Attention! Now fall in! Three days ago I received the strategic game of PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem from game designer & artist Ryan Boyle.

Now PWNs is not your typical strategic war game. A lot of wild & sometimes goofy moves can occur while playing the game.

First off, PWNs is a game for ages ten to adult. It can play two to four players & may take anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes to play. My first play through of the game took about forty minutes.

As you all well know a pwn or pawn is a reference to a chess piece or even a person that is being used by another to accomplish something. In PWNs your team of characters are just that, pawns used to defend territory & to destroy any opponents that are there to take the territory from you.

There are a ton of components with the game which will make every single game you play different. First players will start off by deciding which team of four PWN characters they will use. The teams consist of some interesting characters.

Then players will place four of the five “mega tiles” included with the game. Mega tiles are 4×4 squares that contain sixteen smaller tiles. The mega tiles can be set up in a variety of different ways. After the mega tiles are finally set, players will then begin to pick the home tiles that they will be using for their team of PWNs.

After the board is set, the PWNs are placed, then each player will draw a hand of five cards. After cards are dealt then the game will begin.

Each player will have three phases to take during their turn. These phases are movement, attack, & health. At the end of the third phase each player will draw back up to their hand of five cards.

In phase one, the movement phase, players will take a look at their team & decide who to move where. Now a player only gets three movement actions to make. Each movement action is one tile space, so a player must make some tactical choices on who will move.

During the movement phase a player does not have to move three of their characters. They may decide to move one character two tile spaces & then another character one space. Or if they wish, they can move one character three space. Then again, if desired, a player can move one character one space & move onto the next phase.

If a player is forced, or decides, to move into a hazard square then it will cause damage to that character. If a character moves into a space with another collision then it will cause damage to both characters involved.

The most important part of movement is getting a character into position to attack or cause some sort of mayhem during a turn.

In phase one a player will set up for the attack, in phase two a player will then commit an attack if they want to. Remember it is all about being strategic. If a player decides to attack then they will choose one character to either attack or use an element card.

Attack cards will be one of three types: combat, special, or projectiles. Most combat cards will show a range that that character will have to be at to use that attack. Also a combat card will have a movement icon on it. The movement icon will show the distance that the attacked character will move when hit with the attack.

Special attack are uncommon to come across. These attacks can add additional damage and/or affects to a character.

Projectiles attacks are attacks that involve throwing an object across a certain amount of tiles. Projectiles can only be thrown in straight lines. Some projectiles may damage several tile spaces adjacent to where it landed.


During an attack phase a player may choose to use an elemental card over an attack card. Elemental cards will change how the terrain looks.Players will have to be careful how they change the terrain because their characters may end up getting damaged.


In phase three players will be able to heal their PWN characters. PWNs will always start the game with four health points (4HP). Players may heal their characters until they reach the max health. Some health cards will allow players to add additional health to a character cards effect slot. This allows the character to hold more health. Some health cards will make a player roll a die for a random affect.


Also during a player’s turn, that player may forego a phase to discard a card & draw a new one. This may allow a player to get a card that they might really need such as a react card. These cards may be a player’s chance to save one or more of his PWNs from being KO’d. A player who is being attacked may only play react cards.


There are several different effects that will happen during the game. At some point during a game players will add specific effect tokens to their character cards. These effects are poison, constriction, freezing, & dice. These effects will cause damage or give a particular effect to a character. Other tokens like marksman, medic, boxer, fast-foot, heavy-hitter, & immune will give characters certain abilities throughout the game.


As the game goes by players will have to add terrain tiles to the terrain already in play. This can change the scope of how the game is played. Tiles like fire, ice, hole, & water can cause damage when landed on. Other tiles like grass, dirt, & dry grass are the basic tiles of the game.


The game will end once one team is eliminated from play. If a game is a two-player game then the remaining player will be the overall winner. However if a game consists of three or four players then the game will come down to points. Each remaining player will receive three points for each character still left & one point for each health point still remaining.


Overall thoughts are very good. I’m a huge fan of strategic war games. This is a fun & quick strategic game that makes you think very hard each turn. Anything could happen during play. My characters have been gassed, frozen, & set on fire.

Not overthinking is key to playing PWNs. Players will have to be ready to not move, or not attack during their turn to get their opponent to get into position for attack. Sometimes sitting back & letting the opponent attack first can be key.

PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem is currently being offered on Kickstarter: PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem.

Get ready to…well have a blast & game on!

-Christopher Richter

Twitter: @Boardgaming_FTW