Man, I’m sitting here listening to The Stranglers, one of the UK’s greatest ever bands. It’s got me in the mood for a review of something a bit different. Something that isn’t FANTASY and FIGHTS and SWORDS and STUFF. A party game. Yeah! Hey - I’d love to play a board game with The Stranglers. I bet if you could get Hugh and JJ to sit down together for a while, you could have a pretty vicious game of Cosmic Encounter.
ROB DELANEY’S WAR OF WORDS
Rob Delaney is an American comedian who is often voted the funniest man on Twitter. If you use Twitter, you probably already follow him. If you don’t, you really should. He’s a funny guy, and he has a really nice beard sometimes, and a really sexy belly almost all the time.
The first I heard that Rob Delaney was bringing out a board game was when Rob Delaney contacted me and said that Rob Delaney (and this guy WAS Rob Delaney) was bringing out a board game. I was only too happy to take a look at it, to let him know if his foray into MY turf was a disastrous fuck-up. I’m glad to say that it isn’t. The big son of a bitch has landed on his feet again.
War of Words is a party game, and is probably best played drunk for maximum offensiveness. The game has players moving round a board, drawing cards when instructed. There are three different “challenges” in the game.
THIS MEANS WAR: On these spaces, you and another player of your choice draw a card and read out one of Rob Delaney’s tweets. The other players vote for their favourite. RIGHT. WAIT. STOP. I know what you’re thinking. Sounds terrible, right? Fortunately, Rob’s tweets are funny. They’re essentially one-liners. So this challenge is all about delivering a gag. It’s definitely the weakest part of the game, though. Some gags are just better than others, and delivery doesn’t change that too much. Anyway, whoever gets voted as favourite advances on the board.
FIRING BLANKS: Here’s the strongest part of the game. Here, a player will read out one of Rob’s tweets, but will omit one part of the tweet – saying BLANK instead. So, like this – “Some women find the word “vagina” cold and clinical. Score some “gentleman points” by referring to it as a – BLANK” Every other player writes down something to replace the BLANK. All the answers are shuffled and read aloud. The main player chooses his favourite, and tries to guess who wrote which answer. For every guess he gets write, he advances a space. And the favourite answer gets to advance two spaces. (Rob’s missing words were “groin swamp”, by the way.)
LOADED QUESTIONS: Similar to the previous type of challenge, these have players constructing their own funny lines. A player reads out a Delaney tweet – “Pretty cool to think that in the future we won’t have to wear pants anymore because we’re dead” and then asks a question related to that tweet – “What aspect of the future are you looking forward to?” Again, the other players just write down answers, a favourite is voted for, and the player tries to guess who wrote what.
And that’s pretty much the game. It plays in about an hour – one trip around the board and it’s over. But man – let me tell you something. If you have the right group? This game is absolutely hilarious. I think it’s because Rob’s tweets set the tone for the thing. I’ve seen players not able to even read out the answers for laughing so much. I love games that let you be funny with your friends.
““Will my wife get mad if I have an affair but call it something cute like a “penis vacation”? – What could you say to calm your spouse’s anger if he/she caught you having an affair?”
As someone who makes my living as a comedy writer, I just heartily approve of a game that structures things like that example above. It gives you a gag, and then challenges you to do better or spin it off in a new direction. It’s pretty much just asking you to write a gag. It’s something I recognise from my work, and it’s great to see a sense of “Here’s what we do in a writer’s room” coming into people’s living rooms. Any game that invites some creativity is great by me.
Also, it’s pretty interesting to watch people try to guess who made which joke. You might find that the most vile, funny answers are coming from the most “decent” person in your gaming group. It works as a nice ice-breaker that way, and can be a bit of an eye-opener. “Hey, I didn’t know YOU were racist too!” (That in itself is a joke. I don’t play games with racists. I play games BY racists though, as we see here. (That too was a joke.))
One more thing. This is a game for over-18s only. Rob’s tweets make sure of that. And the players’ answers will only be MORE adult. (I wouldn't even dare show you a photo of our answer sheets from our last game. It is a horrible example of the depravity of the human mind.)
So yeah – this is a fun party game for drunk adults. And if you have funny friends this will guarantee a wickedly vile board gaming session. Has it got a lot of longevity? No. Is it for everyone? No. But if you think you have a group who would enjoy trying to out-shock and out-joke each other, War of Words is a nice thing to have on the shelf.
I’m not sure this is available in the UK at the moment, but it’s easy enough to find in the States, I think. Someone might correct me on that.
NEXT WEEK – I’ll be looking at something new and REALLY beautiful , and checking out the current state of Super Dungeon Explore. See you then!