Scram! The App
Designer: Ted Alspach
Artist: Agus Muqith
Publisher: Bezier Games
Year Published / Kickstarted: 2023
No. of Players: 1 - 6
Playing Time: 30 Minutes
Main mechanic / Theme: Hand Management, Memory
Work together to scare critters out of your camp, digitally!
Find more info on the app store:
Disclaimer: Publisher provided a copy of the app for this review.
Work together with your team to rid your camp of critters faster than your opponents. When you’re ready, call Scram!, but be careful because everyone else gets one more turn and there is a penalty if your team has more points at the end of the round. The fast-paced fun of Scram! comes to your device with the all new app version. Play online with friends when you don’t have time to get together or try your luck at playing with strangers. There is even an offline mode where you can play completely that lets you play when you’re not able to connect.
Gameplay and mechanics:
The basics of Scram! are simple. Each player starts with a set of 5 cards in front of them. 3 of them are dealt face down and 2 face up. This is called your campsite. Each card has either a number 1-13 or an equal sign. Each number card is accompanied by a critter and for cards 5 to 13 an ability. The remainder of cards are put into a draw pile with room for a discard in the middle.
Players take turns drawing a card from either the draw or discard pile and choosing to use it to replace cards in their campsite, use the card ability, or simply discard that card. When replacing cards in your campsite you can choose to replace any card along with any card in you or your teammate's camps that matches the card being originally replaced with equal cards being equal to every card.
The trick lies in the fact that you can not look at the face-down cards unless allowed to do so by a card's ability and any card that is drawn facedown from the draw pile must be placed face down when it enters your campsite. This leads teams to work with limited information they get from face-up cards and using cards abilities to work together to dwindle down the critters in their campsites.
Once a team feels like they have the lowest totals from the numbers on their cards when it is their turn, and the person whose turn it is has 2 or fewer cards they can call Scram! This starts the end of the round, skipping their turn and giving everyone else one more. Calling Scram! can land that team in a good spot for the round. As long as they have the fewest total points in that round, they score a zero, but miscalculate and end up with more points than the other team and they will have to add 10 to their total that round. The other team will score only what the total of their cards are, regardless if its less or more than the team that called Scram!. The Game is played over 4 rounds with each rounds total adding to the grand total. Lowest score after four wins.
The app brings all the fun of the card game to the palm of your hand. It adds the convenience of being able to jump in a game with friends that are long distance or with a group of strangers that enjoy playing the game as well. The big improvement to playing the app vs the card game is the app will keep track of a lot of the overhead. Points, rounds, and even turn history is all kept track of by the app while you get to enjoy just playing the game. The app also tracks your stats if that is something you like knowing.
Theme, Artwork and Illustration, Graphic Design and Layout
The theme of Scram! comes through with every card you play. The act of scaring critters out of your campsite carries the theme through from turn to turn. Numbers are easy to see and having the same critter for each card of the same number makes it easy to tell from across the table what cards your team has. The app takes the theme to a whole new level. From a simple park-themed background to the animal sounds when playing cards, you get fully emersed in the game. Everything carries a simple easy to decern color scheme of a muted blue and orange. Going from screen to screen has a quick animation but the app is very responsive. The only downtime is waiting for a group to join you online if you’re not directly joining a friend’s game. The artwork only aids to help bring an already fun game to life. Even with animals being the main idea the art is not so cutesy that the game relies on it to get played. Even people who are not into the art style will be able to sit down and enjoy the strategy of the game.
Inclusivity and Accessibility:
Having a game on an app brings a new way to be inclusive and accessible. It helps for those who may have motor skill issues to play without having to do anymore then move a finger. While offering a new way to play or try out a game without spending a lot of money it also brings the game to a new group of people. People who don’t necessarily shop the board game market will be more likely to try out Scram! the app since they are able to find it on both major app stores. The app also features a setting that gives you hints of the cards you have already seen. This helps learning the game go smoother. Then when you feel like you have the hang of it, you can turn off the hints and play a more in-depth game. The cross between strategy and cute creatures makes this a game that’s easy to pull up on your phone when you have some downtime. Also being able to play alone with 3 computer players makes it all that much easier to squeeze in a game when you’re not able to get out for game night.
Scram! the app works really well to help fill that time gap where you have a little time to play but don’t have the ability to break out a physical game. Weather riding in the car or sitting in bed, the app can help to fill that time when you normally are mindlessly scrolling. The world is busy and finding time to get out for games days or nights can be hard so being able to just pick up the phone and play a game with your friends makes it easier to still connect. The app runs smooth and doesn’t require any time to get into the game.
In summary, Scram! the app is great pickup overall. If you like the physical card game, you will love the app. The game plays much like a card-shedding game so if you’re a fan of those it would not be a large leap to Scram! Fans of miniature games or heavy euros may not be in love with the game, but I can still see them enjoying it from time to time. It’s easy to learn but there are many strategies to how a team can work to rid their camps of cards. Fitting in the palm of your hand and being available at any time you have your phone makes it a great way to spend your free time while still working your brain.