One Night Ultimate Werewolf–A Double-Take Review

19 03 2014

OnenightCoverWerewolf (or Mafia) is a classic party and youth group game. But it has its problems: Sometimes people get carried away with the backstory, so it takes forever. Sometimes people have a “boring” role, so don’t really have much to do. And finally, people are eliminated from the game, so they get to sit out and wait. But what if you could eliminate those problems, and boil the game down to its essence and play for just one night? What if…?

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Choose One!–A Double-Take Review

18 02 2014

chooseonecoverDONOVAN: What… is… happening…?

(His skin turns brown and leathery and stretches across his bones until it splits. His skeletal hands reach for Elsa’s throat, choking her. Indy rushes forward and pushes Donovan away. As he falls the BODY BREAKS INTO FLAMES, then SHATTERS AGAINST THE WALL.)

KNIGHT: He chose… poorly.

 – Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade

Today we take a look at Looney Labs’ latest party game, Choose One! The decisions you make during this game will stir up conversation at your game night, party, or other social gathering.

Let’s take a look!

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Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition—A Review

23 10 2013

WerewolfCoverBy Firestone

I’ve never been a big Mafia/Werewolf fan. It can be an incredibly fun time, but the player elimination means some people are always sitting on the sidelines waiting. And the bigger the game, the longer you’re waiting… So when The Resistance came out—and there was no player elimination—I jumped at it. And it’s now my favorite game.

Ted Alspach and Bezier Games recently released Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition, which promises some of the hidden roles and gameplay of Werewolf, with no player elimination. I’m intrigued. Will it knock The Resistance off the throne? Let’s see…

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Reverse Charades—A Double Take Review

16 04 2013

Reverse Charades box

Ugh. Do we really need another charades game?

Yes. Yes we do.

Reverse charades is like charades…in reverse. Instead of one person trying to get multiple people to guess a word or phrase, Reverse Charades is multiple people trying to get one person to guess a word or phrase. And it’s a ton of fun.


Components

  • 1 timer
  • 360 double-sided cards
  • 1  set of rules—the easiest, simplest rules card we’ve seen in a long time.

Gameplay

Image

(top) Football (bottom left) Phantom of the Opera (bottom right) ???

Players are divided into teams of at least 3 or more players. When it’s a team’s turn they choose someone to be the lone guesser and the rest of the entire team takes the stage! The other team then holds the cards and reveals one at a time so only the actors can see them, and then the zaniness commences! The team of actors has to act out as many of the clues as they can, scoring a point for each card they get the guesser to correctly guess. The one strict rule in the game is that you can not make a sound, you can’t mouth words to another actor, or to the guesser. But you are certainly allowed to use objects, and people as objects, to get the guesser to shout out the word(s) on the card!

Play continues until a point goal is reached, or until everyone is laughing too hard and can’t go on any further!

Recommendations –

  • Parties/large gathering
  • Youth events
  • Team-building exercises
photo (1)

The clue was “Straight Jacket”

Jeremiah—We really enjoyed playing this game; we had some teenagers over and I busted it out—what a hoot! It takes about 45 seconds to explain, and we had some great laughs.

Firestone—I played it with our adult small group from church—4 vs. 4, Guys vs. Girls. When I told them the premise, they were interested. When we got done playing, they wanted to know where they could buy their own copies…

Jeremiah—If there’s one downside to the game it’s that it requires a larger group (at least 6 people or more) to get a game going. And that’s not much of a downside, it’s just the nature of how the game works. Anything less and it’s just plain old Charades.

Firestone—My one complaint is that the two sides of the cards are identical. They should at least be different colors so we can easily track which words we’ve run through. I can’t believe no one thought of that. It’s my only complaint, and I can just put used ones upside-down. But come on, guys! 🙂

Jeremiah—I love that there are a ton of words/cards included, I’m very interested in checking out the expansions. (Especially the holiday edition! I think this would be a great game for a Christmas party!) I will say that the best and most fun clues were ones that required a team effort. Things like clothesline, assembly line, etc.

FirestoneYeah, some of the words didn’t lend themselves well to the group doing anything together (“Moustache,” for instance). It was much funnier when the words did, and the majority of the words were that way. I fear I will never be able to wipe clean the mental image of the guys acting out “Baby Powder”… *shudder*

Jeremiah—The concept is such a simple twist on (what I feel is) something that is kind of worn out. But that twist makes it about a million times more fun than the original. We found that folks who wouldn’t normally feel comfortable playing charades in a traditional format—getting up by themselves and feeling singled out—jumped right up when there were other victims involved in the public ridicule!

