Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crappy birthday to me, crappy birthday to me.... (a review and a giveaway!)

One-sentence review:  "Well, that was a helluva lot funnier than I expected..."

The full-length review:  One of my favourite party games is a lovely little trivia game called Wits & Wagers which manages to make random trivia fun by allowing a player to gamble and win without necessarily knowing the answers.  When North Star Games offered copies of their newest game, Crappy Birthday, I took a look at the rules and thought, "yeah, this one's not for me."  It beared a striking resemblance to Apples to Apples, another great party game that can sometimes end up remarkably boring when played with the wrong group of people.  But Luke of North Star described it to me as more of an "icebreaker" than most games and if taken lightly enough, it can be really funny (he must follow my blog and knew to warn me).

So with that in mind, we dove into this game over the past weekend with a group of friends of mine who didn't really know each other that well.  The rules are extraordinarily simple.  (In fact one might even argue that there is barely even a game here...)  Everyone has a hand of cards with images and descriptions of some really crappy gifts.  Each player takes a turn as the 'gift receiver' and gets a card face down from every other player.  The cards are mixed up and then revealed and the gift receiver picks the gift they think would be the worstest, awfulest, baddest present to ever, ever get.  The player who gave that gift gets a point, everyone draws a card, and the next player gets a turn getting a bunch of junk.  First player to give three of the stankiest gifts wins.  Pretty simple.

Embiggen to see some of the awful gifts
And I have to admit we had a rather awesome time playing it!  We discussed the reasons people wouldn't want things and we laughed at the hilarious photos on some of the cards.  As an icebreaker, it fit the bill perfectly and made for an excellent way to start the night out. Now a caveat:  this game is VERY casual.  If I hadn't been warned beforehand that it was more of an icebreaker, I might have found it a bit bland.  But if you go in with the right attitude and some witty friends, I gotta tell you it makes for quite an entertaining half-hour.  Kudos to North Star for finding yet another great way to bring people together.  Highly recommended.

The giveaway:  When North Star had first offered a review copy, I mentioned perhaps a giveaway to celebrate my 300th blog post and they were all for it.  Unfortunately, due to them being busy and me also being just busy that post came and went.  (This particular post is #318, methinks.)  HOWEVER, today may just happen to be my birthday and I tend to be rather miserable for most of my birthdays.  So what better reason to do a giveaway of their game, Crappy Birthday, then to celebrate my own crappy birthday.  If you're interested in a copy, shoot me an email at with your name and a description of the crappiest gift you ever received and I'll do a draw on Nov. 10th for a brand new copy of the game!  I'll probably post some of your crappy gifts, too, if I get some real winners!


  1. Cool!!! I'm going to have to think on that one! I'm sure I've gotten the odd crappy gift (candles or scented bath oils, but that's not very entertaining).

    Hmm... what did you get me last Christmas, again? :) Happy Birthday little bro, sorry I missed you on the phone! Hope it wasn't because you were too busy wallowing in your misery to pick up! :)

    Love, Laura

  2. Thanks for the review. I thought I shuld mention that we posted an official variant on the BoardGameGeek. We are thinking about changing the rules for the next print run. So if you try this version, be sure to give us feedback about how you like it:

    Crappy Happy Birthday Variant
    This variant was created by our graphic designer, Jacoby O'Connor. We like the variant so much that we are thinking about changing the rules for the next print run.

    How to Play
    Deal 5 Gift Cards to each player.

    1) When it is your turn, it is your birthday! Everybody gives you 2 face down Gift Cards from their hand.
    2) Turn them over one by one and read them out loud. Place the gifts that you like to the left, and the gifts that you dislike to the right.
    3) Pick the gift you dislike the most, AND the gift you like the most.
    4) The player(s) who gave you those gifts each get a point. (If your gift is chosen, place it face-up in front of you to keep track of your score)
    5) Draw back up to 5 Gift Cards. Play moves to the left.

    The first player to 5 points wins.

    Designer of Wits & Wagers
    Co-designer of Say Anything
    Publisher of Crappy Birthday