Social Gaming: Drunken Party Fun

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Posted June 4, 2014 by Chris Lincoln in Nerdy Bits

Hello, everyone!

I’m Chris Lincoln, a new writer here on We The Nerdy, and I’m here today to talk about my favorite party games. No, not Pin the Tail on the Donkey or Spin the Bottle (the bottle always landed on me, anyway), but  modern games that thrive when introduced to a partially inebriated group of adults. These games have no boards, no dice just some cards, simple rules, and loads of fun. So come along as I take you on a tour of my mysterious bag of party games.

mc ftw

 

First, let’s take a look at the oldest of my party games, Ultimate Werewolf.

Ultimate Werewolf

From what I understand, Werewolf is marginally the party game Mafia with a different skin. I don’t really know for sure because I’ve never heard of Mafia except when talking about Werewolf. Mafia is the neanderthal to Werewolf’s homo sapien. Now that we’re done with the exhaustive history lesson, let’s get back on track and talk about Ultimate Werewolf. In the original incarnation, you’d make up cards or slips of paper with one of 3 roles on them: Werewolf, Seer, or Villager. You’d have about 1 werewolf for every 5 villagers and a seer just to spice things up. Everyone gets a card/slip of paper, learns their role, and hides it. No one is allowed to say they are anything but a villager, if you give away your secret role you are kicked out.  The game takes place over several days, which are timed rounds of discussion, and nights, in which everyone has their eyes closed and heads down as the werewolves hunt in secret.  During a day, the moderator (I mentioned him/her, right?) sets a timer and gives the villagers a signal that day has begun. This is where all the real fun happens. The villagers, you see, are to discuss who lynch as a werewolf. Even on the first day, when no one has been murdered yet. Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, couples rally to get their partner strung up, it’s pandemonium and everyone loves it. If a majority of people can agree on one person to lynch, that player reveals their role card (or paper) and is out of the game. They don’t have to leave the game area, but they cannot talk about the game, lest the living players get any clues. If the timer ends and no one is selected, no one dies and you move on to nighttime.  During each night everyone has their heads down and eyes closed. The moderator will then call for the werewolves to raise their heads and open their eyes, so now they know who their partners are, and then as a team select one person to die. This is done without speaking to hide the werewolves’ identity. After that, the werewolves put their heads back down and the seer is called out. This mystical player can tell if someone is a werewolf or a villager. They will point at a player and the moderator will signal V, for villager, with one hand using the thumb and index finger, or W for werewolf, using both hands joined at the thumb to form a W. The next day, everyone wakes up, someone is dead, and the “who to lynch” argument starts anew. The game continues until all werewolves are eliminated or there are an equal number of werewolves and villagers.

The basic setup for a 10 player game (plus moderator).

The basic setup for a 10 player game (plus moderator).

Now this is just the basic game, as played by many before we ever had nice card-based versions. Ultimate Werewolf really turns everything up. With this one box you can run a game for up to 68 players. 68. I can’t even comprehend how you’d run a game that size. But all those extra cards are really just fun options you can sprinkle throughout your games. We love playing with one villager as Cupid. At the beginning of the game, he secretly selects 2 players to be star-crossed lovers. If one of them dies the other will immediately die of a broken heart. The succubus is like a villager, but wins if the werewolves win. There’s a prince, who when lynched reveals his card but stays alive unless killed by a werewolf. There’s a cult leader (whose art looks like Steve Buscemi) who gathers cult members and wins if everyone’s a member. There’s a sasquatch, a chupacabra, an old witch, a wolf child, just so many roles to throw into the mix. Hell, with a big enough group, you can add a 3rd faction, Vampires, who are similar to werewolves but not quite. To keep all this craziness fair and balanced Ultimate Werewolf has a series of numbers on the cards. Positive cards are in the villagers favor, negative cards are in the werewolves favor, and the closer to zero you get the more fair the game is for both sides. My usual group has gotten too good, so I generally construct a deck more in favor of the werewolves. Ultimate Werewolf is a truly fantastic party game and I highly recommend you get a group to try it out. It might be a bit tricky, but after a round or two everyone is hooked.

Some of the other roles from Ultimate Werewolf

Some of the other roles from Ultimate Werewolf

 

 

Continuing in a similar vein (friends arguing loudly), let’s look at Superfight, a delightful little game about strange opponents battling it out.

Superfight Box

Superfight is similar to Cards Against Humanity (which I’m saving for last) but not at all the same. You see, in CAH you’re playing a card anonymously and then the judge picks whatever card they like best based on who knows what. In Superfight, you create heroes and battle them and spend most of each round arguing over who wins. This is actually really awesome and quite funny. Let me explain the game. The judge flips over one Character card and 2 Attribute cards to create the villain everyone is fighting. Keep in mind that these are 1 on 1 matchups, not all the players vs the judge’s character.