Firestone—Being alone up there giving clues can be terrifying. Being in a group somehow makes it way easier. One of the quietest people in the group dove right in and was hamming it up.

Jeremiah Final Thoughts – We had a TON of fun playing this game! It definitely takes a party atmosphere to get it going; it’s not your typical Board Game Night type of game. This is a top-notch party game, a very well done spin on something that has been public domain for some time. Reverse Charades will be a part of my party game collection and find its way out to many parties and large gatherings!

Firestone Final Thoughts—This is definitely going to every party with me for the foreseeable future. Everyone had a blast, and we laughed A LOT. If you’re sick of Apples To Apples and Scattergories, give Reverse Charades a try; you won’t be disappointed—unless you’re at the bottom of “Dog Pile.” Ouch!

Thanks to Gryphon Games for providing review copies; this in no way affected our opinions on the game.

Thanks to you for reading!





Kill The Overlord—A Double-Take Review

12 03 2013

OverlordDo you like card games for crowds? Do you like games with shifting-roles? Do you like manipulating a game in order to straight-up kill your friends? Kill The Overlord, by APE Games, gives you the chance to do just that in a take-that game for 4 to 8 players.

Components

The game comes with:

  • 16 character role cards (two sets of 8)—These are oversized cards that are double-sided. They have a male character on one side, and a female on the other. Functionally, they’re identical, but it’s a nice touch to think of the women gamers (admittedly a minority) who might want to have a matching character. The artwork is done in a sort of anime style.
  • 1 execution order card—This is the same size as the character cards; it gets passed around a lot.
  • 44 plot cards—These are normal-sized cards that let you do things, such as give the Execution Card to someone else, or take the Execution Card yourself, and many others.
  • Gold tokens—Punchboard money in denominations of 1’s and 5’s. They do just what they’re supposed to do.
  • Elimination Tokens, numbered 1 through 8—Punchboard tokens.
  • Rulesheet—It’s a sheet with rules. Good info, and examples. At first I thought they were overdoing the emphasis on Giving and Taking the execution order. Then you play the game and realize there’s a reason they do that…

kto_cardsGameplay

So the game starts with you taking a number of character cards—this will always include the Overlord card, and then the others will vary depending on numbers of players. The game comes with two full sets of character cards—8 “basic” ones and 8 “advanced” ones. You can mix and match them however you’d like. Each card has the character’s name, a number in a shield, an amount of gold that character gets each turn, a description of that character’s special power, and then the picture of the character. For example, the Squire, who is ranked #3, gets one gold per round, and his special power is that his hand size is increased by two and he gets to draw a card at the start of every execution. (He’s one of my favorite characters…) The Captain is ranked #5, gets three gold per round, and when you give the Execution Order to a player, that player has to discard a plot card if able.

You deal out the roles and give everyone 5 gold. The first thing you do is draw up to two plot cards, up to your maximum hand size, which is four unless you have something that changes that.

Then you collect income (skipped on the first turn since you already have money). The higher ranked your Character Card, the more money you’ll collect—up to 6 if you’re the Overlord!

Next comes the Coronation phase, which is just a simple check to see if the person who is currently the Overlord has 30 gold. If so, that person automatically wins.

Then we have the Executions phase—this is when most of the game’s action takes place. The Overlord chooses a character to take the Execution Order. The game makes this distinction because there are a number of plot cards and character special powers where something happens when you give the card to another player. But here, the Overlord is choosing someone to take the card—not give. It’s a little hard to explain at first, but soon everyone gets what you’re going for in the distinction. The player who gets the Order then tries to give it to someone else—generally through the play of a plot card. People keep playing cards and passing the Execution Order around until someone gets it who doesn’t have any way to ditch it. That player is “executed” and out of the round—he or she puts their character card into the middle of the table and takes the lowest-available Elimination Token.

This continues until the Overlord is eliminated this way, which ends the round—and yes, it can happen that the Overlord is the first person killed. Once that happens, there are a few steps that determines how the character cards are distributed for the next round.

  • First, any players who were still alive at the end of the round get new cards. The highest-ranked character alive takes the highest-ranked character card on the table and places his or hers down. (This will always be the Overlord card, since the death of the Overlord triggered the end of the round.)
  • Now in descending rank order, any other players still alive do the same thing.
  • Finally, any players eliminated in the round take new characters in the same way—except now you go in order from the lowest-numbered Elimination Token up to the highest. So the first person eliminated in a round will end up with the lowest-ranked character card for the next round.

