party games

Game of Phones is a card game where all you need is your smartphone to take on creative and unexpected challenges. It’s the ultimate digital scavenger hunt!”

In April of 2014, Luke Stern and Sam Wander initiated a successful Kickstarter for the original Game of Phones, a hilarious party game for people and their smartphones. And now, 5 years later, the dynamic duo has begun a new Kickstarter project for the second edition.

In Game of Phones, a group of players draw Challenge Cards in one of 4 categories, puzzles to solve using their phones. “Like” cards have players find photos in their camera roll or take new ones that match a certain category. One judge decides the winning photo. Similarly, “Unfollow” cards have each player eliminate one of the contender photos until only a single entry is left. “Download” cards have each player race to complete a challenge on their phone, such as text a selfie to a relative and get the first reply, or find the oldest message thread on their phone. Lastly, the “Upgrade” cards have all players work together in a group activity, usually to a hilarious conclusion.

The Kickstarter project for Game of Thrones continues through September 24, and the game is expected to ship in November of 2019. The game comes with a starter pack of 100 cards, the original pack, which contains 50 reworked cards from the first edition, and the offline pack, 50 cards that work even without an internet connection.

“A regal asymmetric party game for 3-6 players with bluffs and betrayals… Reigns: The Council is […] about a monarch seeking harmony in their realm, and their advisors vying to influence them for their own goals.”

Master board game designers Bruno Faidutti (Citadels) and Hervé Marly (Skull) have a new Kickstarter project, the most regal social party game, Reigns: the Council. Reigns is based on the popular same-named app from Studio Nerial. In Reigns, one player takes on the role of the monarch, humbly trying to balance the kingdom on 4 pillars: Church, People, Army and Wealth, all quantitated on the game board from 1-4. The remaining players are the (mistakenly) trusted advisors, but each one has a secret agenda with regards to these 4 pillars. Advisors each take a hand of proposal cards, ideas which will change the pillars depending if the proposal is accepted or rejected by the monarch. Players use the thematic icons on the proposal to tell stories and pitch ideas. The back of the proposal card tells the monarch which pillars will be affected by the proposal, and maybe if the effect is great, but not really if the effect is good or bad. It is up to the advisor to spin a yarn (ie. lie) so well that the King/Queen cannot help but accept.

After the 4 proposals are described, the monarch will pick one and the 4 pillars are shifted up and down according to both the rejected cards and the accepted proposal. If a pillar bumps off of the end of a track, the ruler is killed and a new monarch is established, with new advisors and new secret goals. Monarchs gain points for number of accepted proposals, while advisors gain points for having their story accepted and for meeting their secret goals.

Reigns: the Council is a fun, story-telling social party game for 3-6 players. The Kickstarter project continues through October 1, and the game is scheduled to release in May 2020. For more information, check out Nerial’s webpage here.

Wavelength is a previously reported successful Kickstarter project from producer Palm Court and master designers Alex Hague (Monikers), Justin Vickers (Monikers) and Wolfgang Warsch (The Quacks of Quedlinburg, The Mind). In this party game, a “psychic” clue giver is trying to guide the group to select a bullseye along a color spectrum. To do this, they pick a card with a pair of binaries, such as “hot – cold” or “rough – smooth”, then give a clue which would sit exactly where the bullseye sits on the spectrum. The Kickstarter for Wavelength was a great success, with 8,600+ patrons bringing in over $300,000, and the game is expected to deliver in October.

Asmodee has announced that they will be distributing this new party guessing game in the United States. Look for Wavelength to come to the west in Q4 2019. For more information, check out Asmodee’s press release here.

“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”

DrawLab Entertainment has announced Alice in Wordland, a new party game from designers Chris Darsaklis (When I Dream) and Spyros Koronis. Alice is a family oriented party game, wherein 3-8 players take turns naming items related to a revealed category on a discussion card, e.g. “Items on a sandwich”. However, the evil queen of hearts has decreed that certain letters are banned, so each named item cannot include three forbidden letters on revealed cards. A clever electronic teapot timer gives each player 10-15 seconds to interject their word then hit the button, or else the music stops, that player picks a score card, and is eliminated. Players each take on the role of a famous Alice in Wonderland character, along with a special ability, and these roles are rotated after every round. Once all the players have used each of the characters, the player with the most points is declared the most glib and loquacious polyglot in the kingdom!

Alice in Wordland will have a limited release at Essen Spiel late this October, and retail release to follow. For more information, check out DrawLab’s webpage on Alice here.

Indie Boards & Cards has three new releases this summer. First is Conflicting Legends, which Indie Boards & Cards has picked up to publish a second English edition. Conflicting Legends is a fast-paced strategic card game based on rock-paper-scissors.  The artwork on the cards depict a variety of historical science, culture, and military personalities. Each card has a unique ability. Conflicting Legends plays 3-6 players, ages 14+, in about 30-45 minutes, and will be released on May 15.

 Next is Among Thieves, a game of deception and greed. Players are criminals and blackmailers working together to steal from the Dystopian Universe mega-corporations. Each round, one player is the Heistmaster who chooses which other players to take on the heist.  Each player negotiates to get in on the action and partake in the loot.  However, no agreement is binding and players may choose to be dishonorable and take a larger share. Players win by having the most money but risk elimination if they lose too much honor. Among Thieves plays 3-8 players, ages 14+, in about 30-45 minutes, and will be released on June 26.

