours is a natural extension and slightly more reserved alternative to the original. The game is smart in its simplicity, and I particularly appreciate how little space it takes up on the table (thanks to stacking the cards and sliding them around).
I’m sure BARPIG: After Hours is a good game. I’m not sure I’d enjoy it. It’s a Chaos Orb of social contact. However, if you are tempted by the sound of BARPIG, especially if you watched the how to play video and your initial reaction was ‘that looks like fun’ then I suspect you’ll enjoy BARPIG: After Hours.