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Variant Score-Keeping for Party Games (Untested)

I’ve been playing a little bit with an Apples to Apples-style party game—nothing worth announcing yet, just kicking some thoughts around. One of the things I’ve been wondering is about how we keep score in that style of game: generally by keeping the card we win. That’s pretty neat, because it creates a sense of trophy that highlights crucial social elements that make those games sing.

But what we that’s not what we did, or at least not all we did? What if we mixed together some Uno action, and have successful play reduce our hand size? That is, if you win the round you don’t draw up again, and whoever reaches one card first wins.

There’s a perception that happens in these games when someone has won several rounds that there’s a steamrolling effect, that said person is either holding a better hand in general or otherwise has some sense of advantage. Sometimes the game can get sour for that, so by reducing hand size, we create the illusion of leveling the playing field. And it creates a level-up effect of making the game slightly harder for those as they’re getting closer to winning, as flexibility is reduced.

The end point is at one card because if you continued playing until you had zero cards, while you have one card you’re not longer actually playing the game—you’re making no choices, just participating in ritual until my happenstance your card wins.

This variant can exist with the traditional trophy method, or at least doesn’t require abandoning the keeping of cards as trophies. Either that’s merely keeping to cool social elements that exist, or it’s a hack point where those cards can be used for something else in the game

I’m not sure how well this plays out yet, but I’m keen to try it next time I’m playing something Apples to Apples-like. If you try this, please let me know how it goes!

– Ryan

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3 Responses to Variant Score-Keeping for Party Games (Untested)

  1. Josh Roby says:

    You could even keep the trophy cards in your hand. That way everyone always draws back up to 5 (or whatever it is).

  2. JasonT says:

    Have you tried The Metagame? Played it last weekend for the first time, and at least one variant works this way. (And if an opponent makes a better case for her card, you have to draw more!)