Lastly, Finger Guns at High Noon is sure to be a fast-paced and hilarious game of a western shootout. Its everybody against everybody unless players can convince others to join in or they lasso up an ally Actions are played simultaneously by counting down to draw finger guns. Different hand gestures show everyone’s actions and targets. Use pistols, dynamite, and power shots to eliminate other players, heal yourself at the saloon, organize a posse, or lasso up an ally. Once eliminated, players are still in the game as ghosts who have fewer actions but can thwart the plans of the living players.  Last player standing is the winner—unless the ghosts eliminate everyone.  Finger Guns at High Noon plays 3-8 players, ages 14+, in about 20 minutes, and will be released on June 26.

Genius Games, the masters of good, entertaining science games, have a new Kickstarter Campaign for the party word game Nerd Words: Science by designers John Coveyou and Eric Slauson. Genius has hit it out of the park in the past with science based board games, such as Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game (2017), Subatomic: An Atom Building Game (2018) and most recently Periodic: A Game of the Elements (2019). Nerd Words is a team based word game, in which a clue-giver picks a science term from two given clue cards. Clues must be a single word, and start with a letter from the original word, although the first letter of the original word is off limits until the final clue. Additionally, the clue giver may bet up to 4 points, if they think their clue is really extraordinarily good. I had a chance to look at an early copy of Nerd Words at GAMA Trade Show, and the game continues to succeed at Genius Games’ trademark ability to present real, sometimes complex, educational ideas in an elegant, simple manner. Nerd Words comes with dry erase boards for clue giving and guesses, and additional themed card packs are planned for the future, including Space Science, Earth Science, Medical Sciences, and Advanced Biology. The Kickstarter for Nerd Words: Science continues through April 11, and the game is expected to deliver in April 2019.

Gamewright has announced they are bringing the fast frantic party game Guju Guju (2015) to western shores. Originally a Taiwanese game from
publisher GeGe Co. Ltd. and designer Ariel Yi Chi Chang, Guju Guju is a speed game for 2-5 players. Players are each dealt 20 of the whimsically illustrated round cards in a face down deck, each card depicting 1 of 4 types of fruit, then 13 of the cards are placed face up on the table. On a player’s turn they announce a fruit, then cover one of that type of card on the table from their face down deck. If they happen to play the fruit they predicted, every player races to cover all the cards with that named fruit as fast as possible. The first player to empty their personal deck wins. For more details and images, check out Gamewright’s web page on Guju Guju here.

If I told you there was another social/party game on Kickstarter, you might not be too excited.  But, what if I told you the game was co-designed by award-winning designer, Wolfgang Warsch?  Designers Wolfgang Warsch (The Mind, Illusion and The Quacks of Quedlinburg), Alex Hague and Justin Vickers have teamed up on a new game called, Wavelength.

Wavelength is a team based guessing game, whereby, a hidden target is established between two points.  One member of the team is trying to get the other players to guess where the target, or bullseye, is located.  They do this by drawing a card which presents opposites end of a spectrum, for instance, hot and cold or rough and smooth.  A clue is given in attempt to relate the location of the bullseye within that spectrum.  Players then discuss how they think that clue relates to the position of the target between those extremes, while the opposing team can “suggest” how they think the clue relates in an effort to make them second guess themselves.  The active team then turns a dial (7.5″ rotating wheel) to select a spot on the spectrum.  Varying points are awarded based on how close they are to the target.

“One of the really unique things about Wavelength is that it’s played entirely IN THE BOX. The cards, dial, and score tracker all slot into the box’s tray, and you just…pass it around.”

The Kickstarter campaign for Wavelength has a single pledge level of $29 for a copy of the game.  The campaign is being run by Alex Hague, who has completed several successful campaigns for the game, Monikers.

Greater Than Games has just announced their new party game Medium, by designers Danielle DeleyLindsey Sherwood, and Nathan Thornton of Storm Chaser Games. In Medium, 2-8 players pair off into teams of 2, and each player in a team receives 5 word cards. Each player selects one of their cards, then link psychically and try to come up with a single word that ties the two words together. The pair then countdown and say their connecting words at the same time. If both members of a team manage to say the same connecting word, they win. If the pair are not yet mentally linked, no fear – they can draw new cards and try again. Medium is scheduled to come to retail in the second half of 2019.

CGE definitely has their holiday release schedule ready enough as-is, but as they’ve proven within the past few years – there’s always room for more word-based party games. That’s not me complaining, though, because CGE has been knocking it out of the park in that category, so it’s with great pleasure to share with you a few more coming quarter four of this year. The most exciting of the two releases is the all-new Trapwords – a party game inspired by the team vs. team play of Codenames with a slight twist thrown in. As described on CGE’s product page:

“Trapwords is a fun and fast-paced party game for two teams, who simultaneously prepare their lists of trapwords. The simple task of giving clues for your word is made fiendishly difficult by not knowing which words you can’t say. If you succeed, you advance to higher levels with more trapwords and additional challenges. Includes a set of regular words as well as a set with a fantasy theme.”

Codenames, on the other hand, does not need any introduction, but it’s still awesome to also announce that it’s Pictures version is getting the same XXL treatment that the base game has already gotten. There are no gameplay changes at all, just a giant version of the game this time featuring it’s unique and puzzling artwork on much bigger tiles. With this next step it is within reason to expect that Duet will receive the same treatment in the future, but I’m curious if the themed versions, such as Deep Undercover, Disney, and Marvel, will as well. We’ll have to wait and see! In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about these, and other, upcoming CGE releases, be sure to check out their website for updates.