Jeff's World of Game Design

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Another week, another party game

Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
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What has gotten into me? No idea. This one emerged from a Twitter discussion with Seth.

Here's the idea: through some means, a funny nonsensical phrase is assembled on the center of the table: maybe via a Mad Lib, or those magnetic poetry words, or letters rearranged via anagram, whatever.

Then, the players have cards describing different kinds of performance: a hellfire and brimstone sermon, a country song, a motivational speech. You play a card and then must perform in the indicated style a work whose title is the funny phrase.

Here's how I think it works. Each round, there's a judge. After the phrase is constructed (maybe the judge exclusively constructs it, or conversely has /no/ involvement in constructing it), the judge flops out three cards, each with a type of performance.

The judge then places 3, 2, and 1 cube, each on one of the three cards. Then, the players simultaneously select card 1, 2, or 3.

When your turn comes up, you reveal which card you chose, and perform your work in that style. So if Beat Poem was card 2 and you chose 2, you have to now perform a beat poem whose title is "Cauliflower is the enemy of youth" or whatever the silly phrase happened to have been.

After everyone has gone, the judge awards the cubes from each card to the best performance of each type. And probably, has a couple of "style points" to award for best overall performance too.

Yes, if you are the only one to pick "Beat Poem", you get the points for it no matter what. But you still have to deliver the performance, and that's the fun part. But the scoring gives the judge a bit of flexibility in deciding what he/she deems to be worthy of points; is it "hardest is worth the most", or "most likely to be ridiculous"? He/she can tailor the selection based on the cards that flop out and how they connect with the silly phrase.

This is heavily, heavily tilted toward those who are improvisationally minded and capable of being funny in a variety of ways spontaneously. It is most definitely not a game for everyone. Heck, I'm not inclined to games of this sort ordinarily, being a rather unfunny sort myself. But in the right group it could perhaps be fun to play. Perhaps.
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