I’ll be downright honest here and let you in on a little secret: Before I got The Game Of Things for Christmas I had never heard of it before. Does that make me a bad person? Probably not. What it did manage to do is make me feel kind of stupid since there’s a pretty decent game here for parties with the right group of people. Let’s get into this review then.
Playing With Things
So how do you play this game? It’s actually rather simple. You’ll need at least four players (though I can see it working with a few as three, but honestly you want half a dozen or more, preferably). Everyone gets a slip of paper and someone reads a card that contains a thing, such as “Things you wouldn’t want to do in a cemetery” or “Things that annoy you.”
The players then scribble their response and pass them to the reader who in turn waits for all the slips to come in before reading them aloud, saying that the responses for “Things not to do in a hospital” are “Smoke,” “Hold up,” “Have an operation,” or “Look for dates.” It doesn’t matter the answer or how true it is because the next part is where the actual game comes into play.
The person to the left of the reader is the first to guess. They may say that “Chris said ‘Look for dates’ in a hospital,” and the reader would either confirm or deny this. If the person was right, they get a point and get to go again. However, Chris (that’d be me for this example) is out for the rest of that turn since he made it too simple for people to guess his answer. Play continues until all the slips are guessed, though you aren’t allowed to guess the reader’s answer since they don’t get a chance to get points in that round anyway. And basically that’s the game. Copy/paste, lather-rinse-repeat.
It’s a Party Game for a Reason
This is where I’m saying that more people are better. If you have a group of four playing, one person is automatically excluded from getting points that round since they are the reader. The person to their left has all the advantages in the world as long as they know the rest of the players really well. But even if they do, they can only get a total of two points that round since they can’t guess the reader’s response and it’d be counter-productive to guess their own. I played with a group of five people and the final score after ten rounds was ten to nine to eight to six to one. I…I had the one point for the following reason: I played the game like Scattergories and that’s a mistake.
See, you don’t want to play this one like you would a lot of creative games where the most creative answers are the best. That actually works against you since you’ll give yourself away every time as it becomes pretty obvious who among your group is most likely to think of hilarious responses and who is most likely to be your father and trick everyone into believing down and out lies. Yeah, he won the game, but only because he cheated like every game he ever plays (except TrueQuest, because you can’t lie about history).
What you want to do is play things very conservatively, assuming you’re the only usual goofball in your group. If you have a whole band of off-the-wallers then you’re fine to make up the most random responses you can think of, but otherwise you’ll have to hold yourself back to vanilla answers to questions like “Things not to do while driving,” a question that could be something so awesome as “Juggle penguins” but should probably be “Put on make-up.” See? Boring. But that’s the trade-off you make when you want to win.
Overall The Game of Things is a good game. You’ll find a lot of fun in this wooden box, but to play it right you either have to have a whole group of rowdy creative types or a group of people that don’t exactly think outside the box.
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing having a non-out-of-the-boxers group, I’m just saying it’s required to play The Game of Things and not instantly lose because you’re the one person throwing waterfowl into every response you can.