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How card games became cool again

Wildly-popular card game Android: Netrunner has an exceptionally diverse and inviting lore and universe, but its community of players still has to push back against the social stereotypes of the traditional card game scene. Here's how they're doing it. Read the rest

This hilarious topical guessing game is ten bucks and fits in your pocket

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I really like party card games that are not sniggering, low-hanging Cards Against Humanity type things. If you, too, like to use cards to create spontaneous fun conversation and arguments among your friends, we've recommended The Metagame to you in the past, and now we've a new occasion to recommend you check out Monikers, too.

Monikers, as you can grok from this video, is a guessing game that organially creates its own hilarious internal language as you play multiple rounds with friends. You need to get your teammates to guess the name on each of your cards, and as the rounds progress, you have increasing restrictions on how to describe the same thing. The result is often a memorable series of ridiculous gestures you can add to your social vocabulary, and who doesn't want that?

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The original Monikers has been out for a bit now and has been "inexplicably sort of a small hit", according to its creators, who are now making a new expansion called Monikers: Shmonikers—which either enhances the original deck or can exist as an attainable $10 standalone you can currently get via Kickstarter.

Because I am a big fan, I agreed to volunteer a name of a thing for a card in the expansion. I have not decided what thing to name yet. Please hit the big DISCUSS button if you want to leave me some suggestions.

Can you please stop with Cards Against Humanity

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If you like card games and board games even a little bit, chances are you know Cards Against Humanity—it's the most popular 'thing' of its kind, having earned like $12 million bucks. Which sucks, because it's awful.

Read the rest

Debate your friends on culture with this new card game

Which lulls you into complacency: Leg warmers, or the font Helvetica? What's better proof of the way absolute power corrupts: The great Pacific garbage patch, or Labradoodles? Is brunch fraying our moral fabric?

The Metagame is a clever, colorful set of tools that let you pose interesting questions to friends, and debate the relative merit of a weird, wild array of issues. Designed by Eric Zimmerman, Colleen Macklin and John Sharp, a set of cards that began as a game convention knowledge-sharing device is now for everyone.

The versatile Metagame cards include rules for six separate games -- some designed for subjective conversation, others for strategic competition. I like the idea that card games can create social intimacy, like in Games by Play Date's Slash, where you try to outdo your friends' fanfic pairings.

Plenty of people I know play Cards against Humanity -- I'm easily put off by its lazy "omg a rude word" guffawing and internet memes, but appreciate that The Metagame looks poised to offer fresher, more stimulating comparison chat.

You can play The Metagame with a pair or a party. It's $25 on Amazon.

Casino sues poker star for using "marked" deck

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The Borgata Hotel Casino & Space is suing World Series of Poker star Phil Ivey for nearly $10 million for using what they claim are "imperfect" playing cards that gave Ivey a leg up. Borgata is also going after Gemaco, Inc., makers of the playing cards. From NorthJersey.com:

The suit alleges that the some of the cards made by Gemaco turned out to not have a perfectly symmetrical design on the back of the card. Ivey, the suit claims, was able to figure out what the first card to be dealt was – giving him a significant advantage over the “house,” or casino.

Ivey contacted Borgata officials in April 2012 and sought to play mini-baccarat for up to $50,000 a hand on the $1 million he would wire to the casino, according to the suit. Given Ivey’s high-roller status, the casino agreed to his request that he would be given a private area in which to play as well as provided with a card dealer who spoke Mandarin Chinese. The casino also agreed to let Ivey bring a guest to the table as well, to provide one purple deck of Gemaco playing cards for use, and for an automatic card shuffling device to be used.

According to the suit, “The pretext given for some of these requests was that Ivey was superstitious."

"Famed poker star Phil Ivey sued by Borgata for almost $10 million over alleged playing card scam" (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)

Anomia - a fun way to freak out your kid


Carla and I freaked out our 9-year-old daughter Jane when we sat down to play Anomia the other night. That's because we were laughing hysterically. "I've never seen you guys like this before," she said, her eyes wide.

The reason we were laughing was because of the ridiculous answers we were blurting out during Anomia's "face-offs." A face-off occurs when one of the cards you draw from the deck has a symbol that matches the symbol on another player's upturned card. When that happens, you have to shout out an example of the category listed on the opponent's card. Example categories: comic book character, department store, fast food restaurant, occupation, European country, plumber's tool, zoo animal, mobster. If you call out a correct example before the other player, you score a point.

The definition of anomia is "a problem with word finding or recall," and, as you might guess, trying to think of a word when you are under pressure isn't easy. Often, we will say words that have nothing to do with the categories, because our brains have short-circuited. Players tend to scream the answers, which adds to the merriment. The game gets really fun when one or more "cascade" rounds follow a face-off.

Anomia's rules are simple, and we were playing like champs five minutes after tearing the shrink wrap off the box. The instructions say that a round lasts about 30 minutes, but when we play, our rounds last only 15 minutes, so we usually play two rounds. We also observe the optional "no repeat" rule (which means you can't repeat any answer that has already been used).

I'm looking forward to playing this with a larger group.

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