Cards Against Humanity

The Houghton Library at Harvard houses some interesting books, but did you know it also has a collection of some historical board games from over 100 years ago?  Some of the highlights include The Magic Ring, a spin and move game from 1796 where you are trying to reach the center of the ring first.  Or maybe you would enjoy The New Game of Emulation for the Instruction and Amusement of Youth from 1804, another spin and move style game that taught players various virtues, which could have been a prequel to The Mansion of Happiness, a similar game in both theme and play that Chaz talked about on Board Game Breakfast.  They even have copies of early paper games, one of which is a German language game which plays strikingly similar to the modern games Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity.

Any way you slice it the collection is very interesting and showcases the history of board gaming over the centuries.  And as an added bonus, the library has even done high resolution scans of some of the boards so you can print out and play your very own copy of the game (yay?).  You can read more and see some of the highlights on the Harvard Gazette website.

Another week, another batch of Kickstarters worth a second look.

First up is a game designed specifically for the visually impaired in mind, and that is Megateh.  This Japanese designed game is essentially a tactile version of the classic game Quarto, where you need to get 4 in a row of all the same shape, all the same height, or in a descending height.  Players are blindfolded when playing the game so you will have to feel for the pieces, which consist of solid disks and discs with a hole in the middle, in order to place them.  But you also have to feel for where to place them, figuring out where the other pieces have been placed already and trying to set yourself up to win, while not setting up your opponent to win.  First person to get four in a row as described above wins!  There are several pledge levels to get different versions of the game that range from a mini ceramic $18 model, up to a fully customized $88 wood model.  So if this kind of game interests you, or want to support games designed for visually impaired players, then check out the Kickstarter page.

Next is the latest game from the Nickelodeon and IDW Games partnership, and that is Legend of Korra: Pro Bending Arena.  This is a two player arena game where each player controls a pro bending team like the Fire Ferrets, White Falls Wolfbats, or the Red Sands Rabaroos.  Each team has their own unique set of minis, team ability, and technique cards that will be used in the game.  But before you start the game you have the option of creating your custom strategy deck, which is the deck of technique cards you will be pulling from during the game to play against your opponents.  However, the deck doesn’t have to be static, as during the game you will have the ability to purchase more technique cards from your supply with chi that you have built up.  Your players also will come equipped with trick card that give them powerful special abilities, but some of which cause you to roll the referee die, risking the possibility of your team member being ejected from the game.  In the end it’s last man standing as you fight to knock the opposing team out of the ring, whoever is left is the winner.  So if this sounds like an interesting game to you, check out the Kickstarter page.

After that is another arena combat game called Zero Gravity, that utilizes a unique gimmick in it’s gameplay.  On it’s surface, Zero Gravity looks to be your normal arena battle game with each player controlling a team of combatants.  You are racing to get thirty points which is done through taking out your opponents troops, capturing objectives, or completing achievements.  First person to 30 points will be the winner.  Now as for what makes this game unique, that comes in the board that you play on, a 3D board which has playing surfaces on every interior surface.  Also each miniature comes equipped with a magnet, allowing them to stick to the walls and ceiling, bringing a typically 2D game into the 3rd dimension.  This mean that sight and range lines are no longer just drawn on the board, now you will be drawing them in the area to see if your troop on the floor can hit the troop on the wall.  Overall it looks to be an interesting game, and if you find it interesting to then head on over to the Kickstarter page.

For this project we have the ubiquitous Cards Against Humanity clone, but this time done by well known game company Steve Jackson Games.  Conspiracy Theory is you typical draw a black card to get your prompt, and play white cards to complete the phrase in the most hilarious way possible.  One major difference is that this game is all about conspiracy theories, like the title suggests, and so the cards being played are well withing the PG-13 realm.  So if you are looking for a party, card game that isn’t so offensive, and has the typical Steve Jackson flair, check out it’s Kickstarter page.

