Monday, September 30, 2013

TableTop: Cards Against Humanity

“The main reason I created #Tabletop was to make more gamers. I love it when I see families playing together.” @wilw, April 6, 2013

I’ve seen a lot of advertisements recently for board games. “Have family time with your kids! Play a board game!” they shout. It’s probably just Hasbro trying not to go broke, but it could be that in this world of handheld computers, with everyone paying attention to their smartphones instead of the smart people sitting with them on the couch, a family game night is a great way to reconnect with the people that you love to spend time with.
There are tons of games out there to play with your kids, your friends, or your extended family. Some are a huge production that take hours and hours to set up before you can play, and others need only the players to have a willingness to be silly. Sometimes just watching the game is as fun as playing it; if that sort of thing appeals to you, you’ll want to look into TableTop.
Dungeons & Dragons takes too much time to prep and doesn’t have enough monster-bashing? Try Munchkin, in which you can “Kill the Monsters, Steal the Treasure, Stab Your Buddy.” I’ve played both D&D and Munchkin, and enjoyed both. D&D often has more story and less stabbing, while Munchkin has less story and more stabbing, but they’re both in the same genre, and if you’re pressed for time, Munchkin is the way to go. (If you’d rather have both the story and the stabbing, there’s luckily a Munchkin pen & paper RPG made by Steve Jackson Games! I walked in on my regular gaming group playing it once and was astonished to find that they’d never played the card version. Needless to say, we remedied that immediately.)
My husband and I loved watching the TableTop episode that featured Say Anything. It reminded us of a game we play every holiday season with his family, especially the copious laughter and the Star Trek references. (The line, “I think the most confusing thing ever is magnets. Also: juggalos” made me laugh so hard that we had to pause the show and wait for me to stop rolling on the floor before we could finish watching the episode.)
If you’ve never heard of Apples to Apples, I would suggest you acquaint yourself. It’s completely simple and tons of fun. Green cards have words that the red cards can be used to describe, and each person takes a turn choosing which of the red cards everyone else handed in matches the green card the best. It’s fun to laugh at the different random, off the wall things that other players say, and my favorite Apples to Apples quote is from a game I played with my brother and several of our friends in 2005(ish): “Marriage is nothing compared to rust.” I can’t even remember who was judging or what the green card said, just that “marriage” lost out to “rust.” Apples to Apples is an innocent game that can become rather rude depending on your mood and the people you’re playing with.
Cards Against Humanity, however, starts out that way. A co-worker described it to me recently as “Apples to Apples for horrible people.” And that’s not far off from the motto on the CaH website. Cards Against Humanity is free, and last night some friends of mine and I decided to give it a try. Teaming up a Skype voice call with Vassal (“a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board games and card games,”) allowed us to play together, even though we were all in different places, trying to keep the volume of our laughter down so that we wouldn’t wake our kids.
I definitely stole this picture from wwdn.
There isn’t a Cards Against Humanity episode of TableTop, perhaps because it’s a show that a lot of people let their children watch, and it can get out of hand very quickly on the “not suitable for those under X” scales. But Wil Wheaton enjoys it, and if you meet him at a convention and bring along a blank card, he’ll make a custom one for you. He often posts pictures of the CaH combinations he’s seen or created on the various social networks he uses and on his blog.
If you’re a horrible person, I recommend Cards Against Humanity. If you’re not a horrible person and like to watch hilarious (and/or nerdy) people play games, I recommend TableTop. If you don’t like to watch or read about board games, then please disregard all of the above.

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