Tabletop Gaming Weekend: Friday Recap

If you came looking for more religious rants or gun control laments, scroll down a bit. This is going to be about something else. I had sort of a “tabletop gaming binge” over the last few days. I hadn’t planned for that to happen, which is probably how all binges are explained after the fact. Anyway, here’s a brief recap on what I played and what I thought about it, broken down by day.

Friday: I played two different games on Friday, one that was a new experience and one that is quickly becoming a classic favorite in my book.

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The first game was King of Tokyoa game that can only be one of two things: a Japanese monarchy or a Godzilla-esque game about rampaging monsters fighting each other. I’ll save you time: it was the latter. King of Tokyo played a lot like Zombie Dice, in that you’re trying to roll a handful of dice to get preferred combinations like Attack, Healing, Energy, or Victory Points. The tricky part comes from the game’s battle system: you’re either “in the city” or “outside of the city.” Whichever monster is in the city accumulates points each turn, but is also the target for all the other monsters. It’s like a dice version of ‘King of the Hill.’ The game, not the Mike Judge cartoon.

I had a great time with the game, although I never managed to pull off a win. The mechanic is easy to learn and the monsters are really fun with names like Meka Dragon, Giga Zaur, the Kraken, and others. There are cards you can buy with the energy points to give your monster special powers which also provided more strategic depth.

Each game goes quickly, so you can fit in several rounds inside of an hour. It’s great as a starter board game or something to play between more complex ones, but it doesn’t have the legs to last an entire evening. It’s still a great buy and one that I’ll be adding to my collection when I get the chance.

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The second game we played was one that doesn’t need an introduction beyond its own description: it’s the party game for horrible people. Cards Against Humanity is your basic free-association card game in the vein of Apples to Apples. You have the black deck for your prompt, which will be something like “Science is now embracing the healing power of ____” and it’s up to you to fill in the blank with the cards from the white deck, which are all words like Explosions, Assless Chaps, or Apologizing. Whoever played the black card chooses their favorite and the person who played it gets a point. That’s the entire game.

This is the kind of game where you’ll learn a lot about your friends. I’ve been playing it for a while now and I’ve found that figuring out my friends’ respective “humor types” in a sort of Myers-Briggs-esque fashion seems to be the key to victory. Some of the humor types I’ve noticed are dark humor, scatological humor, word humor, and horribly inappropriate humor. I might elaborate on these brilliant insights in a later post.

It should go without saying that this is a game enhanced by alcohol. It’s also a game where you need to leave your inhibitions at the door. If there’s anything, and I mean literally anything that offends you on a deeply personal level, you may wish to consider other games, because there’s nothing off the table here. From Auschwitz to date rape to zoophilia, it’s all out there. Ye be warned.

The game will last as long as your friends do. I’ve found that we never play towards a set limit but rather reach a natural breaking point usually around midnight, which is usually three hours later than I meant to play. That should tell you something about how engrossing this relatively simple game can be.

Cards Against Humanity is a must-have in a gaming collection as long as you don’t mind the horrible, horrible humor. It’s the ultimate flexible party game: it can be played with four people just as easily as fourteen people, which isn’t something a lot of games can do. It also can make you wonder about how screwed up you are as a person, based on the things that you’ll laugh at. I found these revelations to be useful at dispelling any myths I might have had about whether or not I’m a decent person. Turns out, I’m not.

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