Next is another party game called News@11, where you try to come up with the best news segment that you can.  During the game you will have a producer, a lead anchor, and news anchors.  The lead anchor will be the one who hands out the segment cards, telling you what kind of news report you will be giving.  The different options include things like sports, weather, health & beauty, traffic and more.  Each news anchor will have three of these segment cards for their morning, afternoon, and evening news segments.  To populate these segments you will draw cue cards that have you fill in a word mad lib style, and you will use one cue for your morning segment, then add a second for afternoon, and finally a third for the evening.  It’s these crazy combinations of words and segments that will generate a lot of the laughter in the game, and the best news caster will be selected as the winner.  As for the producer, they will be handing out producer cards that keep things moving, but can also cause some chaos.  So if you are looking for a new party game with a news feel to it, check out the Kickstarter page.

Following that we have another board game based on a television IP, and that is Warehouse 13 the Board Game.  In Warehouse 13 the game you are playing as agents to either help or hurt the warehouse and to collect the artifacts that have been scattered around the world.  In there game you will have several agents and one traitor, with the agents working to capture three artifacts, and the traitor working to have three artifacts lost, and then win the finale.  Gameplay is a mix of dice and card play with dice being rolled to set the difficulty of retrieving the artifact, or used to pass attribute tests that have been placed on different locations.  The cards are what you will be playing to acquire clues and eventually acquire the artifact.  However, the traitor has many ways to affect these endeavors, and if any of several conditions are met, then the artifact is lost to the Adversary and they move one step closer to winning.  Each game is called an episode and if the villains get three artifacts, the finale happens where has the agents trying to foil his final plan before he wins.  Each character is pulled straight from the show and each has their own special abilities that can be used once an episode or season, or is always available.  So if you enjoy these puzzle type games with a traitor, or are looking for a Warehouse 13 themed game, check out this Kickstarter.

And finally we have the latest from Mindclash Games, makers of Anachrony and Trickerion, a new area control style game called Cerebria.  In Cerebria you are playing the role of either Bliss or Gloom, trying to spread your influence to all the denizens of the town.  You will does this through various area control aspects such as allies in different locations, a scoring tower in the middle of the board, and your allies presence.  After you pick a side you will play the game by carrying out actions on your spirit board.  You have many actions to choose from and you will be playing cards from your hand as well to move around the board, affect emotions on the board, put out new emotions, and other actions.  As you do these things you will begin to use up resources from different spheres on the board, when one is empty there is a scoring round where you check to see if you achieved varying aspirations.  Achieving these aspirations gets you pieces of a tower placed in the center, of which their height and facing affect different actions on the board.  At the end, whoever has more of their color in the tower at the end is the winner of the game.  This is just a brief overview and there is much more to the game, so if you want to find out more then head on over to the Kickstarter page.

In case you were wondering if you could customize your game of Cards Against Humanity with your own content, your curiosity has been satisfied…

Being released from Cards Against Humanity LLC is a card pack entitled “Your S****y Jokes”   This pack will come with 50 blank cards, 40 White / 10 Black, allowing you to add whatever content to the game you wish creating a customized version of your game.

Does your group have a lot of inside jokes that would be served well in this game?  Do you feel the content is too extreme, and you need to ‘lighten the mood’ by adding some tamer material?  Do you feel the game isn’t raunchy enough and you can do better?  All of these things are now possible with this expansion.  CAH’s website states that this also comes with a guide to help you create content for the game that ‘doesn’t suck’.

Love it or hate it, Cards Against Humanity isn’t going anywhere and this pack of blank cards allows you to create content for your game in any way you see fit.

Cards Against Humanity: Your S****y Jokes contains:

