STAG Gamers - The friendliest group in Kent
This game contains a movement board with a swirling pattern of 32 movement spaces (the artwork is on a continued theme for the box, and is in the nature of cartoon sketches), six large voting masks, 6 mini masks, 12 risk tokens which can add movement bonuses, a card dispenser made of thin black plastic, and 440 cards. The artwork is passable, but the small mask movement tokens are of a good design, and do add something to the game.
Each player is dealt seven cards. Each card describes a characteristic that should be applied to a player, for example
'Cognac - Aristocratic, mature, has a velvet touch. Best company after dinner.'
Players must move around the board with the goal of reaching the centre spot, and then playing a descriptive card to match other players in the game (number dependant on players involved). The player to complete this first wins the game. Movement is achieved by voting with the majority over what card applies to what player, and this is where the game tends to fall down. The whole principal is this should be played with people to judge your first impression of them, but the game only really works when played with people whom you know well. There are various challenges to face - either the player whose turn it is plays a card, and then all players vote for who this best applies to, or you chose a player to vote with you, or all players select the card that they most feel applies to you.
Not all of the cards have flattering descriptions, and a few are more than a little nasty, so somebody most likely will be offended by the end of the game. As this is really only suitable as a party game, then this could end up spoiling the occasion. Also, the game rewards the player who knows the group the best.
Often you can have a hand that bears no relation to the group of players, and this then becomes a tedious game of 'guess who the majority will vote for' rather than who the card will specifically apply to.
The risk tokens allow you to gain more spaces if you are sure who a card will apply to, but you tend to find that these get played by all players at the same time when a sure thing comes up.
To win, opponents have to vote to agree with you, another major failing if you play with a competitive group as it is too easy to disagree to prolong the game. Also, often two players will be on the middle spot, and can actively prevent one another from winning. The game can also come down to one player having to vote for another player to win or lose (yet another source of confrontation in a party game).
There is the occasional laugh when a card fits a player well, but these tend to be few and far between. There is also the interest of seeing how others view you at the end of the game by reading off the cards that fellow players (or even you) have assigned to yourself, but most times we have found that these simply contradict.
OK, as you can probably guess, I don't really think much of this game. It should only be played by players who are not easily offended, and shouldn't be played with relatives (trust me on that one). The idea looks attractive, but the game fails to carry it off. The pieces are well made, and the colours are easily distinguishable. The voting masks are also quite attractive in a simple way, but this is really the only redeeming feature.
One space on the board indicates ‘Nearly There’ and you’ll be glad you are. Very few people will request this game a second time. Play apples to Apples instead.