Hello backers! Eric here - I’m one of the designers of The Metagame, along with Colleen and John. Before I proceed with the update, a few upcoming events:
THIS WEEKEND: SHUX in Vancouver. Shut Up & Sit Down’s first ever game get-together conference-ish thing is happening this weekend. If you’re attending, check out demos of The Metagame on Friday morning. And if you look deep in your swag bag, you’ll find a complimentary preview card from the Games Expansion.
MONDAY: The Columbo Day Board Game Extravaganza in NYC. If you live near New York City, we are showcasing The Metagame at Nyeek, a regular social gathering for those who like to partake of drink and boardgames. Join us at Amity Hall in Greenwich Village, on Monday Oct 9 from 7-10pm.
NEXT FRIDAY: Your last chance to support the campaign! Our Kickstarter for The Metagame’s Game Expansion with Shut Up & Sit Down ends on Friday the 13th! We’d love to go out with a bang, so tell all your friends who haven’t supported the campaign that they are know-nothing cultural shut-ins. Or something like that. Be nice about it.
Show us your ten-pack
If you backed the project, you probably already understand the basic idea of The Metagame. It’s a big deck of cards you can use to play a whole bunch of different games. Some of them come inside the box, and there are more you can download from our website.
But just what ARE these games? For starters, the tragically clever folks at Shut Up & Sit Down recorded a lovely Let’s Play of Metaquilt. And we do have this little overview video. But some of you have asked for more. So… to give you a better sense everything you can do with The Metagame, here is a list of the ten current games. Full rules for all of them can be downloaded here.
Our introductory suggestion for first-time players. This is the Metagame that’s most similar to games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity. You match your culture cards (Big Mac, The Mona Lisa, Wonder Woman) to opinion cards that say things like Which feels like first love? Or Which will outlive us all?
There are a couple of twists to this classic social card game design. For example: everyone gets to be a judge every turn. Each player has their own opinion card face-up in front of them and you distribute your hand of culture cards as you see fit on other people’s opinion cards. Scoring also has a strategic edge: if you win a comparison, you get all of the cards that were played on it. Each card is worth a point, so the more hotly contested questions are more valuable for scoring.
2. HISTORY 101
You may not have noticed, but every Metagame culture card has a date on it. And in History 101, you have to put the cards into the right order. Chronologically speaking, that is. On your turn, another player draws a card for you. And you have to point at the spot in the timeline where it goes. If you are right, the card stays. If it’s wrong, you get a strike - and three strikes eliminates you from the game.
History 101 is easy at first with just a few cards in the timeline, but the more you play, the longer the timeline grows and the harder it is to insert cards into the right place. Before long, you are splitting hairs... Which came first: MTV or Cirque de Soleil?
3. DEBATE CLUB
Sometimes you just have to talk it out. In Debate Club, one player starts out as the Critic and selects an opinion card for the round - like Which should be required in schools? Then everyone else picks the best culture card match from their hand and then makes a quick argument in their own defense.
The Critic picks the winning argument - and that player gets a bonus card in their hand. But the Critic also picks the worst argument - and that player is knocked out and joins the Critic. By the end, everyone but the last two players has joined the ranks of the Critics, who all judge the final debate.
4. HEAD TO HEAD
This is our high-tension speed variant of The Metagame for three players. Each round, two of the three players duel it out, keeping one hand behind their back. The third player deals out a column of opinion cards and the two duelists use their one free hand to take cards from their deck and frantically put them in front of the best matching opinion cards.
Speed matters, because the slower player isn’t allowed to play their last card. When the dust has settled, the third player judges each match in the column and the next duel begins. You play three rounds, keeping score, with each player serving as judge once.
A Metagame with a bit more depth, in Metaquilt you build a crazy-quilt of culture. The trick is that each card you play has to match all of the cards it touches. Which says more about gender? might be found next to The Barbie Doll, Vagina Monologues, and The Moustache.
Every time a card is played into the Metaquilt, if someone thinks they have a better move, they can make a challenge. A mini-debate ensues, with the rest of the players voting on the winner. The goal is to get rid of all of your cards. Getting there will definitely test your strategic and verbal smarts.
6. MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER METAGAME
Like the name says, this Metagame is for parties and big events. We have played Massively Multiplayer Metagame with thousands of people at conferences - and it works! Each player gets a handful of cards to start and your goal is to win the most cards from other players.
At any time during your Massively Multiplayer Metagame gathering, someone can present an opinion card as the start of a debate. Two nearby players who think they have good matches can present their cards and bystanders vote on the winner, who gets to take the loser’s card.
Get into mental sync with your partner. You can play this as a collaborative game for two, or as a team-based contest. In both versions, the gameplay is the same. You and your partner turn over an opinion card and two culture cards. Without discussing it, on the count of three you simultaneously point at the culture card that makes the best match.
If you both chose the same card, you level up! That means you both have to pick the same card out of not two but THREE culture cards. And then four, and then five. If you can think-alike at five cards before your opinion cards run out (or before the other teams beat you there, if you are playing the team version), you win.
8. WHAT THE WHAT
A Metagame inspired by frantic communication games like Taboo and Monikers. In What the What, you have a minute to help a partner guess as many culture cards they can. You can say anything you want - except for any of the words that appear on the card. Each player gets to give clues once and guess clues once. And the team that guessed the most cards wins.
9. GET A CLUE
If you like tricky guessing games like Charades and Dixit, Get a Clue is the Metagame for you. Each round, one player picks a card from their hand and gives a clue for it - a clue that can’t be too obvious or too obscure. The rest of the players each select the best culture card match from their hand, and then the cards are shuffled and spread out.
Everyone has to guess which card was the one that originally inspired the clue. And you get points for whoever picked your card. But if everyone guessed the original card, then the clue was too darn obvious - and the clue-giver doesn’t get any points! Get a Clue is a subtle Metagame that’s curiously addictive.
10. SPECIAL OCCASION
To round out our ten Metagames: the fast-paced and hilarious Special Occasion. Each round, one player picks a special day in their life - some occasion where they would be getting presents. Maybe it’s their 10th birthday party, or perhaps they are recovering the morning after a barroom brawl.
Everyone else picks the card from their hand to that they think would make the best present for the moment. The player who named the occasion picks the best (and worst) presents, which score for whoever played them. Once around the circle and the player who scored the most wins.
Whew! So many Metagames, so little time. And there’s nothing stopping you from exercising your inner game designer and making up your own. Definitely drop us a line if you invent your own Metagame. I’d *LOVE* love to see what you come up with!
Signing off with a quote from a party game superstar:
And finally: You guys are awesome for supporting the Games Expansion! There's only a few days left, so please help us spread the word—and if you think there are websites/blogs/communities we should reach out to - let us know!