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Danger: The Game Review



Quick Look: Danger:  The Game

Designer: Phillip Blackwell
Artist: Walter B. Jones
Publisher: Origami Whale
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 3-8 (or more, even)
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: 30+ minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Danger: The Game review; photo by Benjamin Kocher


Review:


The world is a dangerous place. It says so right on the box, so it must be true (spoilers: the world is, in fact, a dangerous place). There are so many ways people are put in peril. Ants might mistake you for food at a picnic and carry you away. You might even light a candle, but in reality, it’s a bomb. And let’s not forget being surrounded by a group of disappointed fathers. Literally the worst.

All these scenarios are indeed dangerous. And, as you may have guessed, they are also some of the situations you’ll find yourself in as you play Danger: The Game. Danger: The Game is a party game in which players are put into dangerous situations of varying plausibility. Of course, the more Farfetch'd the scenario, the more hilarious the results. And what are the results, you ask? A wonderful question that I will now answer.

Each player uses Skill and Tool cards to craft an escape plan for the player in danger. How you use those Skills and Tools is entirely up to you. One of the most delightful parts of the game is not the whimsical art on the cards, but rather the stories of attempted rescue as players try to justify why being able to perform jazz-hands with their feet (jazz-feet?) while wearing a fake police badge will come in handy to rescue the person being thrown from a bullet train into an active volcano.

My Experience
I decided to play Danger: The Game with my in-laws. They find themselves playing games like Niagara and Dominion more than your average in-laws, so I figured they’d be a good target audience for this one. At first, it took everyone a couple turns to find their groove, but once everyone caught hold of the concept of the game, the stories spun were wild and hilarious.

It’s actually quite difficult to explain just how hilarious the night became, since it’s one of those “you had to be there” type of things. Having said that, I will say that after our first time playing, we all walked away with inside jokes aplenty. One such inside joke involved using a bag of trash to save someone from bringing a knife to a gun fight. Bless the heart of my sister-in-law, who did her darnedest to convince us that her trash bag would distract the gunmen when she opened it and papers and wrappers and all sorts of trash flew through the air. Naturally, as my wife and I were about to leave—taking out their trash as we go—we realized the brilliance of putting the trash bag on her bed with a note expressing our sincere desire that this bag of trash be used to protect her from the monsters under her bed (she’s sixteen).

Like I said, you had to be there.

What I found while playing Danger: The Game was a delightful night of comedic storytelling. As a college student, I was part of my school’s improv comedy team, so being able to sharpen my wit and absurd storytelling skills (I’m sure it’s marketable somewhere…) was a hoot. I love all facets of storytellingprofessional/oral storytelling, writing, movies, video production, short form and long form improv, stage plays, you name itand this game allowed not just me, but everyone at the table to hone their storytelling skills and bond and connect with said stories (even if they did end up being ridiculous beyond reason).

If all this game did was bring people together to tell stories, I would recommend it to anyone. But, coupled with the laughter these stories bring, there’s something very special about Danger: The Game. There is a certain power in storytelling that you simply can’t find in other mediums, even the comedic ones. Storytelling brings people closer together, it helps us understand one another, and in the case of this game, it helps us see way deeper than we ever wanted to see in the messed-up lives of our family members—and that right there is when magic happens.

I’ll be honest; I’m not a huge fan of most party games. But, if this came out at a party (or someone—me—just happened to bring it), I’d be more than happy to give it a go. The Tool and Skill cards make strange situations even stranger, and the Plot Twists add a unique…twist (for lack of a better word) to the main gameplay.

Below are the nuts and bolts behind the game, followed by my final verdict.

Setup:

Each player draws three Tool cards and three Skill cards. Whoever lives most dangerously draws a Danger card. You’re ready to play.

Gameplay:

Good luck getting out of this one!

The player with the Danger card is in trouble, and it’s everyone else’s job to get said player out of their sticky jam using only the tools and skills found in their hand of cards. Starting with the player at the victim’s left, players reveal one Tool card and one Skill card from their hand, and proceed to explain how these items and skills are the best—and only—way of escaping their sticky situation. 

