The Amazing American Circus is a deck-building game. It’s a game about making the right calls. But is it all that it’s dressed up to be? Let’s find out together.
The Amazing American Circus starts you off as this guy who inherits a circus and some of its employees from his parents. The guy doesn’t initially wanted to do anything with the circus but after putting on a show for his aunt and uncle, he decided to run it.
The game can be a little overwhelming because there’s a lot going on. Thankfully, the game offers you tutorials to get you acquainted with all that you need to play this game. The circus act that the main character does for his aunt and uncle serves as a tutorial for the “combat” portion of the game.
Your main goal in combat is to basically entertain the audience. You do this by choosing between randomly picked cards that has its own set of actions. The tutorial sets you up with three circus talents. Each of this talent will have their own set of action cards that you may or may not get from each round’s draw.
The most important of the attribute of each card is the Impress action. With this action, you are able to lower down the audience’s boredom meter. Some audience people will have differing boreomd points. In order for an audience to be impressed you’d need to lower this meter down to zero.
Each card will cost you action points where you typically start with 5 points. Once all action points have been used, you will not be able to play any of the cards unless they cost free to play. You can then end your turn and have the audience take their turn.
The audience will then start to “attack” to lower the morale of your party. If a party’s morale gets to zero, you will then be forced to sacrifice a card. This card goes into the sacrifice pile where you can no longer place it back to you deck of cards to reshuffle. The card deck automatically reshuffles once you run out of cards to draw.
A finale show meter also gets increased or decreased everytime you play a card. Once this meter gets maxed out, you can then perform a finale act that will net you a lot of impression points that will most likely “knock out” the audience.
What I don’t like about the combat system is that you only have one pool of cards for all your performers. And the actions that you have is all that you get per round for every performer. This definitely limits the amount of moves you make and the cards that you’re getting.
I wish each performer can act separately per round and have their own set of cards to choose from. This would have made combat a lot more interesting and less complicated. Rather than you just picking a card and anyone can act. This makes it feel that you’re wasting adding characters that you probably might not even use each round if their cards don’t show up in the draw.
Aside from the combat, there are also side missions that are laden throughout the map of America. Each side quest will reward you with gold that you can use to do many things around your circus area. You can also earn gold coins from completing a show.
I feel like this is where the game got disappointing to me. There was just a lot to do and yet you don’t really have enough coins to do them. I guess they were trying to simulate how hard it really is to run a circus. The management of the circus itself is a circus in itself.
I can’t help but feel overwhelmed on where to even begin spending the gold coins on. You’re not also even getting a lot of money for completing shows. And you can only complete a show one time per location. It almost feels like the game is hard work when the point of playing a game is supposed to be fun.
You can’t even level up your characters if you don’t have any gold coins. So some of your characters will get stuck at level 1 and you’re already battling audiences at high levels. It feels restricting and overall takes away the freedom of choosing what you want to do.
Overall, The Amazing American Circus has a good premise but the execution fell short for me. I walk away from this game an unsatisfied audience flinging tomatoes at the performers. You’d have to really be interested in this game to want to buy it.