Review: This Game Goes to Eleven by Gamewright

Review: This Game Goes to Eleven by Gamewright

With a name like This Game Goes to Eleven, this title from Gamewright is trading on the association with the classic cult film This Is Spinal Tap. For the uninitiated, the reference is to an immortal scene in the film where fictional metalhead rocker Nigel Tufnel explains how his amps are just better because of their dials tracking to 11 instead of just 10. Trust me, it hilarious and this game’s title will inspire a smile for anyone who has seen the film.

Haven’t seen it? Go directly to your TV. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

This casual-weight game comes with 72 amp-backed cards and a guitar pick (or “plectrum,” as the delightfully erudite Mr. Mike Siggins noted on my Instagram recently) does evokes this wacky scene with some artwork as well. Playing with 2-6 players of ages 8 and up, it’s quick one, running just about 15-20 minutes. As a filler to begin or end a game night, Eleven, can succeed in filling in the game between longer games, or to appeal the very casual player.

This is a straightforward game of playing cards to get to a certain point in value in the discard pile. Players are dealt three cards of varying values from zero to 11 (no 10 because how sad would that be?). The zero and 11 cards are something special, but most of the cards simply have a number and a hue that corresponds across the same rank. On your turn, you play one from your hard to the discard pile and draw back up three afterward.

The Power of Eleven

When the values of the cards in the discard pile hit 11 or more, the entire stack is given to a player to add to their points pile in front of them. In this way, the game plays like a variety of other cards card games including Reiner Knizia’s Escalation and Poison (now ‘Friday the 13th‘ from iELLO).

Rocker and librarians and amps, oh my…

Who takes the cards? That’s determined by whether the active player hit the number 11 exactly or if they exceeded it. Hitting 11 exactly is the goal; if so, the active player gets to choose who takes the stack of cards that added up to the total.

If the active player exceeds 11 in the discard stack by their play, they are forced to take those cards. That’s the basic game. Once the cards have been passed to the appropriate player, play continues with the next player. However, there are a few additional rules that had some interest to the game.

Librarian Versus Rocker

First off, there are those zero and 11 cards. The 11 card, which features artwork of what looks like a Motley Crue reject, directly sets the current stack at 11, giving the active player the opportunity to be able to handover the cards to whomever it is they want. Rock on, indeed.

The zero card has a picture of a Librarian and she will shush the value of the current stack down to a zero. She also has the power of being able to be played out of turn to cancel an 11 rocker card. What the designers were thinking when they figured that a librarian can shush a loud hair metal rocker, I don’t know. But that doesn’t give the Librarian a great deal of power in the game. The Librarian can also make for prodigiously large stacks of cards which ended up getting handed over to a player in a single go.

Split Stacks

One more interesting rule is that players may not play a card of the same rank directly on top of a card of the same rank. If you do opt to play a card of the same rank on top of one that matches it, you will split the stacks. For example if the stack currently has a five on top of it and you opt to play five card, rather than adding the five to the total that is currently in the discredit pile you will make a new discard pile.

This option is probably the most interesting part of the game since you can use it to avoid exceeding 11 on your turn. Instead, you start a new second discard pile that is also being played to 11 or more. I am fond of this rule since it reminds me of the under-appreciated Adlungspiele game Lowendynastie, which allows you to create a secondary trick with a split matched ‘marriage’ card. Eleven isn’t as intriguing as that game, but this little flash of an intriguing rule is welcome.

Winning

As you may have surmised at this point the game is going to end when you get through the stack of cards and the player with the fewest cards is going to win. Thus, it helps to simply avoid cards there’s no real difference there and it makes for a simple goal that all players can understand. The value of the cards themselves or any of the special cards like a librarian and the guitarist don’t have any special significance, at the end again it’s just about how many cards you have. While it lacks the ladder-climbing feel of Escalation, the intrigue of the three stacks and shoot-the-moon scoring options of Poison, This Game Games to Eleven fits the bill nicely of a six player game you can play with just about anyone.