Each player (or "rescuer") unfolds their fool-proof plan to the victim, and once all rescuers have had their say, the victim decides which plan actually was the best, and awards that rescuer their Danger card. The first player to three (or however many you choose) Danger cards is the best dad-gummed rescuer ever. Because let’s face it, if you can save someone from their overdue VHS (i.e. "movie") coming back to haunt them by silencing any sound within a one-block radius and using the head of Medusa, there’s literally nothing you can’t handle.

So that’s the game in a nutshell. Of course, other players are always more than willing to point out any potential plot holes in your escape plan, which may (or may not) sway the victim’s decision in their direction.

An alternate gameplay mode uses Plot Twist cards. These cards are placed next to the appropriate Tool, Skill, or Danger card, which increases the tension. For example, if the danger was “Trapped in Amazon’s warehouse” and someone played the Plot Twist “…and a meteor is minutes away from your location,” the stakes just got raised something fierce. Now each player will have to convince you that their skill and tool will still be effective, despite this sudden yet inevitable plot twist.


Theme and Mechanics:

The theme is escaping from dangerous situations (and yes, being trapped in the friend zone is dangerous). The mechanics of playing cards and telling stories compliment the theme nicely as well.

Artwork and Components:

Danger the Game review

The art is simple, yet perfect for the game. You know those “wet floor” signs that show a stick-figure slipping, which is a warning to you of the danger you’re approaching? Well, the artwork in this game is right along those same lines, only appropriate to the setting on the cards. (i.e. “Stuck in a programming loop” and “Bigfoot,” above.)

The components are cards, cards, and more cards. The cards feel better than I expected, and have a glossy feel to them, too. Good quality stuff here.

The Good:
  • Storytelling
  • Fun art
  • Funny situations
  • Family bonding time
  • Plot Twists
Other Things:

In a party game like this, "bad" aspects of the game are completely subjective. For us, I think it’s safe to say that some sort of a timer is in order, otherwise we could be stuck on one person’s story for far too long. That’s a house rule you could use if you find it necessary. The box also says games take "30+" minutes, which is a pretty big range (infinite, even). We found that games could go longer than necessary, but again, using a timer or decreasing the number of Danger cards necessary to win can both help reduce the time it takes to play. These are two small things I noticed while playing, but felt they should be addressed. Full disclosure and whatnot.

Final Thoughts:

A hand of Tools and Skills.

There is a lot of game inside this little box. The base rules will provide hours upon hours of fun on its own, but adding the Plot Twists into the mix will put you on a collision course of wackiness. And in this game, the more absurd the situation, the better. 

As I mentioned above, I’m not a huge fan of party games (mostly because I find many are overdone or too crude for my liking), but Danger: The Game found a hole in my heart I didn’t know existed and filled it up. I think it’s a fun game with the potential for some serious comic gold. That said, you probably do have to pick and choose who you play this with. If your regular game group isn’t the type that will go out on a limb, they probably wouldn’t appreciate this game. It’s all in the audience, really. And, while the audience plays a big part in who this game will appeal to, there are others, like me, who will find something special here that they wouldn’t have found had they not given it a chance. 

Players Who Like:


Fans of most party games will surely get a kick out of Danger: The Game. If you like games such as Apples to Apples and Snake Oil, this game is calling for you (do you hear it?). Also, I feel like this would be good storytelling game for kids, as they have the best imaginations of us all. Or, if you’re my in-laws, you’d also like it (they said this is a game they would definitely consider buying, they enjoyed it so much).

Check out Danger: The Game on:

            




Benjamin Kocher - Editor and Reviewer

Benjamin hails from Canada but now lives in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He's a certified copyeditor through UC San Diego's Copyediting Extension program. He's a freelance writer and editor, and covers everything from board game rule books to novels. An avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with rich, engaging themes. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and Instagram @Kocherb, and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.

See Benjamin's reviews HERE.

Danger: The Game Review Danger: The Game Review Reviewed by Benjamin Kocher on February 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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