Card Night, Not Just For Poker Anymore

A night with friends is a unique experience when geeks are involved. They are rarely satisfied with a night that only involves a couple of beers and an Ace of Base CD providing the soundtrack. A geek infested party usually requires something a little more… stimulating. Be it a game of Rock Band or something more traditional like Risk, geeks like to keep busy when having fun and socializing. The only problem is that board games have all those little pieces, and video games are expensive! In this economy, you can’t always afford to buy a $300 video game system and then a $150 game bundle just so your friends can pretend to be rock stars. Fear not, friend of shallow pockets, here are a few card games that will make your shindig a hit without breaking your bank.

FluxxFluxx

Fluxx is a truly unique experience because it has the potential to be a new game each time you play. The game is designed that the rules change as you play cards, so you may play a rule card that changes how many cards can be in your hand, how many cards you draw, or even the objective to actually winning the game. Midway through the game, the overall goal could change and you have to adapt your game plan in order to win. On top of all that, the rules are debatable. If you have a strong argument, say the card’s use of grammar, you can make the rules suit your personal objectives.

The game also offers a large variety as far as content goes. On top of the traditional game, Fluxx offers multiple flavors in the form of variant sets. If saving your friends from the shambling undead is more your speed, try Zombie Fluxx. If you are in the mood for the absurd, you can collect holy hand grenades and avoid killer rabbits with Monty Python Fluxx. They even offer a more family friendly affair called Fluxx Jr. that is made specifically to offer something to all ages.

Munchkin Booty

Much like Fluxx, the Munchkin game series comes in a wide variety of flavors ranging from card games to miniatures. The Munchkin Booty card game offers up mischief on the high seas. Pirates, sharks and treasure all come together in this additively fun card game. You are the captain of a ship in search of treasure on the high seas, and there are monsters that aim to keep it from you. As you play, you acquire cards that define and equip your character. You might be handed a gun, a job, or even an accent. For example, you may pick up a French accent, which in turn makes you so charming it forces female players to assist you.

The game encourages creative thinking and deal making. If a creature is too powerful for you to fight alone, you can bribe another player to help you. Also, the rules are always negotiable. If there is a disagreement over the rules, you can bet the person that can argue the loudest will likely get their way.

Apples to Apples

If there is one thing that geeks and nerds love, it’s words. From crosswords to Boggle, games that involve words have been geeky favorites for years. Apples to Apples is quickly becoming a favorite among fans of word games. The concept behind Apples to Apples is quite simple. Each player has a hand full of red cards, each with a different noun. Players take turns being “The Judge”. Apples to ApplesThe judge randomly draws a card from the deck of green cards, which have adjectives on them. The players then play one of their red cards face down, attempting to “match” their noun to the adjective. The judge then picks the noun they like best, the player of the card then gets to claim the green card and the point for the round.

The game may seem easy at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that things are a little more complex than they appear. In order to win Apples to Apples you have to focus more on the judges than the cards. Each player has their own preference when it comes to picking a winner. Whether it’s being humorous, original or trying to make a proper match, you have to play the card you think will impress the judge. Not only do you have fun playing, but you get to know your friends a little better in the process.

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If you’re looking for something fun and intellectually stimulating to do with your friends, pick up a case of cider and one of these games. After a few minutes of playing, people will soon forget what an Xbox is, and you’ll be the hero of game night.

5 Comments

  1. Posted November 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Both Munchkin and Apples to Apples are among my favourite games to play. I also love in Apples to Apples, the highest prized cards are things like “Hitler” and “Woody Allen”. The help me/hurt me nature of Munchkin makes for some absolutely hilarious moments, too!

    Great article.

    • Carl WatkinsNo Gravatar
      Posted November 25, 2010 at 3:32 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the kind words brother.

      If you haven’t tried Fluxx yet you should check it out. It’s a lot of fun. The next thing I really want to try out is tile games like Catan. I think there’s something charming and fun about just busting out games like this at a party. You can have music going, have a drink and still be really social. I mean, Rockband is really fun, but there’s not really a whole lot of real interaction going on while you play.

  2. Posted November 24, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    Apples to Apples is the best!!!!

    • Carl WatkinsNo Gravatar
      Posted November 25, 2010 at 3:35 am | Permalink | Reply

      I know! It’s really nothing more than a middle school vocabulary game with adult words in it, but it’s still so much fun! I was watching an episode of Penny Arcade the show today and they were covering PAX; to my surprise, there were people sitting in line playing Apples to Apples. So much funny and I really don’t think it gets any nerdier.

  3. DanaNo Gravatar
    Posted November 25, 2010 at 4:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    I love card and board games. I wish I had a big enough social circle to justify buying more. The Munchkin game comes in a bunch of different varieties too–Munchkin Cthulhu: Call of Cowthulu looks awesome.

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