Review: Cards Against Humanity

Review: Cards Against Humanity

Paul: I’d like to talk about Cards Against Humanity, one of our hobby’s biggest breakout successes.

The best way to describe Cards Against Humanity is “Lego for jokes”. It gives its players setups and punchlines, all ready to click together in one-step assembly. It’s easier than microwaving food or boil-in-the-bag rice. Almost no creativity is required, and because the powers of chance deal you your cards, it’s not as if you can even help the sort of combinations that present themselves, right? As well as creativity and effort, who even needs responsibility?

It’s important that we provide a trigger warning for what follows. A warning for, well, just about anything: abuse; violence; racism; rape.

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Review: Monikers

Review: Monikers

Remember when we told you that Skull was the game that’ll make you and your friends shout the loudest? Monikers (buy here) might be the funniest game we’ve ever reviewed. Weirder still, it might be more than 100 years old.

We’ve always suspected that old things were the best, but now we know. Time to cancel those forthcoming reviews of Armada and Dragon’s Gold. Next week, we’ll be reviewing whist, football and tuberculosis.

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Review: Saboteur

Review: Saboteur

Paul: The problem I’m having writing this review is, rather than simply telling you how Saboteur works, I really want to give you a selection of quotes from some of my recent games. The thing is, none of these will be remotely illuminating, since they’re all going to be the same sort of questions, which all go like this:

“What are you doing?!” “Why did you do that?!” “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!”

Or they’ll be the same sort of answers, which go like this:

“I’m helping!” “I have no choice!” “JUST TRUST ME.”

Or they’ll be the same end-of-round exasperation, the same old post-battle cry of Saboteur:

I TOLD YOU SO.

I guess Saboteur is something of a game of soundbites.

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Review: Mascarade Expansion

Review: Mascarade Expansion

Matt: Remember those hot hot nights when we wore those masks, and danced as if our legs might melt any moment? I don’t remember that time either – just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. Mascarade was a fun game with sexy art that forcibly entered my heart last year when I covered it for The Opener. The premise is simple: nobody knows what’s going on, it’ll only get worse as things go on, and you’re almost definitely not the queen but nobody else seems to have clocked that.

There are tons of hidden identity thingers to choose from these days, but what sets Mascarade apart from the crowd is the fact that you’re often not sure of who YOU are, let alone who everyone else might be. Taking a look at your card takes your whole turn so I’M THE BLOODY KING becomes I’M THE BLOODY KING, PROBABLY.

The general gist of all this chaotic magic is probably best expressed in my aforementioned video, so if you’re totally clueless seep that into your face and then come back to absorb my thoughts on the new, first expansion – because for reasons I’ll make clear shortly this may be a good time to go all-in and buy both.

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Review: Illegal

Review: Illegal

Quinns: Pip, can I tell you about my favourite moment in our game of Illegal?

Pip: Go on then.

Quinns: It was when I crossed the living room to see you and Paul conducting the worst drug deal ever. “Do you want a drug?” he asked, in the embarrassed tones of someone asking if you needed the toilet. “It’s a good drug. It’s good! Do you want a drug, or maybe two?” I was laughing so hard that I ruined your transaction from across the room.

Pip: Maybe that would be a really good strategy if you were a real drug dealer – being so awkward and middle class about it all that the police think it’s a double bluff and don’t bother arresting you.

Quinns: Hang on. Was Paul actually dealing drugs in my house?

Pip: So! Tell us more about Illegal [RUN PAUL, RUN]

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Review: Anomia

Review: Anomia

Brendan: Oh man, since Paul and Quinns left at the end of the sci-fi special I have nobody to play board games with. Hey, Supercomputer, do you want to play Anomia with me? It’s a quick-fire party game about blurting out words under pressure and beating your friends to the punch. You’ll like it!

Supercomputer: Anomia. Latin origin. Meaning “without name”. Would you like me to run a simulation of the universe without names, nouns, pronouns, designa—

Brendan: No! I mean, no Supercomputer, but thank you. I just want to play this simple card game with someone. I’m sad that my friends left. You remember what we talked about? Sad? It’s an emotion.

Supercomputer: Runtime error. Do you mean when those called Paul Dean and Quintin Smith inexplicably abandoned you to become an accountant and a low cost assassin respectively? Reducing the number of your human friendship circle from 2 to 0?

Brendan: It’s not zero! Matt is still my friend.

Supercomputer: Initial and ongoing analysis of his facial expressions indicates that the one called Matt Lees regards you as subhuman and without merit. Would you like me to run a simulation of some friends?

Brendan: …

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Review: Ugg-Tect

Review: Ugg-Tect

Paul: A thing you should definitely know about Ugg-Tect is that, the very first time we started playing it, Brendan almost immediately began whacking himself over the head with a large club, really pounding at his own skull with a very singular sort of determination. He was going at it full speed, full strength, and looking at me with a particular sort of sadness in his eyes.

It’s important that I add that Brendan wasn’t wearing any sort of protection when he did this. Yes, the club was only inflatable, I will concede this, but I’m not sure this mattered much given the intensity of his self-inflicted blows. He was grunting one thing over and over again, one thing in the language of Ugg-Tect, and that was “Ignore me.”

Put yourself in my position for a moment. There is a man standing in front of you who is hammering away at his own head with an enormous inflatable weapon, grunting with great insistence that you ignore him. What do you do?

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Review: Snake Oil

Review: Snake Oil

Brendan: Hey, Paul. Would you like to buy some of this?

Paul: What is it?

Brendan: It’s Snake Oil. It is made from snakes and it is an incredibly potent remedy for all sorts of ailments, from headaches to baldness.

Paul: I’ll take ten!

Brendan: But wait because all is not as it seems. You see –

Paul: Twenty!

Brendan: No Paul, because Snake Oil is not actually –

Paul: Just take my wallet, my PIN is 1234! Now give me that!

Brendan: No, Paul, stop! Just listen to me for one second! Come back. I need that box. It’s a board game I’m supposed to review. Paul! Paul? Nope, he’s gone.

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Review: Jungle Speed Safari

Review: Jungle Speed Safari

Quinns: What I love most about Jungle Speed Safari is your friends’ fear when you set it up. If there’s a rule the manual’s missing, it’s that you’ve got to play this up. “OK,” you announce, dealing out the game’s cards. “If you’re wearing rings, take them off. It’s impossible to get blood out of cards.”

“Funny joke,” says one of your friends. “That was a joke, right?”

“What?” you say, and then: “Can everybody see something purple in this room?”

Your friends look around, assess the room, their chairs. They start to panic. “What do you mean?” someone says. “What are the wooden things in the middle of the table? And what do these pictures on the cards mean? WHAT ARE WE PLAYING?”

“Shhh,” you say, pressing a finger to their lips. “Don’t be scared. It’ll all be over soon.”

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