Game Review: Punderdome

Punderdome:  A Card Game For Pun Lovers, by Jo and Fred Firestone

[Note:  This game was received free of charge by Blogging For Books/Clarkson Potter in exchange for an honest review.]

I have never played “Cards Against Humanity,” but it is a game I have heard about often.  This is a game trying to replace that game in parties, or so it says on its box, but I do not get the feeling that this game would replace the other at all.  At least from what I understand from word of mouth, “Cards Against Humanity” is edgy and sometimes darkly humorous, while “Punderdome” is somewhat, well, punny and witty in a sort of dumb way.  This is the sort of game that is likely to be played by people at different parties than “Cards Against Humanity,” parties that are less edgy and less daring, and way more family friendly.  This is not a bad thing at all, but it is rather to say that this game aims at a different target, at dinner parties from people who would be offended by something that was too outré.  There is a market for such games, a fairly large market, and this game is aiming at it.  It reminds me, in fact, of a very punny person I happen to know in person who uses puns continually.  I happen to find the puns sometimes entertaining, even if many of them sound like the sort of puns I read in joke books as a child.

Rather than merely read the cards for myself, though, I played the game with a group of people, one of whom, a rather earnest teenager, read out the question and answer part of the cards for hours while making us guess the bad puns to answer the question.  Some of the puns were obvious, some were witty, and some were entirely incomprehensible.  The box itself contains 200 play cards an two pads for writing puns and more.  There are two ways you can play this game.  First, you can try to guess the pun that the card says, and second, you can come up with a pen that connects the two categories, like fighting and religion, or dancing and museums.  The 200 play cards are divided into two colors, green and white.  The cards offer a lot of room for people to make puns and draw odd connections, depending on the nature of their sense of their sense of humor.  There is a lot to like about it.  It’s a silly game, and a lot of the puns are likely to be terrible, both the ones that you guess and the ones that you make.  But that’s the way it works with puns—sometimes they draw a knowing grin and sometimes a groan, and sometimes even a shrug with a puzzled look on the face.

Admittedly, I do not review many games [1], but perhaps I should start reviewing more of them.  For one, this is a fun time, and it is the sort of game I would bring to an after church games night for myself and like-minded people.  And ultimately, that makes this game a success.  It’s a bit uneven at times, and not all of the puns make their mark, but the game offers enough structure as well as enough flexibility to encourage creativity and allow people to reveal themselves in the way they draw connections between seemingly disparate themes.  Being someone whose writing continually draws odd parallels between multiple themes, this is a game that plays to some strong suits held by some of my friends and acquaintances.  Apparently the card game is based on a live game show, and judging from the card game it seems like it would be an entertaining one.  All in all, there are plenty of reasons to appreciate and enjoy this game.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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