Plectrum Variant: A must for us

Pick this variant…

One more note: the plectrum included with the game isn’t just for amusement, it provides a variant that I like. The plectrum is giving to the starting player and, when someone hits exactly eleven on the discard stack, the one with the plectrum gets the pile of cards. Some will say this make for less strategic options, it does dial down (pun intended) the ‘take-that’ feel of the game. This variant doesn’t change anything about the active player getting the cards if they exceed that number and I think it makes for some interesting choices when you need to minimize card intake while possessing the plectrum. For our group, this option is a lot more appealing as we are not terribly aggressive players and liked the idea that the game was instead more evenly distributing the cards and allowing us to make the difference in the skill of play.

If you are a local, this copy of the game will be showing up in the Strategicon Game Library in time for the Gamex 2019 convention in May. Play it there to get your rock and roll on.

This Game Goes to Eleven
The whole shebang.

Final Word

This Game Goes to Eleven was liked by our casual gamers and if that’s your audience, this is a winner. Serious games can enjoy it as a lighter version of fare they normally play and it’s a charming filler that can round out theme nights, too.

PRESS RELEASE: Gamewright Celebrates 25 Years

New games for this big anniversary include a fruity frenzy, a blooming bouquet, a rock -n- roll card game, and Sushi dice!

Newton, MA – Gamewright, a leading publisher of award-winning tabletop games, has been in the game of making “games for the infinitely imaginative” for 25 years. In celebration of this milestone anniversary, the company will roll out the red carpet for a pair of “rolling” releases based on two of their best-selling titles: Sushi Roll, a dice version of the hit card game Sushi Go!; and Rat-a-Tat Roll, a board game based on the million-selling Rat-a-Tat Cat. Additional new releases include This Game Goes to Eleven, a rock and roll themed card game that cranks up the fun; Whozit?, a cooperative “guess who?” party game; and Bloom, a new signature “roll and write” dice game where picking colorful flowers is the key to victory. These, along with six other new titles, will launch at Toy Fair in New York City this February 16-19. 

New Games at a Glance:

  • Guju Guju – a fast-playing “fruit frenzy” card game, sold in a tin.
  • Rat-a-Tat Roll – a follow-up board game to the best-selling Rat-a-Tat Cat.
  • Sushi Roll – A dice version of the million-selling Sushi Go! card game.
  • This Game Goes to Eleven – a rock ‘n roll themed card game that “cranks it past 10”.
  • Punto – a neat twist on “in-a-row” games, packaged in a miniature flip-top tin.
  • Bloom – a flower themed dice game, to complement the best-selling Qwixx.
  • Whozit? – a cooperative “guess who?” party game.
  • Hello My Name Is – a new Port-a-Party game designed around the well-known name tag.

Editor’s Note: Boardgame Babylon congratulates Gamewright on their Silver Anniversary. It’s a great game company that has made family games that delight casual gamers as well for a long time, and I appreciate the quality and ingenuity they bring to their productions. Here’s to another 25 years (and more) of success!

Guju GujuTM 
The Fruit Frenzy Card GameThis card game is bananas! And lemons! And strawberries! Take turns flipping cards and guessing which of four fruits will appear. When you guess right- it’s a fruit frenzy! Everyone frantically flips cards, racing to cover the matching fruit. Be the first to get rid of your cards and victory is ripe for the taking! Players: 2-5 Ages: 6+Time: 10 minutes S.R.P.: $15.00 Availability: Now Shipping
Rat-a-Tat RollTMA Fun Numbers Dice Game – Roll around the world with Rat-a-Tat Cat! The best-selling game returns with a fresh new spin-dice! Move around the board trying to collect low cards (cats) while avoiding high cards (rats). Choose one, two, or three dice, keeping re-roll tokens handy in case you miss your mark. All along, look out for peeks, swaps, and especially the chancy “wild” spots, where things could really get dicey! Get the lowest score and Rat-a-Tat Catapult to victory! Players: 2-5  Ages: 6+ Time: 15 minutes S.R.P.: $18.00 Availability: Summer 2019

