Alpine Alpaca

“Alpine Alpaca” by Johan Peitz & Chris Donnelly.

“Hit the slopes and score as many gates as you can. Use your cards to steer and build your deck as you go!”

Winter is coming, and you know what that means: Snow, coldness and skiing! “Alpine Alpaca” is a perfect game to get you in the right mood for the chilly season. It was made for the PICO-8 Advent Calendar 2018, but it sure still is a lot of fun. What you have to do? Well, you control an skiing alpaca and have to make sure that it doesn’t hit any big obstacles like outsized rocks or trees. There’s a twist, though: You don’t control the winter-sports-mad animal directly with your keyboard, but by building and playing a deck of movement as well as power-up cards!

It’s a turn-based game, and whenever you have to make a new move, you can choose one of the four cards of your hand. After you played this card, the alpaca will follow the action. Most cards are movement cards like “Ski two tiles to the left in a diagonal way!” or “Ski three tiles straight downwards!”. However, whenever you drive through two poles, you will score three points. When you passed three gates, you can choose one out of three rewards, which are all special types of card sets. With those, you can often precise your movement style, for example there’s a “Schussing” set, which will add more downhill movement cards to your deck, while the “Ripping” set allows you to move sidewards whenever you are lucky enough to pick one of those.

But you can also collect some power-up cards. These will make the game more difficult, but they grant you special abilities. With the “Kicker” card you can overjump obstacles, which would otherwise cause a crash and thereby a game over. Or take the “Bombing” card! With that one, you can… Okay, I guess you know what it does. Anyway, if you are looking for a cute looking strategy sports card game with some sweet background tunes, you should give this one definitely a try!