I like a good game night as much as the next guy. More than the next guy actually, as I’m a grown man who spends at least 10% of his waking hours playing Catchphrase. But there’s a few things every game night needs: booze (obviously), snacks you would never eat otherwise (I’m looking at you, pizza-flavored Combos), and good games. “But,” you ask, “how can there be such a thing as a bad game? They’re all delightful! That’s like saying there’s bad candy, and we all know that isn’t true.” Actually, it is true. There is bad candy. They’re called Tropical Starbust, and they taste like spring break mixed with a garbage can. Also, there is most certainly bad games. We’ve all played them. At a game night you wish would end, or a fun family gathering which you also wish would end–albeit much, much sooner. Here is a list. Avoid these at all costs.
Why does there have to be clay? Every game of Cranium is fine and dandy until some jackass picks up a clay card, then everything goes right to hell. For those of you who’ve never played, basically you have to mold a mound of Playdough into a specific shape that your teammates will then guess. That’s if your dough hasn’t been lost long ago (mercifully, it usually has), or dried into a little brick of futility that can’t be shaped into anything guessable. Unless the clues are “Annoying” or “Waste of a Perfectly Good Friday Night.” But here’s the real issue: when’s the last time you tried to mold anything out of Playdough? It’s hard. Like…I don’t know how Michelangelo did this for a living hard. If the card says “snake,” awesome. You’re made in the shade. Ditto for worm, line, stick, or penis that basically looks like a stick. But the cards never say that. They say crazy nonsense like “Television” or “Marilyn Monroe.” The last clay clue I got was “Park Bench,” and after one minute of really detailed artistry, I ended up with a sculpture that looked kind of like a dog, but more like a really sick baby. No one, incidentally, mentioned the words “park” or “bench.” Which is why Cranium can go suck an egg.
Whoever builds hotels on the oranges first wins. Always. It might as well be in the rulebook. Also, sooner or later the banker’s going to get bored and start sneaking money out of the kitty and into his own pile. Presuming the banker is me. (Spoiler alert: The banker is always me.)
Apples to Apples
I would explain this game, but honestly it’s too complicated. And irritating. Basically it involves sitting with your parents and trying to predict how they’ll answer a random question as they throw down cards that say “Aardvark” or “Niagara Falls” or “Adolf Hitler.” Not sold yet? Well, you win by guessing their arbitrarily selected answer in advance, which is effectively impossible, unless you know they’ve got a real thing for Adolf Hitler. How do you like them apples? I hate them, Matt Damon. They’re terrible terrible apples. (Same goes for Cards Against Humanity, which is like A to A, except with naughtier questions. Oy to the vey.)
Spin The Bottle
Imagine this: someone walks up to you in a bar and says “See that person over there? Yeah, the random chick in the shirt. Go kiss her. Yes, now. Go over and french her mouth. While everyone’s looking. Why? Because a bottle said so.” You’d have that person arrested, right? Well why is it OK when you’ve manually spun a bottle? Why are we giving an empty Corona so much power over our lives?! Actually, spin the bottle has its moments. I mean, it’s hard to be against random makeouts. But there always comes the moment when two guys are supposed to kiss, which is usually accepted as gross and unnecessary, whereas two women are expected to kiss constantly during the game, and that just seems like the airing of too much ugly sexual hypocrisy for a Saturday night.
Love the game, hate the buzzer.
Oh just have sex with each other already.
Two words. Sounds like…I’m leaving.
That’s my list of the worst games ever. What’s on yours?