Twin It! TM
The Double-Dashing Card Game – On the double! In this game of fast reflexes, quickly reveal pattern cards featuring over 100 dazzling designs. Spot an identical pair and race to grab the match. But beware – some patterns are deceivingly close and others can be stolen if a third match appears! Features three ways to play including head-to-head, team vs. team, and even cooperative mode, where everyone works to beat the clock. No matter which one you choose, you’ve got to be in it to Twin It! Players: 2-6 Ages: 8+Time: 10 minutes S.R.P.: $15.00 Availability: Now Shipping

Sushi Roll TMThe Sushi Go! Dice Game – Rice and dice! Roll with your favorite Sushi Go! characters in this dice version of the best-selling card game! Load up the conveyor belts with savory sushi dice – ­­­­ then pick one and pass the rest! Earn points for winning combos like two tempura or a set of sashimi. Grab a menu to re-roll your dice or use chopsticks to swap with an opponent. And of course –  save room for pudding at the end!  Pick up the most points and you’re on a Sushi Roll! Players: 2-5Ages: 8+Time: 20 minutes S.R.P.: $24.00 Availability: Spring 2019

BloomTM
The Wild Flower Dice Game – Flowers are power in this freshly-picked dice game! Roll the dice, choose a color, and then circle the number of matching flowers. Each roll offers a bouquet of possibilities: should you try to snag all of a certain color, or attempt to fill a “mixed dozen” instead? Choose wisely— the dice you pass might score for your opponents! With a little luck and a lot of pluck, you’ll be the blooming best! Players: 2-5 Ages: 8+ Time: 20 minutes S.R.P.: $11.00 Availability: Spring 2019


Punto The Point-to-Point Card Game – Get to the points! Flip your top card and add it to the grid – or cover an opponent’s card showing lower points. Be the first to get four-in-a-row and end up on top! Players: 2-4  Ages: 8+ Time: 20 minutes S.R.P.: $8.00 Availability: Spring 2019

This Game Goes to Eleven The Game That Cranks it Past Ten Turn it up! In this fully-amped card game, the goal is to crank up the volume and stick other players with cards. Play number cards to a center pile, adding up the total along the way. Make the pile hit exactly 11 and hand the whole heap to another player. But crank it too loud and you get stuck with the headache! End the game with the fewest cards and you totally rock! Players: 2-6Ages: 8+  Time: 20 minutes S.R.P.: $13.00 Availability: Shipping Now
                                                                                     
Whozit?TMThe Cooperative Guess Who Game – Six unusual suspects, two debatable clues, one hilarious party game!Take turns secretly picking a character from the lineup, then tip off your teammates by rating how well a pair of clues applies to your choice. Would Darth Vader drive an expensive car? Could Lady Gaga make a great babysitter? You’ll crack up as you crack the case, but your team can only win by eliminating all of the unlikely suspects and correctly guessing – Whozit?! Players: 2+Ages: 10+Time: 20 minutes S.R.P.: $20.00 Availability: Summer 2019 


Hello My Name IsTM Party Game – Meet this hilarious new party game that’s full of personality! Can you name an actor who’s short, blond, and musical? How about an athlete that’s bearded and married? Play trait and then race to name someone – real or fictional – who fits the description. Use your creativity to win the most cards and hello… your name is champion! Players: 3-8  Ages: 12+ Time: 15 minutes S.R.P.: $10.00 Availability: Summer 2019

Press Release: Play Your Own Path with Cardventures from Gamewright

Press Release: Play Your Own Path with Cardventures from Gamewright

New story-based line offers epic escapades & great solitaire literacy boosters

Newton, MA – Looking for an antidote to the “summer reading slide?” Gamewright has just the solution: Cardventures – a brand new series of games that play like interactive books where you control the story! Start each Cardventure by selecting a card and reading the narrative text. Then choose one of the options at the bottom, which leads to another card. Follow the story from card to card until you reach an end point. Then play again by choosing a different start card for an entirely new adventure!

Gamewright launches Cardventures with two titles: Stowaway 52 and Jump Ship! In Stowaway 52 you’ve snuck aboard an alien ship that’s about to attack Earth and it’s up to you to stop it. In Jump Ship! you take on the role of a pirate captain, leaping from ship to ship in search of treasure. Both titles not only make great parent-child “read together” activities but are also wonderful tools for luring back reluctant readers. They are a must-have for developing language and vocabulary, as well as enhancing decision making skills. Cardventures are for one or more players, ages 8+ and are available in stores now, with a suggested retail price of $9.99.

