Sunday, March 9, 2008


The Giggling One and I made our second trip to the HoGS games night, and played another four new games.

For one reason or another we both came away a little disappointed from the evening. We didn't have quite as much fun as last time. Perhaps it was because there were too many people there, or we didn't get enough time at some of the games.

Like last time, a quick game was produced for folks to play while we were waiting for more people to turn up so the serious gaming could begin.

So first on the table was Democrazy, a fun, quick game.

Except it was over so quickly that we almost didn't have any fun. I'll explain why later.

The concept of Democrazy is quite intriguing. Each player starts with a certain number of chips (five each in this case as we had seven players). Chips come in four different colours: red, green, yellow, and blue, and are drawn at random from an opaque bag.

We all received eight cards: 5 law cards (randomly dealt), 2 vote cards (a "Yes" and a "No") and 1 random wild card (a "Definite Yes", a "Definite No" or a "Scam").

The idea is that on your turn you draw a card from the top of the law deck, and then choose to play either that law, or one of the law cards in your hand.

The idea is to score points by passing laws that will benefit you.

The laws come in two types: those that are enacted immediately and are then discarded, and those that remain in play.

The first type include laws like "The players lose all of their yellow chips." or "Each player passes all their chips to the player on their left." or "All players draw two chips."

The second type of law are those that, if voted in, remain in play until they are either superceded or the game ends. Some of these won't take effect until the end of the game, but some will have a continuous effect while they remain in play. As well as affecting the number and value of chips, they tend to include some sillier laws like "Players must play their vote card with their left hand. The penalty for failing to do so is to lose a chip." or "Players with beards score 5 bonus points." Needless to say, with only three bearded men on the table, that vote was shot down by the rest of us.

Of course, none of these laws come into play unless they are voted in. When a player proposes a law, all the players vote either "Yes" or "No". If there are more "Yes" votes than "No" votes, the law passes and is enacted.

Players can try to force a law to succeed or fail with their wild card. A player can play their "Definite Yes" card (if they have one) to force a law to pass. However, this will only happen if no one else plays a wild card. Should any other player play a wild card of any type, all wild cards played that hand are immediately nullified.

The "Scam" wild card has the effect of swapping the outcome, again as long as no other wild cards are played at the same time.

Once the game has ended (and this happens when either the "End" card is drawn (this is shuffled into the last ten cards) or a player tries to draw a chip and none remain), and the final laws are enacted, the winner is the player with the highest score (number of chips plus any bonuses).

Sounds like it could be a laugh right?

Well, it is.

So what's my beef?

As I mentioned earlier the game was over very quickly, and we've found that on these games nights, it's often a case of play the game once and move on.

The issue we had was that after a couple of minutes, a law was passed that effectively killed off the game. That law was "Each time a law is adopted, the players who voted in favor draw a chip, and those who voted against lose a chip. Each time a law is rejected, the reverse happens."

What then happened was that everyone tried to second guess the most popular vote (which wasn't too difficult) and voted that way. With five or six players on the winning side each time, the chips ran out in no time at all and the game was over.

In fact, it was over so quickly that I only got one turn for the entire game. And even though I had 10 chips, and finished equal first, it's always going to be a let down when your interaction is limited to voting on other people's laws.

Mark this one down as another game I want to play again. Preferably with fewer players. I like a laugh, and this one was more of a brief chuckle.

Overall thoughts? If you play it, laughs will come. It doesn't take itself seriously, and neither should you. A fun diversion.

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