08 April 2021
Don't let the real ones put you off
Edmund McMillen’s roguelike video game about childhood trauma The Binding of Isaac has been pulling at our heartstrings and making us mildly disgusted for over a decade now. In Tapeworm, McMillen brings his unique artistic style to the tabletop.
If you took dominoes, replaced tiles with cards and dots with derpy, but somehow still cute tapeworms while adding a couple of UNO-like mechanisms – you get Tapeworm. Players are trying to empty their hand by playing down cards to match tapeworms of one of four colours. However, beyond simply being different colours, each tapeworm has its own personality: red is angry, pink is lovable. It is easy to tell them apart by their facial expressions and unique body patterns, making the game easy to play even for those who struggle to distinguish colour.
The game primarily hinges on the luck of the draw, but spatial and pattern awareness, along with a bit of strategy can turn the winning tides. Some cards have abilities, like filling your opponents’ hands with more worms or allowing you to dig deeper (no, not where you are thinking!) into the main deck for better cards. Playing them tactically and at the right time are the main crooks of the strategic play.
The game, however, can still end unexpectedly by someone drawing just the right card at just the right time. Yet, it is hard to get upset by that. Tapeworm is a very ‘let’s go again!’ type of game as it has a very minimal setup and accessible rules. It is unlikely to reach the heights of the games that inspired it, however, it is surprisingly easy to get attached to the disgustingly adorable poop worms. It may be just a little simple game, but it packs a lot of personality!
Designer: Edmund McMillen
Time: 13-30 minutes
In fact, we chatted to Edmund McMillen about this very game back in issue 43! You can read that by clicking here.
This feature originally appeared in Issue 54 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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