About Gamewright

Gamewright, a leading manufacturer of family games,is best known for such household hits as Slamwich,Rory’s Story Cubes®, Sushi Go!, Forbidden Island™, and the Scrambled States of America™ Game. Gamewright prides itself on making games that foster laughter, learning, friendship and fun. Kids, parents, grandparents, and educators all agree that Gamewright makes some of the best games on the planet. For more information, please visit www.gamewright.com.

Session Review: Bring Your Own Book from Matthew Moore and Luke Nalker and Gamewright Games

Session Review: Bring Your Own Book from Matthew Moore and Luke Nalker and Gamewright Games

Bring Your Own Book (subtitled “The Game of Borrowed Phrases”) had me at the title. As a voracious reader, I knew it was going to be a game that I’d enjoy. I wasn’t preparedBring Your Own Book for the game to play so well with our entire group, including some I’d describe as ‘non-readers’. It’s 2016 – what can you do? Although bibliophiles will embrace the game quicker, you need not be obsessed with books to enjoy it. Originally released as a self-published game, Gamewright has snapped it up. Thank goodness they did because it’s fun and we laughed a lot while playing.

Bring Your Own Book is amusing for the reason most party games are: you get to inject the personality of the people playing into the experience. On the surface, it’s a pretty straightforward. Like Apples to Apples, Dixit, and Cards Against Humanity, players submit an answer based on criteria set by a game card. That player selects their favorite option and awards the card to the player who selected it. The subjective selection of ‘good’ answers based on whose turn it is drives the mirth in these games. Bring Your Own Book is no exception here.

Yes, You Literally Bring Your Own Book

The innovation here: Instead of a hand of cards with possible answers, players arm themselves with a book. The book’s text is the source for their answers. Once the game card is read, players scour their books to find a phrase or line to match the card. Categories are all over the place, which is amusing. Some examples of the witty card selections: “A line from an unpublished Dr. Seuss book” “A pickup line” or “The title of a romance novel.”

One might read that description and think the game is more interesting for readers who pick their favorite book to use. Not so. The real fun comes out of the truly bizarre answers people try to pass off as a reasonable answer. I did well in our first game with a book on Irish history (I’m a mutt but more Irish/English than anything else). One of our players had a picture book about gnomes, which was a great source for ridiculous responses. Considering the card picker can select the winner based on their own criteria (funniest or the most appropriate for the category), going the funny route can often work and it almost did for the gnome book-wielder.

Bring Your Own Book

If you’re one of those folks who have moved on from deadtree books to the ebook world, you can still enjoy the game. While we had people raiding a few of our bookshelves, there’s no reason why players can’t just bring up a book on their Kindle or iPhone to use. Furthermore, you can get many free books online from your local library or online resources to use in a snap.

(Yes, BGB listeners who know me to be a total tech-head might ask about these bookshelves in my home. I do mostly read e-books but the deadtree variety are so cheap these days that sometimes, I just buy them instead…hey, I got this Morrissey biography for $.08 plus shipping!)

Oh, yeah – the winner is the first one to four or five cards. I think that’s it. Seriously, if you care about who wins, you’re missing the point of party games.

The Final Word on Bring Your Own Book

If you like this style of party game, you’re bound to enjoy Bring Your Own Book. While I love and admire clever party games like Codenames, games where you submit answers that rely on player relationships are the biggest source of laughs. The delightful bonus for Bring Your Own Book is how it allows players to get even more creative in their selections. Yes, it’s lower-effort creativity than the likes of Balderdash (another of my favorites), but it works. The game is now on our Top 10 Party Games list.

Bring Your Own Book plays in 20-30 minutes and with 3-8 players. Of course, you can control these factors by simply handing out more cards or increasing the threshold for winning. The packaging is also delightfully bookish, another fine detail for us book-lovers. I’m jazzed by the packaging Gamewright has been using, although my favorite has been the dice games boxes with the magnets you’ll find housing Qwixx, Dodge Dice and Rolling America. Not anymore – look at the cool addition to Bring Your Own Book just below. You track the books used to play the game as you go. What a terrific idea and one that is unique to Bring Your Own Book.