  • 40 White Cards
  • 10 Black Cards
  • Instructions for writing your own cards

For more information on Cards Against Humanity, please follow the link here

random hitler

Over on Kickstarter is the tongue-in-cheek social deduction game Secret Hitler which has nearly tripled it’s funding goal with 28 days remaining. The game takes it’s cues from modern favourites such as Resistance, Avalon and Werewolf and plays 5-10 players.  Set in 1930s Germany, players are split into teams of either Fascists or Liberals.  The Liberals must find the Secret Hitler and the Fascists must pass fascist policies and install Hitler as their leader.  The game has a similar start to Resistance and Avalon with everyone closing their eyes and the Fascists knowing each other and the identity of Secret Hitler but Secret Hitler doesn’t know the fascists or liberals and the liberals don’t know who anyone is.  Each round players elect a President and Chancellor.  The President chooses 3 policies from a random deck, discards one and then the Chancellor must decide which one to pass.  In order for the Fascists to win they must pass 6 fascist policies or pass 3 and then elect Secret Hitler as Chancellor. Each fascist policy passed includes a power that the President can then use such as assassinating a player or choosing the next President.  It looks to be an interesting spin on the likes of the Resistance and has a lot of positive buzz.  There don’t seem to be any stretch goals at present and two tiers, one of which includes a foil pack of Cards against humanity fascist cards (as one of the designers also designed Cards against Humanity).  There are more details including gameplay videos, pdfs of rules and many testimonials from celebrities and games designers over on the Kickstarter site.

The board game industry goes through cycles just like any other entertainment industry. With the recent influx of new gamers thanks to the hobby gaining mainstream appeal, new tastemakers are leading the industry in interesting directions. While not all of those directions are particularly healthy, the recent resurgence of party games is most certainly a tick in the win column.

Why are we seeing a party game boom? I think there are a few different reasons. The first, and probably biggest contributor to this shift, is an increasing crop of casual gamers. That mainstream acceptance I mentioned earlier brings with it new faces who’s entry point might have been simple social and party style games. It also seems to me that we’re coming out of a period of rapid heavy game adoption. Where there are peaks, there must come valleys, and even the most hardened gamer needs a bit of a laugh every once in a while.

None of that would matter if the games on the market were junk. I give a lot of credit to companies like Blue Orange Games and R&R Games for publishing some really great quality party games. The market created demanded, and these casual game stalwarts answered it. Did the people bring the games or the games bring the people? Whatever it is that has given rise to this party game-friendly confluence, it’s a really encouraging change of pace.  Let’s take a look at some of the recent highlights.

Image from BGG

Image from BGG

But Wait, There’s More! from Toy Vault, Inc.

But Wait, There’s More! builds on the grand tradition of Snake Oil by asking players to sell increasingly ridiculous products to the other players. It starts innocuous enough with just a thing and a feature, but when additional features are added into the mix pushing players to really stretch their sales pitches, the game gets really fun. It’s easy to talk about a vacuum cleaner that can be used in 18 different ways, but now it cures acne as well?! There are already several minis expansions that add more cards, support for additional players, and even new games modes.

Cards Against Humanity

Love it or hate it, Cards Against Humanity is a perennial favorite among adult party gamers. The game revels in unabashedly off-color humor reaching into the deepest depths of offensiveness, so if your crowd is into that kind of comedy and isn’t easily offended, this Apples to Apples clone might be for you. In Cards Against Humanity, one player is a judge that draws a black card and reads it to the other players, normally with one or two blanks. The players have a hand of white cards with a myriad of soul-scarring phrases that they select from. The judge then shuffles and reads the responses, declaring one the winner and scoring that player a point. The judge’s role then shifts to the next player and on it goes often with alcoholic beverages in tow.

Concept from Asmodee

Concept is a clever deduction game in which one player draws a card with a series of words or phrases ranging in difficulty from easy to hard. That player then selects a word and uses the central board and a variety of tokens to illustrate their word or phrase nonverbally. The board contains a myriad of images and icons representing both concrete and nebulous concepts. By assigned the marker for the primary and secondary concepts, and using cubes to mark additional clues, players can deduce the word or phrase and score points. It’s a great set up for what boils down to board game charades. Will your teammates guess the word before time runs out or your sense of shame gets the better of you?

Monikers

The game at the heart of Monikers is actually pretty old. It’s been published as Celebrities and Time’s Up! most recently, but goes by a variety of names and forms. None of those versions are as attractive and broad as Monikers. Regardless of the edition, two teams of players draw from a pool of cards that all feature people or personas.

