The Short Bus to Hell


Mad Libs for Sociopaths

I spent a night last week hanging with some truly shady characters. Spies. Betrayers even. Well, except the kids with ass cancer. They weren’t all that bad.

As you might have guessed, the evening started out with a round of Cards Against Humanity. If you’ve never played, the title pretty well sums it up. This is Mad Libs for sociopaths. You’re given a hand of cards with some of the most horrible, foul, racist, misogynistic, disgusting phrases you can imagine and you use these to complete a sentence or set of sentences. The person at the front of the short bus to Hell, the one who can make the most horrible combination, wins.

Cards Against Humanity is a good/disturbing party game which you can’t really win or lose. It’s also a fun game to play in public (and should have a disclaimer for any violence that happens to you as a result of this.) If you have seriously twisted friends with equally twisted senses of humor, check it out.

After debasing ourselves to the crudest level possible, we were warmed up to bluff and cheat our way to victory. Resistance follows along with conspiracy style games such as Werewolf and Mafia in which you have an undisclosed number of “spies” playing against the goals of the rest of the table.

By the second mission, I had two of the spies pegged. In part, I’ve just played too many games with some of these guys and they’re really damn easy to read. The third spy at our table of seven was a bit harder to figure out. I had it narrowed down to two possible players but we’d not turned down enough missions to get a good feel for exactly who it might be. In the end, the spies tanked the game, joining the winner of CaH on that bus.

Next, as previously promised, I gave Dead of Winter another go.

There are so many things I want to like about this game. I enjoy BattleStar Galactica and this has a very similar style of play along with great thematic elements. The “betrayer” element is random and not always guaranteed, but this time we did have an evil-doer in our midsts, so I finally got to see how that would affect game play.

Answer: Not that much.

While the betrayer element did lead to a very interesting table event where we finally got to exile someone from our colony of survivors, it was quickly ruined by the die of instant death.

Things were shaping up to be really interesting – we were barely scraping by, the betrayer was revealed and suddenly we have a tense race to the finish. But the betrayer decided to make the fatal mistake of MOVING. And died. This led to the betrayer no longer being positioned to win in a “these game mechanics are fun” sort of way, so the betrayer simply slapped his new character down on a spot that forced a loss for everyone.

Look, I realize the chances of this insta-death thing happening are one in twelve. You roll a 12-sider and if that one particular side shows, you’re dead. True, you can use gasoline to avoid having to roll the die-of-death for simply moving around the board. However, in every game I’ve played, there has been a rash of fuel crises that completely depletes everyone’s supply.

Would I play again? Sure. I’m not that guy that refuses to play a game if others want to. For instance, I’ve subjected myself to an untold number of rounds of Dixit, but so far Dead of Winter hasn’t found it’s way onto my favorites list.

If I were to name a winner of the night, I’d call it for Cards Against Humanity. At least when the “Kids with ass cancer I came back with from Mexico” lost horribly to the “Smithsonian’s new interactive display on child abuse”, I was still having fun in an I-need-to-go-to-confession sorta way. (Sometimes, that’s the best kind of fun.)

Categories: Geekery

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