I was at a convention this weekend that has two major attractions. Tabletop gaming and booze.
This leads to a lot of late night gaming with drunk people. Because I don’t drink, I have the opportunity to observe the behaviors that make drunk gaming a great spectator sport.
Take, for instance, the game “Resistance.” Players are either member of the resistance or spies trying to thwart the resistance. Pretty much the entire game is spent fostering an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. By the end of the game, everyone is basically shouting HE’S A SPY DON’T PICK HIM! I’M NOT SPY! THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT A SPY WOULD SAY!
It’s a great game to play with people you already don’t like.
Drunk “resistance” is about the same except the game starts with everyone shouting HE’S A SPY DON’T PICK HIM! I’M NOT SPY! THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT A SPY WOULD SAY!
That takes place before anyone even knows if they are Resistance or a Spy.
Once you deal the cards that identify the spies, you immediately prepare to re-deal the cards because someone is going to say “Cool! I’ve always wanted to play a spy! Oops! I meant Resistance. I always wanted to play Resistance. I’m not a spy.”
After this happens a third time, someone says fuck it and leaves to get another beer. Someone else joins who has never played the game.
All eight players at the table loudly explain the game at the same time. It sounds something like this:
THE RULES ARE SUPER EASY. WE’RE ALL SPIES ON A MISSION TO RESISTANCE A VOTE! TEAM LEADERS DEAL CARDS TO THE SPIES AND THEN EVERYONE DOESN’T WANT ANYONE ELSE TO KNOW UNTIL THEY DEAL THEIR SUCCESS CARD FACE UP WHICH YOU CAN ONLY USE IF YOU ARE A SPY. THE SPIES KNOW WHO EACH GUN MISSION DECIDES WHICH CARDS BUT WHATEVER YOU DO REJECT THE MISSION. GOT IT?
New person drunkenly nods and the game begins again.
Eventually someone will say something like IF I PLAY THIS CARD WILL YOU BE ABLE TO TELL I’M A SPY?
Then everyone lets out a collective groan and they start over. With another new player.
I’ve never seen a game of drunk “Resistance” played all the way to the finish.
Another game that is frequently played drunk is “Cards Against Humanity.” The game is quite simple. The judge plays a card that says something like “Anal _________.” Other players lay down cards that have words they believe will fill in the blank. The judge picks their favorite and the player who laid down that card gets a point. Some number of points wins the game. Hilarity ensues. Especially when everyone is drunk.
Notice how easy the rules are to explain. Anyone can learn no matter how many Bloody Marys they have imbibed.
Thing is, when you are sober, “Anal cock fight” is mildly amusing. When you (and everyone else at the table) are drunk, it is hilarious!
By the time you read off “Anal jerking off to pictures of your naked sister,” someone is probably going to throw up all over the table because they are laughing so hard.
So be sure to pick up the cards immediately.
Another thing you can expect when drunk gaming is regular use of the phrase “I’m usually so much better at this game.”
And yes, when you play “Settlers of Catan” sober, you are probably a lot better at the game because you are smart enough to realize that you should never trade three stone for a single sheep. I mean come on. It’s just a sheep, man. It isn’t a defense contract.
What I noticed in drunk “Settlers of Catan” is the most important rule in the game is there must be two roads between settlements. Drunk players will recite that rule as if that one rule alone will win the game.
You’ll say “I’m looking for some wood, does anyone have wood?”
They will say “You need two ROADS between settlements.”
“I know,” you state, “I need wood so I can combine it with brick to build a road.”
It’s OK to tell the drunk players your strategy. They won’t remember.
They will look at you with a wavering gaze and say “you need TWO roads between settlements.”
“Got it,” you say,”but do you have any wood?”
“You need two roads between SETTLEMENTS.”
It’s almost zen. Sooner or later, you have to give up and steal just look at their hand at which point you will learn they never had any goddamned wood in the first place.
One game that seems to be perfect for drunk gaming is “Can’t Stop.” All you do in “Can’t Stop” is roll dice and move pegs up the game board until you decide that you have taken too many risks and it is time to stop. When you are drunk, you will never give up. You will try to win every time you get the dice and unless you get insanely lucky and win in a single turn, you will never move your pegs from the starting position.
This means a game that typically takes about twenty minutes can last for three hours or longer. My advice here: if you are going to play “Can’t Stop” drunk, make sure you invite a sober person. They’ll win but the game will eventually end.
These are just a few of the many experiences I’ve had with drunk gamers. I’d try to explain the rules for drunk “Dominion” but that is entirely dependent on the cards in play and it’s a little like Call of Cthulhu in that there is a decent chance you will literally go insane.
So remember, drinking and gaming does mix. As long as you only want to do one of them well.