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Subject: Man bites dog or dog game bites! rss

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Peter Giles
Australia
Canberra
ACT
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I got this game for Christmas. I guess I am preempting my opinion here a little when I say this is probably not a game that is ever deliberately chosen by its owner, rather, it has more likely come into their possession via some gift giving event like a birthday, Christmas, or quitting a job amicably. (always do that by the way)

I have seen this game sold in big book stores, so I figure that my aunt who gave it to me was probably trawling for other gifts and thought it would be the kind of thing I’d like. So Hurrah! to that barely understood discipline of marketing that places items right where only our sub-consciences can see them, usually within arm’s reach and usually right before the checkout.

Ok, so I got the box unwrapped and I think this could be alright. I can read, I like games, its about words, this could work.
There is a rule card which I quickly read. The 106 headline cards are not bad quality, though not the best either (my card shuffler didn't like 'em), with a picture of a dog with a bandaged mouth on the back and on the front there is a headline word and a point value in this range 0, 5, 10, 25, or 50. There are also 3 exclusive cards that double your score.

Its Christmas, everyone is there and even though it says 2-6 on the box we play with 7. I’m not the youngest but I start the deal anyway and hand out 5 cards to each player. They each throw in the 1-3 cards they don’t like; I deal back some replacement cards and those that could make their headlines by arranging their 5 cards do. We kept a running tally and after a few hands the first to 500 won.

It really didn’t tax anyone to hard and most enjoyed the funny headlines we got out of it. In fact we were more interested in helping people make better headlines than the score which might be the point of the game.

Having played a few rounds it was not hard to work out that it is totally about luck. The only influence you have is swapping out 3 of your initial 5 five cards, and hoping to pick up cards worth more or a maybe much needed verb if you’re holding a handful of nouns. There is next to no interaction with in the game...like I said before you might find yourself helping someone along but that really is the limit of it.

So you’ll play a few rounds the day you get it and henceforth it will sit on your shelf daring you to make up a bunch of house rules to make it more satisfying. I didn’t feel like J. Jonah Jameson buying headlines from freelance reporters. I didn’t feel like I was one of several newspaper editors competing to make the best sales.

The card content could have been better too. There should be more words that have double meaning and words like sheep or fish should have been used because they are both singular and plural. Cards should have a wild element so the trailing‘s’ on stabs could be optional or you could use either ‘there’, ‘they’re’, or ‘their’ in the headline. The points values made little sense and everyone who played felt that the best headline received little reward while the less pleasing (but legal) ones could make up to 200 points.

Also I would have liked to see 'edgier' words like rape, pole, victim, panties...I could go on.

As light filler for non gamers, it's bearable, because you do get some pretty funny headlines out on the table but I would never buy this one for myself and I would only inflict it on someone if they begged me.

Having said all that I might have a go at making up some rules to give it a bit of the news editor punch I was looking for. I think it has potential if reworked.

Any variants would be appreciated.
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Danny Stevens
Australia
Brisbane
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Games: Design 'em, rewrite 'em, play 'em!
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Other than "man bites dog" what were some example headlines created?
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Brad Fuller
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It sounds like you would enjoy F*ck This!
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Peter Giles
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I'm so sorry, I should have included a few in my review. This was a little unfair of me because the real joy of the game is in the headlines.

Interestingly you can't make the headline Man Bites Dog because the word Man is not in the deck. I consider this a great failing of the game on two counts. Its the title of the bloody game and Man is such a universally compatible word with just about every other word in the deck.

That brings me to another thought on the card content too. There are a few card that are, well, American. This for me makes it a little annoying. 340lb, D.A., and Cop are examples. The latter being most annoying because Cop is what I would call a one use word whereas Police is far more interchangeable i.e.

Cop Dog - Police Dog
Bizarre Cop Secret - Bizarre Police Secret

Anyway here are some of the headlines that can be made from the deck.

340 lb Actor Slays Priest
(Would have preferred the word Gorilla in the deck)

Swinging 1st Lady Weeps for General

Psychic Nurse Falls for Missing Convict
(Love the irony in this)

Romantic Hubby Drugs Dog Again
(This gave me giggle I could imagine the dog thinking, "Oh no he's near my water bowl again, I going to wake up sore again")

If anyone else owns this game and wants to add their favourite headline to this review feel free to.



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Wade Broadhead
United States
Pueblo
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Knowledge of the obscure French Film with this title is what wooed my wife away from her old boyfriend. Apparently a love of obscure French film was useful. Check out this movie is it bizarre and entertaining, but don't ever watch it near kids.
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Peter Giles
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fullerbd wrote:
It sounds like you would enjoy F*ck This!


Had a quick look, some of the ideas there might help this, so yeah, thanks for highlighting it for me.
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Peter Giles
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denverarch wrote:
Knowledge of the obscure French Film with this title is what wooed my wife away from her old boyfriend. Apparently a love of obscure French film was useful. Check out this movie is it bizarre and entertaining, but don't ever watch it near kids.


I own that film...it is brilliant! (one of the first DVDs I ever owned in fact) I was because of that movie that I had notice the game in bookstores etc.

I would be so cool to have game that follows the adventures of a documentary crew following a contract killer. Earning victory points when they refrain form getting involved the tension being if they don't their subject might get caught and they won't have a documentary to sell.

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Lindsay Thomas
United Kingdom
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denverarch wrote:
Knowledge of the obscure French Film with this title is what wooed my wife away from her old boyfriend.


You can't have that much knowledge. The film's from Belgium.


I, too, was disapointed when I read the review and found that the game wasn't based on the film.


"C'est arrivé près de chez vous."

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Peter Giles
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lindsayt wrote:
The film's from Belgium.


That's why its an OBSCURE French film
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Andrew C.
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Played this on a weekend away with the family - it was a gift one of my nephews received. There's a minimal amount of skill in putting a headline together - usually you can use your entire hand very easily after swapping a card or two out. So, the scoring depends entirely on the point values of the cards you get. They range from 0 to 50. Although there's a slight bias for the more difficult words to have higher point values, it's really not difficult at all to use the higher-values cards. There's some fun to be had with coming up with amusing headlines, but after you have gone through the deck a few times (ie, one or two games), all the headlines begin sounding the same. Humour depends on the unexpected, and when everyone knows all the cards the humour is eroded - even when the words are put together in combination. Best use of this game would be for primary school children who are beginning to learn rules of grammar and sentence structure.

Altogether I would rate this very low, as it's approaching the point of barely being able to be considered a game.
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Charles P. Scott
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I just got this game. Actually, I found it at a thrift store for $2. It was fun for an evening, but then that is it. I would like to see addon card backs to include more words. Maybe including some national disasters (earthquake, tornado, flood, etc), politics, weather, etc.
 
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