You shuffle all used and unused plot cards together and play another round. As we said before, anyone with 30 gold and the Overlord card will win. Another way to win is to be the Overlord and be the last person executed in a round. If that happens, you automatically win—though this won’t happen often as the other players will work together to make sure the Overlord isn’t the last person left alive.

And that’s the game!

Recommendations

Youth Group Game? Yes! This is light enough—and accommodates enough people—that it would work well as a youth group game.

Family Game? Sort of! Not with our young kids, but surely when they’re older. They’ll need to invite friends over, though, as this is better with more.

Gamer’s Game? Maybe! If your group loves lighter, take-that games, this is just the ticket. If your group likes deeper games, this can fit in as a filler—though it’s a bit long for a filler.

The Verdict:

Firestone—I’ll be honest. No one in my group normally likes these type of games. But every single person (other than one guy who wasn’t feeling well) thought it was really good “for what it is.” That sounds like damning with faint praise, but for a group of people predisposed to dislike a game, the fact that we all enjoyed it says something.

Jeremiah— There are folks I game with who really enjoyed this game; it fell right in their wheelhouse. I too enjoyed the game, but could see how it may not be for everyone.

Firestone—The components are good, especially for the price-point. One small complaint about the plot cards: There are gauntlets on these pointing in different directions to help you figure out who exactly would be affected by you playing the card. Unfortunately, the drawing of the gauntlets is super-stylized, and most people at the table (myself included) had no earthly what they were. Once someone pointed it out, it was obvious, and you realize that’s really helpful. But this was definitely a case of choosing form over function, IMHO.

Jeremiah—I thought the components were well made. I enjoyed the stylized look and detail of the character cards. The male/female option is a nice touch, although some of my group noted that the anime style in which they were drawn made some of the characters look rather androgynous. But fortunately this is a purely cosmetic function of the components, and has no bearing on the gameplay itself. We also had a few folks who didn’t realize that the plot cards had gauntlets on them.

kto_plotsJeremiah—I guess I would describe the game play as “light-hearted cutthroat”. If you’re the Overlord for a round, you can be sure that everyone else is going to gang up on you, but that’s okay because you’ll be ganging up on the new Overlord in the next round. It’s light-hearted in that you can have a pretty good time playing it and killing off your friends without investing a lot of brainpower into strategizing your moves. Which isn’t to say there aren’t advantages to having a few (albeit loose) strategies.

Firestone—Light-hearted cutthroat is a great way to describe it. Yes, you’re trying to kill everyone, but oddly enough it doesn’t feel mean-spirited. The end game is interesting. In our game, many people had enough gold to win, so everyone was working to keep those three people from getting the Overlord card. That can be hard to do, since you can only work with the plot cards you have. One of the reasons we liked this particular version of this particular type of game was that it did feel as though you have some control over what happens. It’s certainly not all luck.

Jeremiah—The plot cards act as a good equalizer. You can have a great character role for a round but if your hand isn’t that great you’ll probably get picked on by the Overlord until you are executed. It’s important to note, that everyone starts with 4 cards. And certain roles can draw up to a higher hand limit when the time comes. We weren’t too clear on that from the instructions, but a quick search on the interwebs cleared it up for us.

Firestone—My biggest complaint with the game was that it had some “Kill Dr. Lucky Syndrome”—which means that if player A is about to win, then player B has to stop that from happening. But if player B does that, he weakens his position, leaving the door open for player C to end up winning. I’m not a fan of that AT ALL, but this didn’t seem as bad—possibly because you’re not going strictly in seating order, but rather in rank order.

Jeremiah—Final thoughts and ratings: If you’ve read any amount of our reviews, you know that I’m a fan of games that involve lots of cutthroat, competitive, out-smart-the-game-AND-the-other-players elements. And this has a good deal of all of that. There are tons of characters so the replay-ability with the different combinations of characters is pretty high, and I like games that a gathering of 6-8 people can all sit down and play together. I’m giving it a solid 8 overall, for the different groups of folks that I play games with it hits a pretty wide audience.

Firestone—Final thoughts and ratings: This feels like a 7 to me. I like the variable characters, and extra characters, and I felt I had interesting decisions to make. I’ll probably keep it in my bin for a while for game nights, and I think we’ll pull this out when we need a filler. Will it be there 6 months from now? Not sure. It’ll definitely stay in my pile of games to play with youth group or in “party” situations.

We’d like to thank APE Games for furnishing us with copies of Kill the Overlord for this review. Please check them out!