Bring Your Own Book

Bring Your Own Book is available now from Gamewright and you can follow the author here.

Boardgame Babylon Rating for Bring Your Own Book

BIN (Buy It Now) PIN (Play It Now) TIF (Try It First) NMT (Not My Thing)

Disclosure: Copy provided by the publisher for independent review.

Session Review: Sushi Go Party! by Phil Walker-Harding and Gamewright Games

Session Review: Sushi Go Party! by Phil Walker-Harding and Gamewright Games

Don’t you hate it when a new edition of your favorite game comes out and the old one might as well go in the trash bin? Sushi Go Party will not do that to you. Fans will love the expanded version and they can easily recycle their previous copy by handing it to a friend as a great introduction to modern board games. That is, until the friend loves it so much that they upgrade to Sushi Go Party and pass the basic game on, too. The new version is that welcome and good.

Sushi Go For Beginners (skip this section, experts)

If you don’t know the original Sushi Go, where have you been? This inexpensive crowd-pleaser has enjoyably light Sushi Go Partygame play (plays in 20-30 minutes) and charming artwork sure to dazzle young and new-to-modern-game players. The game works incredibly well for that set, while serious gamers often like it as a filler.

Play is simple but interesting: players get a hand of cards, selecting and revealing one at a time, and then passing the hand to the left (a ‘pick and pass’ mechanism, as it is sometimes called). This is done until all cards are gone, which triggers scoring for the round. Points are awarded for sets that are collected and scored in unique ways for different cards (e.g., majority, multipliers, pairs, etc.) The game plays over three rounds, with building scores and a final bonus for dessert cards collected over the course of the game. The original game is enormous fun and so worth the cost of this small tin chock full of fun. But the new edition is even better.

Sushi Go Party Expands The Menu

Yes, it’s still Sushi Go but bringing the party means two key changes: more players and more variety. The new expanded version offers both in spades. Sushi Go Party plays up to eight – a very welcome feature – and combines the original game with the Dominion concept. Designer Phil Walker-Harding (whose SDJ-nominated Imhotep is all the rage right now) gives buyers of the big new tin a host of new cards in sets that you can mix and match for varied play.

In an inspired thematic choice, Walker-Harding has added ‘menus’ of card sets to play. Card types are now categorized as Rolls, Appetizers, Specials, and Desserts. Your custom bento box of card selection options (you can use a pre-made ones or build your own) are clearly shown with cardboard markers that sit in the center of the new score track. Hurray to that addition as well. No more score-keeping elsewhere on paper or scoring apps round to round.

Card and menu selections from each type can adjust the feel of the game for more interaction or to appeal to larger player counts. For example, there’s now a Spoon card that allows players to request a card from other player hands. There are also risky propositions with Eel and Tofu cards, which require players to have specific numbers of cards or earn a penalty. Additional desserts have been added and a distribution tweak that has more of these end-of-the-game cards rolling in each round makes these post-meal bonuses work better.

Sushi Go Party

The Final Word on Sushi Go Party

Like Sushi Go, Sushi Go Party plays quickly and it doesn’t take any longer to play with eight than it does with the original five player limit. In fact, the new edition even has improved rules to play the game well with only two players. My wife and I tried the new two-player version and it worked quite well. While it isn’t a game that I’d expect to transition so well (even the wondrous 7 Wonders is MUCH better as 7 Wonders: Duel than in in the two-player variant of the original), Walker-Harding has come up with a good way to handle things when you want Sushi For Two.

Sushi Go Party is an ideal upgrade to the original and an instant buy for fans of the game. Everyone who plays it with us says they want to buy it. The game is now on our must-include board game list for travel and big game parties. The US edition is out from Gamewright and you can see previews of many of the new cards on the designer’s Twitter feed.

Boardgame Babylon Rating for Sushi Go Party

BIN (Buy It Now) PIN (Play It Now) TIF (Try It First) NMT (Not My Thing)

Disclosure: Copy provided by the publisher for independent review.