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Have a Nerdy New Year’s Eve With These Absurdly Fun Card and Board Games

It’s that wonderful time of year again, when nerds everywhere start planning their epic and unusual (or epically unusual) New Year’s Eve. Not for us is the club scene, or even the rockin’ scene (unless we’re playing with a Ouija Board to summon Dick Clark back). With the SyFy annual Twilight Zone marathon in the background, the fam and friends gather around the table to play some very different and slightly disturbing board and card games. Here’s what you may find at my house on December 31:

1. Call of Cthulu RPG – An annual event, mainly because everyone dies or goes mad at the end. Not a whole lot of room for exposition. Your neighbors will definitely have raised eyebrows when they hear screams of madness coming from your house. But nobody’s ever called the police before, so sit back and relax and watch your party go not so quietly insane.

2. Gloom – A storytelling card game. Each player has a family. The goal is to make your family as miserable as possible, with as many inexplicable deaths as possible, while spreading joy and sunshine to the other players’ families. Of course the winner is the one with the most misery points, so if you have any unresolved family issues, this is the place to emotionally resolve them.

3. Urban Dictionary Game – Play with real people, or play online with your virtual friends. This game is rated 18+ so there is no rein on your creativity in defining slang. It’s similar in a way to Cards Against Humanity, where one player is the judge, giving you a hashtag, blanks to fill in, phrases to complete and illustrations to define.

4. Cards Against Humanity –Subtitled a Game for Horrible People. Hey, it’s the last night of the year, so all of those altruistic, humbling, good habits and kindness are off the table. Live it up! The Card Czar will read players a phrase or phrases, which the players attempt to complete or fill in with the meanest, nastiest, most hilarious word or words they hold in the cards in their hands. You’re never quite sure if winning is a good thing, or another example of dubious mental health.

5. Exploding Kittens – Believe it or not, this game was the most backed Kickstarter project of its time. It is also an adults only game (as if you couldn’t guess from the title). It’s billed as the kitty version of Russian Roulette – players draw cards until someone draws an exploding kitten, and then they are dead, unless they have a Diffuse card, which can be a laser pointer, a belly rub, or catnip. There are cards for avoidance, moving, or mitigating the exploding kitten.

6. Munchkins – There are many different versions of Munchkins, as well as expansion packages, but tonight we’ll just stick to the original board/card game. It’s fast paced and silly all on its own – play a Munchkin, go down into the dungeon, trick your fellow players, steal their stuff, backstab them, all while making them laugh. Magic items you can find are the Boots of Butt Kicking, the Staff of Napalm, the Horny Helmet, or the Chainsaw of Bloody Dismantlement. Take out the Potted Plant or the Drooling Slime, until you reach Level 10. IF you reach Level 10.

7. Chill Black Morn Manor – This is a build as you go horror game, so every time it’s played, the scenes shift, the monsters you encounter are different, and so are your enemies. The goal remains the same, though – destroy the manor and escape with your life! Chill is an older game, which may make it difficult to find, but it’s worth it if you come across it.

8. Apples to Apples – Another card game of hilarity and silliness. The judge of the round plays a card, and players select a card from their hand that best describes the judge’s card. There are 504 cards of outrageous places, people, things and events to keep play stimulating and challenging

9. Beat the Parents – In trivia, not with your lightsabers (although that sounds like fun, too). Kids have to answer questions only adults should know the answer to, and adults get questions about kid stuff. Watch out for wild cards that could set you back or fast forward play.

10. Talisman – The Magical Quest Game. Choose a character, and plot your course to the Crown of Command. Encounter monsters, find treasure, secret passages, and dodge your fellow players as you quest. There are so many expansion sets out now for this classic board game substitute for Dungeons and Dragons, that what starts as a 90 minute game can keep you playing long into the night (there’s a city, a woodlands, a highlands, a harbinger, reaper, frost march, and firelands – each with a new connectable board game, new characters, new cards and a new quest).

Whatever you decide to do on New Year’s Eve, have fun, enjoy the company of those around you, and stay safe. We look forward to Talking Nerdy With You in 2016!

Written by Arlene Allen

Hello, my name is Arlene Allen, and I love all things nerd: genre tv and movies, books, loud rock and roll music, kittens, conventions, books, graphic novels and superheroes, RPG and tabletop games, and did I say books? Oh, yes. I spent 25 years as a librarian (nerd) mainly working with youth (creating nerds), a number of years as a teacher (more nerd indoctrination). I have my own spawn, leveled up to 22 and my partner in nerdiness. As a nerdy writer, I have found a home at Talk Nerdy With Us.

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