And as always we ask that you spread the social media love, by liking our FaceBook page, and following us on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!





Pictures Worth 1,000 Words: A Dixit Review

15 01 2013

dixitBy Firestone

Dixit is a little game that came out in 2008. Since its release we’ve seen half-a-dozen sequels, expansions, offshoots, and weird siblings—and with good reason: It’s a clever, fun game for a crowd.

There are numerous versions floating around out there, but for now, each of them plays basically the same. The box is full of cards with whimsical and interesting pictures on them. It’s not really possible to describe what’s on the cards, but that’s kind of the point. Each person has a hand of these cards. Each person in turn order is the Start Player; they choose a card from in hand, say a phrase or word that describes what’s on the card, and place the card face down. The phrase/word can be as literal, obvious, or abstruse as you want. Then every other player chooses a card from their hand that they feel that word/phrase could describe—because they’re trying to steal votes and points from the active player.

rushmoreEveryone secretly votes on which card they think is the Active Player’s card, then you reveal which one is the right card, and score. If everyone guesses the Active Player’s card, they all get two points and the active player gets none. If no one picks the Active Player’s card, everyone else gets two points (plus another point for each vote on the card they put down) and again, the Active Player gets none. If at least one person picks the Active Player’s card, the Active Player gets three points, every person who chose the correct card get three points, and each person gets a point for any votes on the card they put down. So as you can see, you want to choose a word or phrase that’s not too obvious, but not too esoteric, either. It’s an interesting challenge.

<——– Let’s take this picture on the left. You wouldn’t want to say, “Rushmore” as a clue. Everyone would pick correctly and they’d all gain two points on you. You probably wouldn’t want to say Chevy either, thinking “Chevy used to have commercials where they sang ‘Like a rock,’ and Rushmore’s made out of rock, so…” But maybe something like, “The eyes have it…” It might just be middle-of-the-road enough to get some-but-not-all of the votes. Plus if someone else has a card with eyes on it, that helps you even more. The first player to 30 points wins.

You can find Dixit: Journey at your local Target. Consider picking this up for a fun, creative family, youth group, or party game.





Beware of Metalvore Sharks—A Review of Get Bit!

4 12 2012

getbitFiller: A short game, played at the beginning or end of a game session—or while waiting for other people to finish their game.

Get Bit is an excellent filler game: It’s short, the rules are easy, and it’s not too mentally taxing.

The original game is five years old, but it’s been reprinted recently by Mayday Games. The game can accommodate 4-6 players, and plays in about 15 minutes. Each player gets a set of colored cards numbering 1-7, and a matching cute plastic robot with removable limbs. The original edition of the game only came with a shark card, but the new one also comes with an actual plastic shark—but aesthetics is the only difference. As soon as my kids saw the robots and shark , they were begging me to play.

bitYou line the swimmers (robots) up in any order. Then each person picks one of their cards in hand and lays it on the table facedown. Once everyone has chosen, players all reveal their cards.

If two or more people choose the same number, their swimmer stays in the same position. All other players move their swimmer to the front of the line—going from lowest number to highest shown.

Then the shark gets to chomp a swimmer. Whichever one is at the end gets a limb ripped off—if it’s the last limb, that player is out of the game. Otherwise, the owner of the bitten robot gets all of his or her cards back. (If a player only has two cards left in hand, that person also gets all cards back.) Discards are left on the table, so you know exactly which cards are left in people’s hands. This creates an interesting tension as you try to figure out which of that person’s two cards they’re going to play. If you guess wrong, you might get chomped.

There’s also a variant where you play discards facedown, so people have to remember what’s been played, but I think that would slow the game down way too much. If you want a longer game—maybe you don’t want to use this as a filler game, but as the main game with a group of nongamers—you can lengthen it by removing half of the arm or leg when a swimmer gets bitten. (The legs and arms are articulated, so you can take the whole arm off, or just off at the elbow.)

You keep going until there are only two swimmers left; the player in the front wins!

Other than the slightly rude name, there’s nothing questionable about this game. Yes, robots get their limbs ripped off by a crazed, metalvore shark, but it’s very cartoony. As far as ages go, this one is probably for 8 and up. You could maybe go a little younger but they’d need some help determining which card to play.

Get Bit! is a terrific family game, and it would be a great game to play with your youth group. It’s super fast, super easy, and if you don’t mind some super randomness, it’s super fun. Thanks for reading!

(Theology of Games would like to thank Mayday Games for providing us with a review copy of Get Bit.)








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