I think this is actually true.

I think this is actually true.

Next, each player plays, face down, a character and an attribute. The standard game then instructs the judge to call “right” or “left” and you play an attribute (usually one you don’t want) on the player in that direction. To keep hostilities low my group uses the variant where your second attribute is pulled from the deck. Once each player has a character with 2 attributes, the cards are revealed and arguing begins. Whoever wins gets the villain’s character card to keep as a point, or trophy.

This might also be true.

This might also be true.

This basic game is a lot of fun, but it can be expanded with a number of additional decks. There are 3 decks that simply add more cards, albeit with a theme. These are the Kids deck, which is more things children would know about; the Geek deck, full of nerdy characters and attributes (“Armed with the Omega-13”, for example); and the Red deck, full of off-color and offensive things. One thing to note is that the red deck doesn’t contain swearing or anything even approaching the awfulness of Cards against Humanity.

The Geek deck and Red deck.

The Geek deck and Red deck.

There are also 3 decks that change how the game works: Locations, Scenarios, and The Hero Builder. Locations and Scenarios are added to the villain the judge creates to spice up the battle. You could be fighting in a minefield in Canada, or in an infinite ice rink but the winner is chosen by rap battle. These 2 decks take the normal game and catapult it into the stratosphere, making for an outrageously fun game.

Well this changes things.

Well this changes things.

The Hero Builder is  kind of like another draw deck. Sometimes you will draw a “Go to hero builder” card and have to draw cards from that set to make up a new hero. It sounds fun, but I haven’t tried it yet. My FLGS has a copy, so I’ll pick it up soon and report back with how that goes. But really, I’m good with what I have. While this game doesn’t have the shock factor of CAH, the arguments that result are just so off the wall and fun that players who like Cards should get a kick out of Superfight as well.

 

And finally we come to this, the perennial favorite, the big dog, the captain of the Queen’s navy, Cards Against Humanity.

Cards Against Humanity

What do I say about this that hasn’t been said already? It’s crude, filthy, disgusting, offensive, racist, and the most fun I’ve ever had at a party without a hot tub. First, let me tell you about a game called Apples to Apples. A2A is a modern classic that you can find in homes and Targets across the USA, an easy concept with often silly results. One player, the judge, will draw a card and read off the adjective. Then each player picks one of their noun cards and plays it face down. The judge shuffles the played cards (to ensure anonymity), reads them off while everyone has a chuckle, then chooses a winner who keeps the adjective card which counts as one point. It’s a fun game and I suggest it to any family looking for a fun game for dinner parties and the like. Now, when my silly group of comedians and degenerates played, we often were just trying to get a laugh out of the judge, or otherwise just play the weirdest card we had. Well, we weren’t the only ones who played Apples to Apples like that, and one group made up their own game that’s pretty much just offensive Apples to Apples. For instance, now that I own all the expansions, I have white cards that read “a big black dick”, “a bigger, blacker dick”, and “the biggest, blackest dick”, with the final one being embossed in silver ink.

The bigger, blacker box has a card in the lid!

The bigger, blacker box has a card in the lid!

Here are 3 random white cards: “Poorly timed Holocaust jokes”, “Tasteful sideboob”, and “The thin veneer of situational causality that underlies porn.” You’ll be playing these in response to black cards, such as: “What am I giving up for lent?”, “During his Childhood, Salvador Dali produced hundreds of paintings of_____________.”, or “What will always get you laid?” The gameplay is the same as Apples to Apples: the judge draws and reads a black card, the players play white cards anonymously, and judge reads the white cards and picks a winner, who gets to keep the black card as a point. This is a game that turns any party into a bubbling cauldron of fun and laughter. You’ll start off playing with 4 people, but pretty soon the whole party will be playing or watching.

This is so tame.

This is so tame.

 

Well, that’s it for the contents of my party bag. All of this stuff lives in my car now because someone wants to play one or more of these games at every party I go to. They’re a good reminder that gaming doesn’t have to be boring like Monopoly (which I loathe), or childishly pointless (Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, I’m looking at you). It also helps people remember that games exist outside your console, computer, and phone. These are games that get everyone to hang out together, in the same room, and have boatloads of fun with people they enjoy. Not everyone plays videogames, not everyone plays the amazing and crazy board games that have been coming out over the last decade, but when you break out one of these games at a party then suddenly everyone’s a gamer, if only for one night.

 

Deal me in.


About the Author

Chris Lincoln

A gamer through and through. A first class nerd. All games are his realm, but the tabletop is where he sits upon his throne.