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List Price: $14.99
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Crappy Birthday is a humorous game about pranking your friends with gifts they don’t want.
How to Play:
Deal 5 Gift Cards to each player.
- When it is your turn, it is your birthday! Everybody gives you a crappy "gift" from their hand.
- You shuffle the cards, turn them over one by one, and pick the gift you dislike the most.
- The player who gave you that gift gets a point.
- Draw back up to 5 Gift Cards. Play moves to the left.
The first player to 3 points wins.
When to Play:
Crappy Birthday is designed to be taken as a gift to a party instead of a bottle of wine or a 6-pack of beer. The goal of Crappy Birthday is to get people talking, laughing, and having a good time as quickly as possible. Don't be surprised if some people dislike the same gift that other people at the table love, because the gifts were designed to start fun and interesting conversations. Crappy Birthday is simple enough that a group of non-gamers can read the rules and start playing within a few minutes. Or if people do not want to play at the party, they can have fun by simply looking at the cards and laughing at the pictures and funny concepts.
So the next time you are going to a party with non-gamers, consider bringing Crappy Birthday as a gift.
Average Rating: 4 in 3 reviews
Have you ever received something for your birthday that you really didn't like? For me, it was clothes...every year, one or two of my presents would be clothes. I also received a stuffed animal once...I was thirteen. To be fair, I did get quite a few video games for the NES, though looking back...I'd qualify "Where's Waldo" and "Bible Adventures" to be crappy birthday presents, even if I didn't know it at the time. It's the thought that counts though, right?
Crappy Birthday is a light card game that tasks players to do one thing and one thing only...to laugh. Okay, there's a bit more to it than that...but nonetheless, laughing is the ultimate goal. Players will be taking turns becoming the Birthday Judge and will be receiving presents from other players. Points are awarded throughout the game as the current Birthday Judge picks the one that they dislike the most. Before we go any further, I'd like to thank Luke Warren from North Star Games for sending me a free review copy.
Let's take a quick look at what came in the box and how the game is played.
Cards - Each card is a realistic (and humorous) photo of something, designed to be the gifts that players will be giving the Birthday Judge.
Each player is dealt a hand of five random cards and one person is chosen as the Birthday Judge. The rest of the players at that point will be known as the Gift Givers.
Each Gift Giver picks a card from their hand, one that they think the Birthday Judge will really dislike, and places it face down on the table. The Birthday Judge mixes up those cards before looking at them, reads them aloud, and chooses one of them. The players who originally owned that card will receive a point.
Players clean up the round by placing the gifts that were given into the discard pile and draw up to five cards. The role of the Birthday Judge moves around the table in a clockwise fashion as rounds are completed. The first person to earn three points wins the game!
Editor's Note: The above manual is different from the one I received. The manual I linked is a 2nd edition that includes a few new rules. It should be noted that my review below includes these new rules, as we liked them better. The new rules call for the Birthday Judge to pick one they really like and one they really dislike. Points are awarded accordingly and the first to five points wins.
First, I'd like to say that I was very impressed by the realism on the cards. All of us really got a kick out of looking at the cards as they were revealed. After we were done playing our first game, we couldn't help but go through the deck to look at all of them. This went on for a good ten, maybe twenty minutes, pausing briefly in between to let the inappropriate comments fly (don't worry, they were PG-ish).
The game's learning curve is practically non-existant...players will be able to pick up and play without giving the rules a second thought. Those who have played Apples to Apples will see a lot of similarities in terms of gameplay mechanics and social interaction. Players won't need to come up with game breaking strategies to win...they'll just need to be familiar with the people in the group. By the same token, playing this game with a complete group of strangers is a great way to make some new friends.
My only concern is that if you play with the same group of people over a long period of time, the cards will eventually recycle and they won't be as funny. I hope that the folks at North Star Games have something in the works by way of expansion packs. We ran into similar problems when playing Apples to Apples at home, but we purchased a few different versions of the game and swapped them out from time to time to keep the cards semi-fresh. In the meantime, there's a variant available on BoardGameGeek to help keep things interesting. For example, when playing with three or four players, Gift Givers can give the Birthday Judge two cards instead of one, though this potentially shortens the game as players can earn up to two points every round instead of one. If you go this route, my advice is to up the points needed to win to ten...it worked for us. For the record, we all enjoyed the two card rule over the one card rule.
Overall, Crappy Birthday is a great way to lighten the mood. It would make a great game to play at parties...the more people playing, the better. This game is user- friendly and would appeal to just about anyone. The only people to whom this game wouldn't appeal are those who don't have a sense of humor, so be sure to leave your SpongeBob CrabbyPants at home. If you're a fan of games like Say Anything and Apples to Apples, then give this game a look!
Crappy Birthday is a very simple but incredibly fun new party game released in late 2011, and features cards picturing all kinds of wild and crazy gifts (e.g. a year's supply of used soap, a 150-pound hamburger, or a monster truck weekend). Everyone chooses a card from their hand and gives it to the player whose turn it is as a birthday gift. He then chooses which one he thinks is the `crappiest' or `worst' to receive, and the giver of that particular gift earns a point. First to three points wins!