Image from BGG

Image from BGG

These can range from historical figures to fictional characters to celebrities and more. In the first round, players attempt to describe as many of their cards as possible, in the allotted time, without using the cards’ name. Sounds easy enough. In the second round, that same deck of cards is used again but this time they must be described using just one word. Round three ramps things up even more by requiring that no words are used at all, only gestures. I won’t spoil what happens in rounds four and five, but suffice to say, it’s about as funny as party games get.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf from Bezier Games

The classic social deduction game, usually referred to as Werewolf or Mafia, has been streamlined into a shorter experience representing just one night of werewolves hiding among the innocent townfolk. Aided by a tremendous vocal track by the Dice Tower’s own Eric Summerer, players are assigned roles in secret and attempt to use their guile to uncover the werewolves or to throw suspicion on the humans, whatever the case may be. Add to that a whole pile of different roles with unique motivations, ensuring endless replay value.

Spit It Out! from R&R Games

Probably the newest game on the list, Spit It Out! is a deceptively simple game. The box comes with a whole bunch of cards and two regular dice, and all you have to do to win is answer some very basic questions correctly. Huh? Well there’s a twist. Those two dice are rolled to determine which two of the six questions must be answered incorrectly. Those answer not only need to be wrong, but they have to be in the same ballpark as the correct answer. What color is the sky? You can’t say that sky is “firetruck”, you have to answer with another color. It sounds easy, but with a timer ticking down and the conscious effort it takes to trick our own brains away from the correct answers, it’s great fun.

Spyfall from Cryptozoik Entertainment

Spyfall is a social deduction in which players are given secret roles and a secret location. One of those roles is the spy and unlike their fellow payers, the spy doesn’t know the location. Obviously not a very crafty spy. In any case, players take turns asking each other questions.

Image from BGG

Image from BGG

The non-spies are trying to determine which one is the spy, and the spy is trying to figure out the location. The fun comes from the ridiculous questions. Knowing there’s a spy, the players will be pretty dodgy not wanting to reveal too much information. All the while, the spy is all-but grasping at straws trying to piece together the subtle clues found in the other questions. Though it rarely happens, if the spy can outwit the other players, it’s a pretty amazing win.

This is just a small slice of the party game pie, and you really can’t go wrong with any of these selections as long as your group is a good fit. Throwing a party game night is a great way to introduce non-gamers to our hobby. It’s also a nice way to break up your regular game events with something a little unexpected. Next time you plan a game night, consider shelving the heavy euros just this once for a night of goofball fun.

Image From Bangor Daily News

Image From Bangor Daily News

Over the holidays Cards Against Humanity (CAH) sold a holiday mystery pack and promised to do something big with the money, so they bought an island.  They bought a 6-acre island in Lake St. George in Liberty, Maine for $190,000 and renamed it Hawaii 2: The Return of Jafar.  Then in typical CAH fashion they built a platform with a shed and a safe inside, and inside the safe is a pack of cards which if you can open the safe, they are yours (they are also talking about using the island for a geocaching adventure).  In addition to this they sent a license to each of the 250,000 purchasers of the holiday pack granting exclusive use to 1 square foot of land on the island.  However, the local community and government are not too happy about these arrangements.

The community is worried about a massive influx of people into their small town as well as some instances of trespassing from people trying to get to the island over the winter.  The local government is getting ready to fine CAH for excessive subdividing of the land into over 250,000 pieces as well as the location of the shed being too close to the high water line of the island.  You can read the full story HERE from the Bangor Daily News and the article makes no mention of a response from CAH yet on the fines.

card taker

Cards Against Humanity is a card game similar to Apples to Apples, where one player is a judge, and other players each pick a card from their hand to fill in the blank of a question card. In Cards Against Humanity, many of the questions and answers are vulgar, which leads people to describe it as “Apples to Apples for adults.”

card taker box

Now, Pigeonhole Products, an independent woodworking company, is creating a storage solution for Cards Against Humanity and its expansions – in the form of a wooden coffin. The coffin will hold the original game and up to four expansions, separating the white answer cards from the black question cards. There will also be a tombstone shaped card divider for the white cards.

To check out the Kickstarter (including a stop motion video featuring the coffin), see here.

Image From Chicago Tribune's Web Site

Image From Chicago Tribune’s Web Site

Card Against Humanity will be selling a 30 card science themed deck and the proceeds will fund a scholarship for women pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. The scholarship will provide four years of tuition for one student who identifies as female. In addition the company will share the students ideas and thoughts on its blogs and social media accounts.

