In this edition my friends and I play several great games including Mysterium, Say Anything, Snake Oil and our own creation, The Remains. As always these gaming sessions produce this article, which functions as a mini-review for multiple games. Enjoy!
Mysterium is a fully cooperative game where 1 player is a silent ghost and the other players are psychics attempting to communicate with said ghost. The ghost is prohibited from giving verbal hints and must instead communicate with the other players by use of Dixit-like cards. The cards are very abstract and guiding each psychic to their designated cards (suspect,location, and possible murder weapon) can be difficult. Just like in Dixit, the better the ghost player knows the psychics the easier this vague form of communication will be.
Sergio, Nicolle, Jordan, Laura, a new member to the game group, and myself cracked a brand new copy of the game open and gave Mysterium a whirl. As the owner of the game and the only person who had read the rules I played the ghost and attempted to guide the other players through the different stages of the game as the psychics tried to uncover the details of my mysterious murder.
I did my best to silently give clues via the cards and Sergio, whom I have spent a lot of time with, bee lined through the stages, correctly identifying his assigned suspect, location and weapon/item on the first tries for each category. The other players were able to identify their hidden cards behind the ghost’s screen as well with varying speeds. The players reached the final stage of the game where there is a shared vision before the allotted number of rounds passed. During the shared vision I selected 3 cards (from a not very good hand) and presented them to the others, but unfortunately they had not earned enough Clairvoyance points (a whole other aspect of the game we won’t get into here) to look at all 3 cards.
Outcome – We made it right up to the end before losing. With only 2 of the 3 cards available to the psychics they guessed incorrectly and my soul was left to wander the earth.
While I had seen Say Anything played before I had never got the timing down right to join in before. At The Jester’s Court I joined my friends in playing Say Anything, a game where the players write something funny or poignant to get chosen as the winner by the active player. The active player chooses from questions on a card and reads one aloud. Some examples of these questions (paraphrased) are “Who would make the worst superhero?” or “If I ruled my own kingdom what would be the first law I would pass?”.
The other players, armed with their dry erase boards write down their answers and the active player chooses a winner. But that’s not it; before a winner is chosen all players besides the active player get to use their two betting tokens to pick whose answer they think the active player will like most. In our experience the answer that elicited the most laughter from the group (and there was plenty of laughter) was a pretty safe bet. Players score points both by having their written response chosen by the active and by betting correctly on the choice.
Outcome – I came close to winning but fell just short. That was hardly the point though, and everyone at the table had a fantastic time. And while the answers descended quickly into an R-rated realm, only one inappropriate picture was drawn! I was very proud of us. Well… maybe only 2 or 3 inappropriate pictures…
On paper I wasn’t too impressed with Snake Oil, but I was quite pleasantly surprised with the game once I played it, once again at The Jester’s Court. In Snake Oil, much like in Say Anything, 1 player is the active player. Unlike in Say Anything, however, the active player draws a card and picks 1 of 2 roles, perhaps a vampire, a priest, a spy or a tree hugger. The other players choose 2 cards from their hand of 7 and pitch the active player a ridiculous item using a combination of the 2 words combined by their cards. For example I tried to sell a vampire a “soap bridge”, a dental implant that will sanitize the neck of their victim.
My aforementioned “soap bridge” won the approval of the active “vampire” player, and my “stool patch” convinced the tree hugger to buy my product that assists them in staying chained to trees for longer periods of time without having to… anyway… The players act like competing salesmen, pitching their idea and downing the others’, all the while trying to convince the active player to choose their ridiculous item. Another similarity to Say Anything – Snake Oil generates a ton of laughter.
Outcome – I came into the game late and of course, didn’t win. Again though, this is one of those games where you really don’t care if you win or not. I truly enjoy games like that.
The Remains is a deck building game created by yours truly and my excellent friend, Sergio. Many hours have been spent discussing rules, playtesting ideas and tweaking the design over the course of this year. The game has been performing great and we are incredibly proud of it! We will be slowly releasing more information here on FDR as we get completed artwork; the artwork currently in the game is just prototype art. If you’re interested in reading about how you can help with the artwork and potential be in the game yourself, click here.