Review: The Game of Things

– Originally published in Indigo (Palatinate) in December 2015 –

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Game of Things in return for my honest opinions on the game.

The Game of Things is a fun card game proclaimed by its creators as “humor in a box!” It is exactly that, providing a fun distraction on a cold winter’s afternoon.

Inside the wooden box are a set of pencils, the playing cards and finally score and answer sheets. Each playing card contains a topic for discussion. One example, which created some suitably naughty responses, was “Things you shouldn’t put in your mouth”. After the reader has announced the topic for consideration, every other player writes their answer down. When they have been read out, people have to guess who has said what. The premise of the game is simple but it can work very well. Unlike a lot of games, there is very little set-up. It can be played virtually anywhere; the presentation box the game comes in isn’t really necessary.

Before reviewing the game, I hadn’t heard of it at all. Researching it on Amazon, I saw that it is linked to the more famous game Cards Against Humanity, with people often buying the two together. I can understand why, although there is a key difference between the two.

When playing Cards Against Humanity being unable to come up with a funny combination would be an achievement in itself. With the responses pre-selected, you just have to put them together in a humorous (and often dark) way. On the other hand, if you don’t come up with something at least a little witty then A Game of Things can quickly become very dull.

The game costs around £30, and is currently on sale at Amazon for £27.99. This felt a little expensive for what is an innovative but simple idea. Surprisingly, the box is a lot bigger than it appears online, close to A4 size. Another feature of the game that came as a slight shock was the suggested age limit given, of fourteen years old and above. Most of the ‘things’ in the game are very innocent and it is only the dirty minds of the players that can transform them. Of course, trying to play the game with young children would probably make it a very dull and very short enterprise.

With summative deadlines surging towards me and the rest of my housemates, I decided to take the game home with me on a trip to see my family. After dinner at my grandparent’s house one Sunday afternoon, we started to play (as an aside, don’t play this game with family unless you all have a great sense of humour!).

We quickly became engrossed in the game. Even my younger sister, who usually spends her afternoons in the living room watching murder mysteries, joined us. She informed us that she would only be joining us for the first round, to see what the game was like, and refused to sit down. For the entire time we were playing, she lurked over the dining table, but didn’t try and leave once. She was as involved in the game as we were, which shows how impressive it is.

If you are playing with people you are close to rather than at a large party, then you will often be able to guess who has said what. My sister is one of the most cynical people I know and her dry, cutting sarcasm was easy to spot among the responses. Of course, you could pretend to be someone else and answer how they would. I made jokes about having difficulty using a washing machine as if it wasn’t true.

Sometimes it was a surprise who came up with the most intriguing responses. My 72-year-old grandmother, who is usually one of the more innocent in the family, answered one of the questions with the phrase “Lick it till none is left.” I can’t quite remember what the ‘thing’ was but we can always guess!

Other key phrases included “Justin Beiber’s strap-on” and “Because I’m vomit” (answered by another player with “Nice to meet you vomit, I’m puke.”). Some were more controversial, such as responses to “things you wouldn’t say to the Pope.”

A few of the ‘things’ listed weren’t very funny at all, regardless of how we spun them, but most allowed very creative responses. This is a game that relies on you being open and willing to come up with some bizarre answers – but if you do, there’s a great time in store.

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