By Unstable Unicorns
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Wrong Party is a card game for two to five players from Unstable Unicorns, but works better with at least three players. The basic idea of the game is to create a party that matches a preselected party theme. Over the course of five rounds of play, the players try to build a collection of party guests who most successfully fit the type of party called for by the cards. Each game lasts as long as it takes to host three parties with the winner having the high score after the third party ends.
Each party card contains one or two of four types of party: Family-friendly, Raid, Political, or Costume. In addition, each party will appeal to certain guests, shown as eight different atttributes, such as fighting, drink, music, games, etc. Parties will appeal to three of the attributes. A card is selected at random and all of the players will try to put together a guest list that will appreciate the party. For example, a Family Reunion is a family-friendly party that will appeal to guests who like talking, food, and children. As each round happens, players will choose cards from their hand in hopes that they will wind up with the best matches.
Each player starts the game with six guest cards in their hand. When they see the party type, they place one of the cards in their hand face down as one of their guests and they'll place another one of their guests into their personal discard pile. Once everyone has selected their first round guest and discard, they pass the remaining cards in their hand to the player to their left. Each player than draws another card from the deal pile and repeats the process until each player has five face-down guests and a five card discard pile.
In the reveal phase, each player takes turns revealing one of their cards from left to right. While most of the cards are reasonably straight-forward, some of the cards will have a special impact when revealed. They may allow the player to swap out a card from their discard pile or turn likes into dislikes (or vice versa) or change the party's theme to one that matches your guests better. However, playing one of these cards does require the player to remember their strategy when selecting their guests because they have to choose the effects while some of their cards may still be face down. Once all of the players' cards are revealed, points are tallied based on how close the guests match the parties theme, likes, and how many of the cards are of a similar color type.
Because so much of Wrong Party requires the players to remember the cards that they played, along with which color each car is and which likes and dislikes each card has, playing the game is not a particularly social event. Conversation can mean forgetting exactly which categories of cards have been played, resulting in the loss of points during the tallying portion of each round. While the game is quick and fun, the fact that gameplay dissuades talking is a strike against the game.
Playable in about half an hour, Wrong Party is a game that can be playing repeatedly, althought the lack of socialization during the game means that players would probably want to fit it into a session of mixed games, possibly alternating with other games from Unstable Unicorns like Here to slay or Happy Little Dinosaurs, or quick games from Looney labs to create a balanced evening of games.
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