The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

The Tao Of Gaming Likes Free Stuff

But, given my history of reviewing free swag poorly (who remembers Dino Hunt?) I so rarely get any.

Still … rarely isn’t never. I got a copy of Monikers , which is apparently a thing being kickstarted. It’s a twist on Celebrities. And that’s the issue right there. Monikers is a solution in search of a problem.

I like some of the ideas. I particularly like the idea that a card can be something instantly recognizable, a famous archetype, but not a name. If you are tired of “Ringo Starr” appearing in your games then having a card like “A Grammar Nazi” is a nice change of pace. I’m going to steal that. And yes, a deck of cards where you draw some, toss out  a few and toss the rest into the middle is faster than writing out names. And having some cards worth more points for being …. harder, more obscure, etc, is great in theory but absolutely bonkers in practice.

I don’t personally have a problem with duplicate names showing up in a game. It’s part of the joy.

Then there’s the endless tinkering with the rules. I’m for that. It wasn’t clear to me if Monikers enforces a single guess in rounds 2 and 3, but we played No. (That may have been a mistake). Dividing into two teams, instead of pairs, makes for a much more forgiving game.

That made me sad.

One of the joys, the joke that never gets old, the apex of Celebrities is the one person who has no idea what everybody else knows. There’s comedy. There’s high comedy, and then there’s B____ C____ not knowing Jabba the Hutt. Or when someone makes the universally recognized symbol of David Letterman[1] to the only player at the table who has no idea. I’ve been the guy with no idea. I’ve been the partner. Sometimes you slap yourself after time runs out. Sometimes you fly across the table, and curse the gods and fate herself.

But you know what? Celebrities can take your changes and live with them. It drops a point or two off the rating, and Celebrities has those to spare. The real issue is that even if you get 500 cards, that’s only ~10 games before you see repeats. And what the designers think of as cute I think of as hopelessly obscure (and I knew those cards).  Cards I’d never put in unless I knew the crowd.  But we got them and moved on.

Anyway, at the rate I change jobs, I’ve got to use those business cards for something.

Rating — It’s still Celebrities, but I’m not buying the cow.

On a positive note, the physical design of the cards is a delight, and I’m sure the paragraph explaining who each person/meme/thing is was great, but I didn’t read them.

[1] Mrs. Tao just admitted to me that she doesn’t know the universal symbol for David Letterman. So, in this case, she’s the one person.


Written by taogaming

May 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Tell Jacqui she’s no longer the one person, because I have no idea what the so-called universal symbol for Letterman would be. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I could come up with ANYONE who would have a universally recognized symbol. (Maybe Hitler.)


    May 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm

  2. I don’t know the universal symbol for David Letterman either. I have seen his show a number of times.

    B Wingrave

    May 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm

  3. Me, either. But I’ve never seen the show. Zippy the Pinhead has a universal symbol, though he’s not a real person.


    May 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm

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