KEEP CALM and Game On Review
Quick Glance - KEEP CALM and Game On
Game Type – Party Game
Number of Players – 3 - 8
Mechanics – Voting, Humor
Difficulty to learn – Easy
Release – 2015
MSRP - $25.00
Publisher – Breaking Games
Recommended for fans of – Cards Against Humanity, Never Have I Ever, The Voting Game
In 1999 a fantastic party game called Apples to Apples was released. In this game players would alternate turns choosing a description word card (like hairy or fast) and then other players would choose a noun card that best fit it (like Big Dogs or Garbage Truck). You were supposed to pick the word that fit best but everyone always just picked something funny which gave the game a delightful little charm. Ten years later the super popular Cards Against Humanity appeared. This game took the basic concept of Apples to Apples but subtracted all the subtlety by every card being explicitly naughty. Despite my obvious disdain for the game, its hard to deny what a juggernaut this game has been. Love it or hate it, Cards Against Humanity’s stripped-down style and crude humor took the gaming world by storm and is still gaining in popularity. Flash forward almost another ten years and we have the third wave, the knock-offs. While there is a certain charm to Cards Against Humanity’s minimalist style, it unfortunately inspired a dearth of sad imitators. Go to any Target and you can find a wall full of games that are essentially just insulting words on starkly filled cards. At this point you may be asking what any of this has to do with this review. Well keep calm and find out.
Keep Calm follows the same Apples to Apples formula I talked about above. Players take turns being a judge where they draw and read a situation card. These cards say things like “What would you do if...you stopped thinking farts are funny” or “What would you do if...you screw up and punch a bear”. After this each other player picks a response card. These cards say things like “Keep Calm and...push harder” or “Keep Calm and drop it down low and bring it up slow”, and yes, all of these cards start with “Keep Calm”. There are also PANIC cards mixed in which you can play for various special effects. The rulebook promotes loudly shouting PANIC before playing one. The judge reads the answer, selects their favorite card, and gives a point to the player who submitted it. Play continues until one person gets to six points or you have all lost your will to live.
Not much to say here. The rules are two and a half pages, largely due to cheeky commentary. At least it keeps to the theme?
Speaking of theme, the theme here is fairly confusing. Was the “Keep Calm” meme popular enough in 2015 to inspire an entire game about it? Does anyone like said meme enough to buy an entire game about it? Not to mention the fact that the “Keep Calm” on every card literally adds nothing to the game other then a large helping of extra cringe.
Again, not much to say here, shuffle some decks and go.
I will say that the component quality here is nice. The box is sturdy and the cards themselves aren’t flimsy. Outside of a crown, there’s no art at all in the game but the text on the cards is crisp so that’s something, right?
Ok, before I get to my final thoughts I’d like to point out that while I may seem down on party games there are a number I really like. Breaking Games makes the very fun dating game, Billionaire Banshee, and I still have a special place in my heart for Apples to Apples. The problem with this game lies not in its weight, but in its originality. There is no better way to describe this then a Cards Against Humanity knock-off with a dead meme tacked on. The cards are astoundingly cringe-worthy and evoke the Steve Buscemi “How do you do, fellow kids” meme. To end on a positive note, I will say that I know people who only like party games like Cards Against Humanity and its ilk. If you fall in that camp this game will probably appeal to you, but honestly if you want a good party game from Breaking Games, I’d keep calm and pick up Billionaire Banshee instead.