by Byte Staff
Board games are the underrated crowd pleaser of many parties. Although the genre itself is known in the mainstream for trash like Monopoly, there are plenty of amazing board/card games that fit a whole bunch of different scenarios. To celebrate both the time of togetherness at Thanksgiving and National Game & Puzzle Week this month, we here at Byte have done short reviews for the board games we received at GenCon 2018, primarily from the publisher Games Adults Play. These games were played by a full party of people and were given a full playthrough or two for each game, depending on how much we wanted to play them.
‘Shit Happens’ is a perfectly adequate party game
by Emily Worrell
Shit Happens features an array of cards depicting situations that range from mildly inconvenient to excruciatingly terrible. The players’ job seems simple: figure out where the cards belong in a ranking system, numbered from 0 to 100, of least miserable to most. However, this is a much more difficult and interesting task than one might think. It is made fun by the crazy situations and the discussions they lead to, however, it does get repetitive after a while and some of the rankings seem frustratingly off.
To start off with the positive aspects, this game is a fun way to get conversations flowing and guests talking without forcing anyone to reveal deep or embarrassing secrets, as many other party games do. The different situations are crazy and funny yet plausible, and watching fellow players struggle to rank awkward situations is pretty fun.
However, depending on the cards you get and the skill of the players, the game length can fluctuate significantly. While the cards are for the most part pretty varied, they can start to feel repetitive if gameplay goes too long. The instructions asserted that the rankings were decided by a panel of specialists including psychiatrists, doctors, and other medical health professionals, but some of the rankings just seemed totally wrong and therefore impossible to guess. This became a bit of a nuisance, especially when it threw off the game length and pacing. Overall, this game is worth playing a few times, but isn’t necessarily one that you’ll come back to again and again.
‘True Colors’ is a bright and light-hearted game for any kinds of companions
by Makayla Hughes
True Colors is a game meant for friends, but it’s also really fun to play if you don’t really know the people you are playing with. The purpose of the game is simple: gather some friends, read off a scenario, and anonymously vote for people who you think would be most likely to do it. Then, put down your colored pawn on the card of how many votes you think you received: most, some, or none. The votes are then tallied and you receive points off of your answer. The concept of the game is simple, which makes it easy to focus on just having fun. Also, the mechanics of the game are easy to learn even though the instructions may seem a bit confusing. It’s best to just jump right in.
This would be a perfect game to play with friends or even acquaintances. I loved every moment playing this and will probably end up buying it to play on my own. I was unsure about it at first because the tagline is “What do your friends really think of you?” so I felt like you had to play this game with people who knew you really well. That isn’t the case, and the group I played with had a lot of fun with each other. The prompts were unique, some of them more so than others, and the rounds seemed to fly by.
By the end of each game, I was wanting to play more of it, so my only complaint is that I wish the game would last longer. That’s not too big of an issue because you can easily just continue playing and just flip the scoring sheet to the next page, which is what we did. I like how they turned a basic voting card game into something a little more. True Colors is a really fun game and highly recommend it.
‘Friend or Faux’ is best saved for the closest friends
by Tanner Kinney
The mildly intrusive and personal party game is nothing new, particularly ones aimed toward adults. So it’s no surprise that Games Adults Play has a number of these titles, ranging in how personal they get. As opposed to the fairly surface level True Colors, Friend or Faux really gets into the meat of trying to predict what your friends really think about scenarios and situations. The game is simple: the cards are divided into five stages, and the game is played in five rounds. Each round has each player draw a card and read off the question or scenario. Then, the other players make a guess on what the answer is. Whoever gets it right gets a point. Play continues for five rounds, with the only difference being in how personal the card get. So, say, the first stage will include cards as simple as “What’s my favorite color?”, while stage five includes pretty much exclusively sexual questions. The game even recommends you don’t play using stages four and five if playing with more squeamish and conservative friends.
The simplicity of the game isn’t a problem; it’s no different from other similar games aside from getting straight to the biting personal questions. The problems come from the people you play the game with. Some of these kinds of games can be great with groups of casual acquaintances, with or without special beverages. This game, however, isn’t too much fun with casual acquaintances. This isn’t the kind of game to bring to the office board game party. Let’s just say that much.
This kind of game is perfect for someone with a really tightly knit group of friends. There are so many questions that require you to know specific names of people in your friends’ lives which doesn’t really work for groups that aren’t close friends. Even then, I doubt the game will be that much more fun unless special beverages are involved. The questions are all fairly generic, even the stage five questions don’t really get that in-depth. I would’ve like to see more oddly specific questions, where it becomes a guessing game where not even the card holder really knows the answer. As it stands now, Friend or Faux is more faux than friend, and wouldn’t liven up even the dullest of parties.
“Tossed Salad” will leave you feeling poisoned
by Blake Chapman
There’s no better feeling than popping out a nice deck of cards and playing go-fish with friends or spending hours arguing over a intense game of Monopoly. The one key factor when it comes to producing a successful board game is engaging your players and keeping them invested. Unfortunately, Tossed Salad is a 40-minute excursion that becomes rotten seemingly after the very first round of play.
Tossed Salad is an adult version of charades where two teams take turns guessing what lewd material has been featured on each card inside the time of 60 seconds. There are three rounds to the game, each restricting the clues given further and further. If the premise of this game seems as though it was thought up in the span of five minutes, well you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you the production value was planned out in even less time. The content of the Tossed Salad bowl features scraps of what felt like green and orange printing paper with lingo seemingly from a random search of Urban Dictionary.
Round one begins with one tosser from each team selecting clues from the bowl, getting their teammates to guess the word and keep selecting more until time runs out. After both teams have completed their turns you tally up the scores and see who came out on top. If you are more masochistic like the plastic container suggests, you can continue play with the previously drawn cards from the first round with extra sets of rules. At this point the game switches from being an exploration of your friends’ cursed minds into a simple memory game. Because of the outlandish nature of the clues, players usually say one word or complete one gesture and the rest of their team remembers it from the previous playthrough. The clues are so vague that even though it’s meant for players ages 18 and up, no one understands any of the topics the first time around unless they have been restlessly studying the homepage of Urban Dictionary for the last year.
The gimmicks of Tossed Salad wear off quicker than any player hopes to admit. Even though it offers some good laughs and enjoyment through the first round, it overstays its welcome not long after. It seems as though the bland gameplay of Tossed Salad will make you want to toss it straight down the garbage disposal.
Images: Games Adults Play
Featured Image: Photo taken by Tanner Kinney