Megan and I just came back from a game trip to Labyrinth Games in Washington D.C. (more about that soon!) And now Megan is vibrating with game ideas of her own. She's always been more into party games than my gamer-type games. So, this was a fun little experiment. We came up with two games with a similar charades-like theme, with some elements of games like Cranium, Quelf, etc.
So here are the two games. Both are co-op party games that make players act silly, but with a touch of strategy in the choice of how you do so. The first game is inspired by that scene from Arrested Development where the each member of the Bluth family has their own very weird chicken impression. (The photo above is of some silly people doing the Bluth chicken dances.)
Bluth Family Chicken Dance Game
There is a deck of cards, each one with the subject of an impression. There is also a 30sec timer.
Everyone draws one card. If you don't like the card you drew, you may discard it into the game box and draw another one. you may continue doing this until you get a card you like.
When everyone has chosen a card place it face down. Everyone puts their card down in the center of the table and mixes them around, so no one knows who had which card.
Start the timer.
Everyone does an impression from their card at the same time until the timer runs out. While doing that impression you may move around, make noise, point at objects, or use props, but you may NOT say or write any words.
Each card is revealed one at a time and everyone gets one attempt to guess who was doing that impression.
If someone guesses correctly, put that card in the scoring pile. If someone guesses incorrectly, discard that card into the game box.
If you get twenty cards in the scoring pile before the deck runs out, you win!
What is this? I don't even...
There are three decks of cards: an adjective deck, a noun deck, and a verb deck. Each card lists two options for it's respective subject, an easy option and a hard option. (For example, the adjective card could list Happy as an easy option and Bright would be a hard option. The noun card could be model or bikini model. The verb card could be turning a wrench or repairing a sink.) There is also a 30sec timer.
Each player takes turns, starting from the youngest player.
On your turn, you draw one card from each pile. These cards combine to make statements like "I am an -allergic- -panda- -in a car chase.-" If you don't like a card, you can discard it into the game box and draw another. You may repeat this as often as you like.
When you're ready, keep your cards hidden and start the timer.
Do an impression of any combination of the words on your cards. You may do anything to make this impression, such as moving around, make noise, point at objects, use props, but you may NOT say any words.
When any player guesses one of the words on one of your cards correctly, you may place that card face up on the table.
When the timer runs out, see which cards are revealed and which are still hidden. Any cards that are still hidden get discarded. If someone guessed the easy word on one of your cards first, the card goes on the 1-pointer scoring pile. If someone guessed the hard word one of your cards first, the card goes on the 3-pointer scoring pile.
If the group gets 20 points in the scoring pile before any deck runs out, you win!
So clearly the 20 point victory condition is pretty arbitrary. That's not what we would tweak to moderate difficulty, though. In both these games, we'd just adjust the size of the main decks so players have less room to be picky about their cards. It's a fun little mechanic for those of us (like me) who are picky about our live performance, while still giving extroverted people (like Megan) the freedom to be very silly.