The Cards Against Humanity and SMBC Science Ambassador Scholarship is a full-ride scholarship for women seeking undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. Read more on our press release.

Applications will be open for the fall 2016 school year

Check out the full article from the Chicago Tribune here or head over the the scholarship site here where you can sign up to be notified once the scholarship is available.

penny press

Asmadi Games has announced their latest title which should be coming March 15th “Penny Press“.  This game was the winner of Tabletop Deathmatch Season 1 (available here) which was sponsored by Cards Against Humanity and Ad Magic.  After a successful Kickstarter campaign for the game in July of last year they are finally releasing the game.

Centering around the cut throat newspaper business of the late 1800’s you are playing the role of a newspaper mogul like William Randolph Hurst or Joseph Pulitzer.  You need to make the strategic decisions about where you want to allocate the limited resources you have for getting your reporters on the stories while still getting to press while there is still a story to be told.

While this and Extra Extra (our article) which was announced recently by Mayfair Games are both newspaper games their designers have acknowledged publicly that they appear to be very different games from each other mechanically and that if the newspaper theme appeals to you then both titles would good to add to your collection.

penny press bgg

Publishers description below

Set during the tumultuous ‘yellow journalism’ years at the end of the 19th century, Penny Press has players taking on the roles of newspaper barons as they strive to become the dominant paper in old New York City.

On each turn, you’ll be able to take one action with your reporters (placing or moving them onto stories) or go to press, if you think you’re ready!  Going to press involves laying out the story pieces on your player board to form the front page of your paper, but you’ll only be able to print stories that you’ve got a majority of reporters on.

The player with the best front pages that have the most desirable stories will score more points and increase your circulation! So send your reporters out and start up the presses, because in the newpaper business, news travels FAST!

Featuring beautiful artwork from Mackenzie Schubert, this game has an attractive box and great shelf presence!

2-5 players
45-60 minute play time

Courtesy Jonathan Lundberg

Courtesy Jonathan Lundberg

Best Choice Reviews dipped their toe into the world of board games with their 50 Greatest Card Games and Board Game of All Time, citing the growing popularity of the gaming hobby.

“Board gaming has experienced increases overall for the past several years, leading to many manufacturers and commentators to talk about the Board Game Renaissance. This list features the best of the old and the new in board and card gaming. These games are popular, influential, and loads of fun.”

Although we here at Dice Tower News are objective reporters and are able to push aside cognitive dissonance like professionals, it is important to remember that “fun”, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

With that out of the way, let’s reveal the contents of your next board game order:

  • #50 – Operation
  • #49 – Gin Rummy
  • #48 – Mouse Trap
  • #47 – Mancala
  • #46 – Metro
  • #45 – Battleship
  • #44 – Parcheesi
  • #43 – Yahtzee!
  • #42 – Carcassonne
  • #41 – Uno
  • #40 – Sorry!
  • #39 – Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • #38 – Pictionary
  • #37 – Chinese Checkers
  • #36 – Whist
  • #35 – Cards Against Humanity
  • #34 – Pandemic
  • #33 – Blackjack (21)
  • #32 – Cribbage
  • #31 – Snakes and Ladders
  • #30 – Candyland
  • #29 – Spades
  • #28 – Pokemon
  • #27 – Dominoes
  • #26 – Dutch Blitz
  • #25 – The Game of Life
  • #24 – Hearts
  • #23 – Connect Four
  • #22 – Trivial Pursuit
  • #21 – Diplomacy
  • #20 – Munchkin
  • #19 – Taboo
  • #18 – Axis and Allies
  • #17 – Ticket to Ride
  • #16 – Canasta
  • #15 – Stratego
  • #14 – Mahjong
  • #13 – Clue (Cluedo)
  • #12 – Scrabble
  • #11 – Apples to Apples
  • #10 – Settlers of Cataan
  • #9 – Backgammon
  • #8 – Magic: The Gathering
  • #7 – Poker
  • #6 – Risk
  • #5 – Draughts (Checkers)
  • #4 – Bridge
  • #3 – Monopoly
  • #2 – Chess
  • #1 – Go

There you have it, the 50 Greatest Card Games and Board Games of All Time. For more on these games and their ranks on this hallowed list, check out the full article.