I don't know why people always mention the common trope that board games leave people bored. First of all, that's a lazy pun. Second, board games build stronger bonds, foster more communication, and drum up more laughs than most video games could. Why? Because board games are a social activity. And I adore them for it.
Unfortunately, board game fanatics like myself endure much rejection, just like with any social endeavor. I'm never sure if it's because I suck at explaining board games or people don't like hangouts with rules. Whatever the reason, here are some games I've proposed that were immediately shut down by friends and family.
Oh, the dark, sad tale of Cranium. I know it well. This colorful, creative, probably mensa-certified(?) game lives in the ice-cold recessions of my broken heart. I remember playing Cranium Cadoo (think Cranium: Kids Edition) and have been enamored with the board game franchise since. So, of course, Cranium was at the top of my childhood Christmas list.
Well, one lucky yuletide morn, I awoke to find Cranium: Turbo Edition under the Christmas tree. I was so excited to perform clues, mold with clay, and do all the fun things I imagine rich kids doing in a hoity-toity charter school. But when I asked my family to play with me, the subject was put off.
"Why don't we try this another day, Chris."
"This looks like a lot of effort."
"Why can't we play something simple!?"
And ever since, the contents of Cranium: Turbo Edition remained in that bloated game box.
So, the story's moral is: If you plan to gift a board game, the board game is only half the gift. The gift is incomplete unless you gift your time and play the game with your so-called loved one. And if you don't have the time or interest, don't gift the damn game, Mom and Dad!…Oh. Sorry. Got a little heated there, huh?
5/6 Throw Throw Burrito
I found Throw Throw Burrito online and was immediately taken in by its chaotic, dodgeball-like exploits. This game looked like an instant party starter that would have the whole room laughing up a storm! Plus, Exploding Kittens hired national treasure Yvette Nicole Brown to narrate the instructional video on YouTube. How could this game not be fun!?
Unfortunately, I soon realized that most adults do not enjoy board games that require minimal physical activity. At least, that's what I discovered when I played with my mom around a sad kitchen table during a quiet game night at the height of the COVID pandemic.
Once I had the right card combination, I snatched a plushie burrito, rose from the table, and pelted my mom with the cutesy taqueria delight. Her unenthusiastic response was, "I can't play this game, Chris. I'm too slow."
I guess the takeaway from that story is life gets sad in your fifties?
I became interested in Gloom when I saw Smosh's YouTube channel feature the game on their Board AF program. Between the cast's over-the-top interpretations of the game's wacky deaths and their chortle of laughter, I thought this would be a hit at family game night.
Unfortunately, most of my experiences playing Gloom were more gloomy than the game's saddest expirations. In these cases, math was the murderer.
Allow me to explain. In Gloom, each player controls a family of macabre characters, including a gothic Addams family knockoff, a disturbing circus troupe, and a kinship of evil scientists. The goal of each player is to make sure that their family members die with the highest number of tragic events in their lifetime. These tragedies get counted in points at the end of the game.
In addition, granting opponents positive events negates their Gloom points. Plus, some cards stack effects on top of each other, while others replace one effect for another. In short, you must keep track of the current tally of traumas at each turn. Again, lots and lots of math.
So, here is the issue. If you play the game with dark-minded mathletes, like my cousins, you'll have a fun time. But if you play the game with people who are less good at math (cough, cough, MOM, cough, cough), Gloom will become a slow-moving and confusing affair.
So, the next time you and your friends decide to play Gloom, ask yourselves if you're better off watching a Tim Burton film instead.
Who here loves a good sequel? Mattel certainly does! That's why they made a sequel to their most popular card game when absolutely no one asked them to. That's right, folks, welcome to DOS, the outcast UNO spin-off game Mattel doesn't want you to know about.
I'm incredibly salty at DOS because it proved my family's theory that I have horrible taste in board games. And I'm not in the mood for self-accountability, so this does not sit well with me!
So, before I go off-track with my bitching, what are the rules for DOS? Ummmm…There are two decks, and you can match a number or a color. There's also a pound sign (#) card for some reason. You can add two cards to play at once and…uh…
Look, I can refer back to the rule book and correctly explain this mess or end my work day early. So, I'm choosing the latter. All I'll say is, if I'm having this much trouble explaining DOS, imagine how much it sucks to play.
2/6 You've Got Crabs
You've Got Crabs looks like a straightforward and fun team game. Everyone passes cards around a table. When you have a matching quartet, you give your partner a unique, secret signal. If your partner receives the signal and yells, "You've Got Crabs," your team gains points. But your team loses points if your opponent catches on and yells the phrase first.
Unfortunately, once you utter this game's name in front of your family, they'll laugh uncomfortably and move on to yet another round ofGuesswords. I get the joke, but why couldn't the Exploding Kittens company call this game "You've Got Ants" or something? And what will their next game be, "I Got The Runs"?
1/6 Cards Against Humanity
From what others have told me, I jumped on the Cards Against Humanity train too late, and the cards lost all their humor/shock value. For instance, according to my brother, the winning answer will always be [insert historic tragedy here] or Helen Keller.
To that, I say WOWWWWW, you all are a bunch of sad, racist, ableist cynical buttholes! So we've got raunchy sex jokes, off-the-wall political takes, and other fun, topical humor. Yet genocide and a legendary disabled activist are the only things that make you laugh? I'm so disgusted with you people!
AND YOU'RE ALL WRONG. THE BEST ANSWER IS "KISSING GRANDMA ON HER FOREHEAD AND TURNING OFF HER LIFE SUPPORT"!
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