The key mechanic is familiar from Apples to Apples, and the theme/concept is familiar from GiftTRAP, but the whole idea works really well here, and is so simple you could introduce it to a group in less than 30 seconds and be playing right out of the box. The crazy gifts are sometimes more cool than crappy, and will generate good discussion and laughs. I strongly recommend the publisher's official variant, which has players choose a crappy and a cool gift on their turn - this makes it even more entertaining!
The simple rules and cool gifts combine well for a highly interactive and social game experience. The only down side is that the gifts are most fun the first time you see them, so the game can lose some of its initial charm after several plays with the same group. But it wouldn't be fair to criticize the game for that, because it's intended to be used much like a disposable camera or a bottle of wine: take it to a party, give it as a gift and enjoy it there and then. For its price point it's still good value, and we've thoroughly enjoyed playing it multiple times in different groups already. Recommended!
Design by: Brian & Amy Weinstock
Published by: North Star Games
4 – 8 Players, 20 minutes
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser
Have you ever received a horrible gift for your birthday? You know, one that instantly dispels the notion that “it is the thought that counts.” One wherein you bite your tongue as you thank the gift-giver, but immediately after they depart, you toss the gift or donate it to your local charity thrift store. We’ve likely all been the recipient of such, well, crappy gifts.
Paying tribute to these crappy gifts is Crappy Birthday, a new game from the husband and wife design team of Brian and Amy Weinstock and published by North Star Games. The cube-shaped box contains two hundred gift cards, each with an attractive – and sometimes disturbing – photo of a potentially questionable gift. Each card also has a brief and humorous explanatory statement about the gift. The cards are of top quality and will likely withstand hundreds of plays – but you are unlikely to play the game anywhere near that many times.
The game plays almost identically to the immensely popular Apples to Apples. Each player receives a hand of five cards. Players alternate being the “birthday boy or girl”. All other players give that player a gift they think the he will detest. The player then chooses the one he would most dislike receiving. The player who gave him that present keeps the gifted card, scoring one point. Play continues in this fashion until one player accumulates three points which doesn’t take very long.
The fun and humor in the game is derived from the often outlandish gifts. Would you like to receive 20 Sumo wrestling lessons? How about a decorative urinal that looks like the big lips from the famous Rolling Stones album cover? Perhaps you would prefer five Chihuahuas that you must keep for their entire lives? Just the thought of receiving or giving such gifts generally results in laughter – a good thing for a party game.
To be honest, some gifts aren’t so bad. The old adages “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and “one person’s treasure is another person’s trash” are certainly applicable. For example, I know many folks who would love to be enrolled in the “cigar of the month” club or receive flying lessons. Indeed, part of the challenge of the game is knowing the likes and dislikes of the other players so that you can choose the appropriate – well, inappropriate – gift that will rankle the birthday boy or girl.
The game certainly succeeds in its objective – to serve as a fast and fun ice-breaker at a party or with a group of friends. It is very easy to teach, understand and play. Further, it plays to completion in 10 – 20 minutes – sometimes less. It does generate considerable laughter, moans and groans. For a retail price of approximately $15.00, one cannot go wrong.
That being said, I do have a few quibbles. The game plays too quickly with the rules as written. Playing until one player has acquired three cards can cause the game to end very quickly. We immediately changed the rules, playing until a player acquires five cards. Of course, this does deplete the deck of cards fairly quickly, making it grow stale even faster. I am more concerned, however, with the game’s re- playability. My wife and I played twice with two different groups and after the second playing, I now feel I am personally done with the game. I have seen all of the cards, and the laughter they initially caused is now gone. As such, I’m not eager to play again anytime soon. That is a shame, as I usually want more staying power from games. It seems to be a game that you should play with completely different groups each time so that you can at least enjoy their reactions.
So, I have mixed emotions. The game certainly accomplishes what it sets out to do, and for a price that is truly amazing in today’s market. However, in just two playings of the game, I feel it has quickly run its course and the freshness is gone. There may be a better setting for the game than in a gamer’s collection. I can envision it being a great game to have at a place with an ever-changing clientele, such as a coffee shop, fraternity or sorority. It is a game that can be learned by anyone within a minute or so, negating the need for someone to constantly teach it and play it over and over again. Perhaps in such a setting the game will maintain its freshness. Also, it could be the type of game that you bring to a party that will be attended by folks with whom you normally don’t spend much time. The drawback there, however, would be that you don’t know them very well, so choosing the gifts to give them would be a crap-shoot.
Perhaps, however, I am over-thinking this. Perhaps, to borrow a phrase used by my good friend and fellow gamer Jim McDanold, the game “is what it is.” You will likely get at least a few good plays that will generate laughter and amusement amongst those with whom you play. And that, after all, is what the game was designed to do.