The adult party game industry is honestly a bit of a crapshoot these days. There’s a lot of creativity in the genre, as there is in most of the industry, but the nature of “adult” gaming means you sometimes run into games that are skeezy, sleazy, or downright offensive. And when I got a look at Ridiculous Expositions, the first foray of Gray Matters Games into the darker side of party gaming, I thought it was one of those games. But once I opened it and played a few rounds, it turns out that it’s actually an incredibly funny party game that can test even the dirtiest of minds.
What’s In The Box?
The game’s box is shaped similarly to the box that Cards Against Humanity and other similar card games come in, but it’s still a nice thing with a pleasing color scheme. There are some hints here and there that it’s not quite like other Gray Matters releases, most prominently the scribbling out of “brighten” in their tagline to be replaced with “darken.” To reinforce that this…really isn’t a game for children, the pseudo-mascot of the game, Ace Winger, appears prominently on the side of the box. This is where I got a bit of a red flag from the game, as the character of Ace less than welcoming. Dressed like a sleazy creep, his little spiel on the box is full of innuendos and sex jokes that, while they are in line with the game, do come across as…slightly skeezy. It’s also the main source of description for the game and it can be a tad off-putting, even if you’re going in expecting an NSFW game like this. We know we’re going to be indecent, Ace, we don’t need you making us want to take a shower before we get playing.
The game’s main components, the cards, are super high-quality and well printed. They retain the blues from the box and are quite easy to read. There’s also a lot of them, which is good as it lends games like this a good amount of longevity as it’s hard to get through them all in one sitting. The nice thing is that the game has two boxes that are each branded with the team they’re associated with (and their related emoji) that the team will draw from. It makes things a little easier than just drawing from the same mondo pile. The only other major component is the hourglass, which is just an hourglass. Exciting stuff.
How’s It Play?
The game is a pretty simple example of wordplay-based card games. Players split into two teams (Team Asstastic and Bonerrific, of course) and compete to get the most cards between them. One player on each team reads the cards and the other players guess the answer. These all take the form of common words split into sound-alike component words i.e. My Yell Hike Lube = Mile High Club. These range from PG-13 toilet humor to some very dirty sex phrases that required a lot of looking up on Urban Dictionary. It doesn’t stop at sex (though that’s where some of the funniest cards are), it also dips into crimes, drugs, and other things that you can’t discuss with grandma. The reader will read the component words out loud and the other members will sound it out and try to figure it out. This is hands down the BEST part of the game, because the words are silly but the way they’ve been extrapolated is hilarious when read out loud. When you’ve got two or three people saying “Tech He Lash Hot” over and over until something clicks, it’s a really fun image, especially when they’re doing it for something like a Cleveland Steamer. As an added bonus, it doesn’t dip into any of the gross racism or transphobia a lot of other games (including CAH) like to use in their effort to be edgy.
One of my players called it “Dirty Monikers,” and that’s not a bad description. Each card has its own point value, and the more complicated they are the more they’re worth and the other team does get the option to steal. The big twist is that it isn’t the whole team that gets to steal, it’s just their chosen “Swinger.” They sit with the other team and, after the 90 seconds are up, get ten seconds to guess on the cards that the competing team passed on. After five rounds, the team with the most points is declared “Champions of the Universe.”
This isn’t a high brow game. It’s not a chance to show off how witty you are, or how much pointless trivia you know. It is, however, one of those fun, stupid, and dirty games that can get an entire party red-faced and rolling on the floor by the end of things. It’s not complex and it’s a tad one-note in the kind of game that it is, but the same can be said for literally every other game in this genre. I mean how many people have basically memorized every CAH card? The “Ace Winger” thing is a tad off-putting, and there is a strong element of frat guy humor in place but, again, you’re playing a dirty card game. It is what it is. I think it’s definitely worth looking at for anyone who wants to try something that just goofy for the next time they hang out, or even for the next bar trip. Actually, I’d almost recommend this more if you’re going to be drinking while you play. It takes the silliness up to 11. Plus, Grey Matters Games donates part of their profits to Alzheimer’s research, so you’re making dirty jokes for good cause. Why not, right?
You can pick up Ridiculous Expositions on Amazon, where it retails for $24.99. Their games have also begun to pop up at Target and Wal-Mart, as well as a few game stores around the company, and you can use their store tracker to see if there’s any near you. Don’t forget to keep an eye here for more news and reviews on all of Gray Matters Games’s releases, as well as the latest from the world of tabletop!