Stupid Deaths: The Frightfully Funny Game
Once, there was a movie starring future all-round-adorable-guy Keanu Reeves, and in that film was a character called Socrates, who once said:’ Death may be the greatest of all human blessings”.
He was possibly right, and I suppose we’ll all find out eventually, except for those who end up suffering Stupid Deaths, who may find out sooner than they would like… and for our amusement.
Stupid Deaths is a 2 to 6 player game that FEELS like a trivia game, but isn’t.
In Stupid Deaths, the board has 24 spaces set in a circle, and at one end of the board is a green space, where you, the player, will lay your coloured token, and opposite is a red space, where Death awaits, hungry for your life.
In addition to your player piece, you are also offered an extra life token, and two coffin shaped cards, one with ‘TRUE’ written on it, and the other with ‘FALSE’.
The gameplay is really simple! On each turn, one player draws one of the three hundred cards, and reads the horribly stupid death that some poor soul has endured. The other players decide, using their true/ false cards, where their belief of the text lies. If they are correct, they get to move one space, if they are incorrect, Death moves one space towards them. If every player chooses incorrectly, the person asking the question gets to move two spaces. Play continues with the card reader going around the table so each player gets to do it.
If the Death token reaches or passes a player, that player has been ‘touched by Death’ and is out of the game UNLESS they have an extra life token… remember, the one you got at the beginning of the game… in which case, that player get to go one space in front of death, given an opportunity to stay in the game.
The winner of the game is either the first to reach the red space, or is the last one standing after everyone else has had Death surpass them.
I always have an issue with games that are not on-point with their theme, and I have to say that this game looks does match its theme. It has a stark aesthetic that works perfectly, with skulls and coffins all over the place, and a predominantly black board, and a pretty cute little Death standee. All of this is packaged in a pretty cool gravestone shaped box.
NB: there is a cheaper version of the game with the same name that comes in a coffin shaped tin, but it has no board or pieces and only 90 cards. It can be played by itself, or the cards can be added to this version for more deaths to choose from.
It sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s not. To its credit, Stupid Deaths does know it has a limited lifespan, as regular gamers will start to remember the cards and that reduces the competitiveness of the game, but it’s not very expensive, so if you aren’t too worried about world wide resources, I guess it’s ok value? Seriously though, you might get 8 games out of it before it starts to get a little samey.
The other thing is the mechanic of player elimination. Once a player has had both their lives lost, they don’t get to play the game anymore. I understand that the game shouldn’t run much longer than 20 or 30 minutes, but who wants to sit on their hands during a board game night. Player elimination is the opposite of fun.
Also, the box suggests 2 to 6 players: at 2 players this game is absolutely terrible; you would honestly be better watching 30 minutes of Fail Army on Youtube, which would garner the same ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ as the stories on these cards will.
Whilst the cards a funny and the black humour is suitably dark, it’s not much of a game. It feels like someone watched a Darwin Awards video and went ‘ I could make a game of that.’