Over the holidays, I attended a party and was asked if I had any fun party games to bring on over. Given that there were going to be about 15 people at this event, I knew I needed something that scaled well. We’ve played Dirty Bag O’ Nouns before, but I wanted something different. Since I religiously watch/read the fantastic videos/articles over at Shut Up & Sit Down, I’m well aware of the fact that they love “Two Rooms and a Boom” – a game that was first introduced to the world through Kickstarter and has since grown in popularity.
Ah, Kickstarter. So much promise, mostly a sea of garbage. Don’t get me wrong, Kickstarter is great for getting your fledgling artisinal miniatures game into the hands of those people who shit themselves for fledgling artisinal miniatures games with no hopes of ever being played, but for the most part, I haven’t seen a whole lot of awesomeness come out of Kickstarter. Even that hugely controversial movie by that guy from Scrubs was mediocre.
But wait, Two Rooms and a Boom is print and play, so you don’t actually have to go and give anyone any money at all. I feel bad just printing and playing another person’s game/hard work, but if they really want me to try it out as soon as possible, well, who am I to argue against them? I printed out the game and brought it with me to the party. Did it go over well? We’ll get to that.
In Two Rooms and a Boom, you hand out cards that identify the individual as either on the red team or the blue team. One red team member is the bomber, and one blue team member is the president. Every person is then placed into one of two rooms. The individual rooms elect a leader, the leader chooses a number of individuals in their rooms to exchange with the other room, and then you repeat this a few times until you come to the end of the game and find out if the bomber is in the same room as the president. If so, the red team wins. If not, the blue team wins. You don’t have to ever disclose which team you’re on. You CAN do so, but it’s entirely up to you.
We played twice. The game can be explained in 3 minutes, but I still felt compelled to moderate the first game to make sure everything ran smoothly. Watching the game click with everyone was great fun, but it was the second game that I really enjoyed. In the previous game, everyone in both rooms had pretty much shown everyone else their cards. I chose not to tell anyone anything about my affiliation. I was on the red team, but for the first round played like I was on the blue team. I finally revealed my affiliation when it was evident that the red team had taken over the room. I tried in vain to get sent to another room, but it didn’t work. Ultimately we lost when we tried to second guess whether the other room would send the President into our room. Does any of that make sense? You’ve got to play it for it to click, but when it does, it’s a good party game.
Would I play it again? Yes, but I will need to add in the multiple variant roles to keep it interesting. We also didn’t play to 5 rounds, which I think would have made the game much more tense and difficult for both parties, as the rooms would have to get rearranged significantly throughout the game. We found that the game got a bit boring if you got stuck in an opposite colour room, so having some different roles would be better.
I liked this game, but I’m not sold on it becoming a staple in a party setting just yet. There’s tons of interaction, but it can be of the intimidating variety. The stronger personalities can easily dominate the game, and that leaves some of the more passive individuals with little to do. The best thing about this game is that it’s over in 15 minutes if you want it to be. It was very easy to get people to play the game when I told them that if they didn’t like it, we would be playing something different in a quarter of an hour.
Go print and play the game while you still can! Two FREE games in two weeks! I’m on a roll! Next week: my favourite party game AND it’s free as well!