“Apples to Apples” and “Crappy Birthday” are big hits in my house, as both (we feel) are casual games and a lot of fun to play. “Awkward Moment” is similar to the aforementioned games, moreso to the former. For those of you who haven’t played games of this genre, you are essentially choosing someone to be a judge. Players then submit a card or cards to the judge anonymously and whoever’s card gets chosen scores points. Of course, the rules vary depending on the game, but that’s the basic idea. Before we take a look at the rules and gameplay elements of this particular one, I’d like to thank Amanda Young from Tiltfactor for providing me with a free review copy.
Cards – There are 284 reaction cards, 100 moment cards, and 48 decider cards. Players will be using each card type in a specific way in the hopes of scoring points. Reaction cards contain, well, a reaction of some sort. Moment cards list out a particular scenario. Decider cards tell you who the moment card applies to.
Setup & Gameplay
Firstly, all of the cards are shuffled into their separate, respective decks. Next, players will need to figure out as to who will be the first “decider”.
During a game turn, the following steps are observed:
1) The decider ensures that all of the other players have five reaction cards.
2) The decider flips one moment card and one decider card face up on the table.
3) Secretly, each player submits one reaction card face down to the decider.
4) The decider shuffles the submitted reaction cards and chooses the best one to fit the moment and decider card on the table.
5) The player whose reaction card was chosen gets to keep the moment card for their score pile. The unused reaction cards and the decider card are discarded.
6) Each player draws to ensure that they have five reaction cards in their hands. Before the next round, players can discard their hand and draw five new reaction cards, if they wish to. Those who do must sit out the next round. A player can only make use of this once per game.
Play continues clockwise around the table. The manual didn’t seem to include a section that described when the game was supposed to end, but I’m assuming players can simply quit when they want to, or when the decider deck has run dry. The person with the most moment cards at the end of the game, wins!
The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how it is played. For more information, you can check out the manual and short promo video here:
The box insert was large enough to accommodate the cards and then some, which helped to prevent spill-overs when moving it around as a whole package. The cards were easy to shuffle, though with two hundred plus cards involved in the reaction deck, you may want an extra pair of hands. The manual was easy to follow, but failed to include winning and game ending conditions. Luckily, the game is freeform enough to where players can make up their own and quit when they want to. For a longer game, players can reshuffle the discard piles as the decks run out, just to name an example.
Before moving on to gameplay, I thought I’d quickly mention and applaud the game for having so many variants listed in the manual. I counted seven different variants for players to try, including “Double the Awkward, Double the Fun?”, “The Old Awkward Switcheroo”, “It’s Kind of an Awkward Story”, “Ackward-Acting”, “Choose Your Own Awkward”, “Awkward Momentum”, and “Decreasingly Awkward”. Each of them describes changes that are fairly significant. “The Old Awkward Switcheroo”, for example, has players drawing and submitting moment cards instead of reaction cards. “It’s Kind of an Awkward Story” encourages role-playing and story telling, for those of you who enjoy fictional writing. I won’t go into all of them, but they definitely add a lot of replay value to the base game.
In fact, coming up with our own variant is what made our play experience somewhat manageable. The moment and decider cards make “Awkward Moment” feel a bit more structured and on-task when compared to “Apples to Apples”. The group didn’t seem to care for the decider cards…they felt that they made things overly confusing and too specific. During one turn, we drew twenty different decider cards and none of them seemed to fit the situation at hand. After about ten turns, we decided to do away with the decider cards altogether and increased our reaction card hand limit to ten. This helped things a little, but I’m sorry to say that the majority of the group wanted to play “Apples to Apples” instead. Jennifer didn’t seem to find the cards funny, and the specific nature of the game kept us from being imaginative with the cards. It’s worth noting that our group is very sarcastic and witty…this is more than likely why games like “Say Anything” and “Apples to Apples” work better for us, as they encourage creativity.
At the end of the day, “Awkward Moment” is an interesting family-friendly card game that is worthy of your attention. Its small size makes it ideal for travel, especially when it’s going to be used for parties and/or vacations. The extra variants keeps things from getting dull, giving players a reason to bring out the box a second or third time. There is a bit of reading comprehension involved, so parents will need to decide if their kids are ready when considering the 12+ age recommendation. The price tag is listed at $19.00 (as of 7-22-13), which I feel to be fair and on par with other games of the genre. While our group didn’t particularly enjoy this game, that’s not to say that you won’t. “Awkward Moment” can be too specific for its own good I feel, but that shouldn’t stop you from at least giving it a once-over especially if you’re a fan of the genre.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Awkward Moment” by visiting the following websites: