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A Question of Scruples» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Reasonable Review? Yes, No or Depends? rss

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Nick Reed
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High Level


(Picture courtesy of BGG user "Geese")

A game that poses a series of mock "real life event" questions to determine the player's "scruples", with the players trying to predict what answers will be given.

Contents


(Picture courtesy of BGG user "belial1134")

The contents of the box are pretty easy to summarise:

* A couple of hundred dilemma cards, each with a situation and query about a player's possible reaction to it
* A collection of answer cards, each having "YES", "NO" or "DEPENDS" printed on it
* 10 voting cards (with a halo on one side and a pitchfork on the other)

Gameplay


(Picture courtesy of BGG user "EndersGame")

Each player starts the game with a number of answer cards - these are kept private. In addition each player is given one question card (also private). Play progresses from one player to the next, and each turn the current player selects one of his answer cards and one of the other players. To this target player, their question card is then posed. If the target player's response (of "Yes", "No" or "Depends") matches the answer they predicted they get to discard their answer card - if they predicted incorrectly, another answer card must be drawn to replace it. Players continue to draw new questions and turns cycle between them until one player has got rid of all their answer cards, at which point they're the winner.

To really win the game, you have to be able to outguess your opponents and know enough about them to predict what answers they may give to the hypothetical questions posed. Only having one question card available to you at any time obviously limits your chances of being able to apply suitable questions to relevant people. Add to this the fact that you have less and less 'answer guess' cards available to you as the game progresses, sometimes your options are very limited indeed.

Also add to the above the fact that the other player's will be trying to work out what answers you're expecting from them, and might try to tailor their responses appropriately.

An optional rule is available to counter the above - at any point, if a player doesn't believe the answerer's response, they can 'challenge'. This then initiates a voting situation where, depending on whether the majority of players believe or disbelieve the answerer, cards can end up being traded between the challenger and answering player.

Summary


(Picture courtesy of BGG user "Hobbespm")

Now, I first saw this game when I was a kid. We played a handful of games of it and... it was kinda interesting. It didn't really have the staying power in our family to hold its own against the other board-gaming staples that would be brought out now and then, but I thought it was an interesting game that was different from standard boardgames. I think my sister and I went through all the question cards at various points, chatting about them (outside of actually playing by the game's rules), so we did kinda wear the game's contents out, but admittedly in a manner that provoked some thought.

Having got older, the game's been raked out on the odd occasion amongst more adult company, and whilst I'll admit that the game probably wasn't completed according to its rules in each situation, it did provoke some revealing discussions and more than the odd round of laughter and interest amongst the players.

Contrast this however with the general feeling I tend to get whenever I hear the game discussed here on BGG though! Every other comment I've read in reference to the game here seems to indicate it's driven a stake into the middle of a family, split up couples, caused rows and month-long silences between players, and generally been nothing but the devil's own spawned boardgame. And I really can't work out why! I mean, seriously - I can only assume that in all these situations something had been boiling under the surface for all this time, and the one event of this game's play must have pricked the surface and the resultant verbal outspewing and outrage must have branded the game's name into the player's mind for all eternity. I can't see anything in this game that you wouldn't get from watching the news, or reading a magazine, and asking someone their opinion based on a minor point that's been brought up.

"OMG - someone expressed a sentiment that isn't 100% moral - let me, who is clearly without any such ambiguous stains on my character, launch into a tirade in response to it!!1!"
I mean, seriously - WHAT!?!

Now, there is a justified point that some of the cards are deliberately phrased in an antagonistic manner. See here for example:

"You don't have seatbelts for all the toddlers you're driving to a puppet show. Do you leave your own children without belts?"

(Like the age old loaded question: "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?") Every answer you could give on this has potential for moral indignation:

NO: OMG! You'd risk someone else's CHILD!?!?
YES: OMG! You'd risk your own child!?!?
DEPENDS: OMG! You're so uncaring and flippant about people's children!?!?

But again, seriously - it's blatantly obvious the question is written this way to provoke discussion (note the word "discussion", not "shrieking match"). If every card was of the level "Would you murder people?", there would be no game here. Every question has to have a modicum of likeliness on both sides of the argument or it surely doesn't have a place in the box. However, from what I can gather, people simply don't get this. Even young, I could see this clearly about the questions, so it really does puzzle me how an adult can fail to see it.

In final summary, if you're the kind of person who'll go ultrasonic and burst into flames if someone answers incorrectly to "Would you like pork chops for dinner?", this game probably isn't for you. However, if you're a rational human being, you could probably do worse than play this game at least once with those around you - at the very least, you might get to know them better; at the very worst, you might be able to predict who to early-purchase the "Sorry to hear you've been admitted to the psycho ward" Hallmark's card for.



Now, dare I hit the Submit button, knowing how much people will disagree with this review...... YES
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Pete Belli
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Thumbed for the title...

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Wendell
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Played it once, with people who know me very well. HATED it, because no matter what I answered they voted I was not telling the truth, even when it was painfully obvious that I was.
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Nick Reed
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wifwendell wrote:
Played it once, with people who know me very well. HATED it, because no matter what I answered they voted I was not telling the truth, even when it was painfully obvious that I was.

It does state that the rule is optional. You do lose an element of the game by dropping it, obviously, but it could help remove some of this cause of annoyance? Just a thought.
 
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Mark Beyak
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The rule is optional, sure. But with the way it is written some people can be playing with it and others not. Even if you introduce the idea people will play with that strategy and if even one person does the game sucks.

Do you want my copy?
 
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Mark Beyak
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Oh! Thanks for the review Nick. It was very well written.thumbsup
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