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Subject: Review: Such a Thing? rss

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Greg Schloesser
United States
Jefferson City
TN
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Design by: Urs Hostettler
Published by: Valley Games
2 - 10 Players, 30 minutes
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser


I've always been a big fan of party games. I've spent countless evenings with friends playing untold numbers of party-style games, most of which are designed to elicit laughter and good conversation. While I have the reputation of being a staunch "European-style" gamer, I'm still eager to play a fun party game.

Such A Thing? by designer Urs Hostettler challenges players to think of something that fits a number of different specifications and descriptions. Each player continues to add to the description until one player is challenged to "name such a thing", at which point they will be put to the test.

Players each receive nine cards. Each card will list a statement, such as "Is needed for me to indulge in my hobby" or "Hardly ever leaves the area where it was built or created." A card is revealed from the deck, and play begins. The start player plays a card to the table and thinks of something that fits the specifications of the card. In turn order, players can either add card to the set or challenge the previous player to name "such a thing." If challenged, the last player to play a card must name something that meets the specifications of all of the cards played.

If the player successfully names an item that meets all of the specifications, the challenger must draw three cards from the deck. The existing cards are discarded and a new round is conducted. If the player is unsuccessful in naming an item that meets all of the specifications, he must draw three cards, and new round begins. Play continues until one player successfully depletes his hand of cards, thereby winning the game. Thus, being forced to draw cards is an impediment to this goal.

What I have just described is "The Chain" version. The rules contain a half dozen other variations, each with their own twist. The main mechanism, however, remains the same.

Party games are supposed to be lively. Such a Thing? is no such thing. It is much more contemplative, as players study their cards and the cards that have been played to the table, attempting to think of an item that will meet the specifications. This can take time -- a lot of time -- and it is time where nothing else happens and no one else is involved. The result is constant periods of dullness. Dull and party are not a good match.

Another problem is that when a player names an item he feels meets all of the specifications, there is little excitement or incredulity. There is no "Wow!" factor. The game simply continues. Often, there is dissent amongst the players as to whether the item actually does meet the specifications, which requires some discussion and a vote. Again, however, this fails to generate any excitement.

There is a version in the rules known as "Speed" that does somewhat eliminate this downtime. Three cards are revealed, and the first player to successfully name an item that satisfies all of the specifications receives a point. Play continues until one player accumulates seven points. This version is certainly more fast-paced, but it is also frustrating for the folks who aren't as quick-thinking.

My biggest complaint against the game is that it simply isn't fun. There is no excitement, no laughter, and very little interaction. It fails as a party game at its very foundation. Party games are supposed to be fun. Such a Thing? is no such thing.
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Eugene
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I'm inclined to agree. Our group didn't even finish our sole game, deciding to call it quits after just two cycles round the table. As you say, going through a handful of cards and mulling over each one is not a swift process. In fact, it's dreadfully slow. Using the supplied timer would result in just taking the 3-card penalty for playing nothing. Given that, we couldn't foresee anyone ever being able to shed all their cards. We would be trapped forever!
 
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Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
Belgium
Michelbeke
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There are 7 ways to play the game, some of them are much faster, maybe you should check them out? I've had quite some fun with them!
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Mike
United States
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I've read a few reviews about this game and all have said that the game is dull and that it is filled with periods where people are taking too long to come up with an answer.

We were able to play the game swiftly and it was filled with lots of laughs. Part of the fun is putting the pressure on people to come up with 'such a thing'. If you are letting people take longer than 60 seconds you're playing it wrong. Plus calling someone out on an item and watching them desparately try to sell you on it can be hilarious.

It's not the absolute best party game I've ever played, but it's far from dull. It certainly helps matters if one of the people you play with is a "joker" and comes up with funny things as answers... I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys party games.

~ Bones
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