You low-down bip bap scoodily doop varmint… yeah!
This is a little different as this time we’re going to talk about two games at once. Why? Well, Jazz: The Singing Game and Them’s Fightin’ Words! arrived together on the same day, are from the same (small, British) publisher, and are, at heart, basically the same game. As a result, Miss B and I figured that we could discuss them both in one post.
I also mentioned Them’s Fightin’ Words when it was running on Kickstarter, so I figured it would be good to report and let you know that the product was delivered. A little late, but still pretty quickly after the end of the Kickstarter.
So, you may remember playing a game as a kid (or, more recently, with the kids) where you build a list and have to remember all the items on that list.
“I went on holiday and I packed a toothbrush.”
“I went on holiday and I packed a toothbrush and a comb.”
“I went on holiday and I packed a toothbrush, a comb and a cuddly hippopotamus.”
…and so on until someone loses track.
Well, both of these games are built on that foundation, with a different theme and slightly different scoring mechanisms in each.
In Jazz, you take it in turns to play cards bearing nonsense scat words and try to remember everything played so far (“Bip doop badda bop scoodily yeah!”), if you fail, you take the pile of played cards and play restarts. Whoever has the fewest cards when all the cards run out wins. Plus you can play “extended solo” cards to get out of trouble and reset the pile.
In Them’s Fightin’ Words! the cards have parts of a Wild West insult which steadily gets longer and more ludicrous (“You dirty, milk drinkin’, dung smellin’, son of a milk drinkin’ snake oil salesman!”). This time there is no get out of jail free card, and anyone who goes wrong three times is out of the game.
The important thing with games like these is to accessorise so, for our plays, we both wore sunglasses or cowboy hats as appropriate to the theme.
We played Jazz first and it went well with lots of smiles, though at a couple of points Miss B got frustrated by the ever-growing list of nonsense to remember. The Extended Solo cards in this game are a serious boon, though, allowing you to take a break when things are getting really tough. Maybe they make it too easy for adult play, but you can easily remove them if you prefer.
The next day we tried Them’s Fightin’ Words. Whereas Jazz has you choosing a card from your hand, TFW just has you flipping a card from your deck on each turn, which leaves you feeling that you don’t have any choices to make. But on the other hand, Miss B just found the game hysterically funny. This did mean that the game got louder and shriller as we progressed (especially when we started calling each other a low-down biscuit) but rarely have we had as much laughter in a game. In fact, where we usually end up shortening games, this time we extended play by going to six points instead of three.
We’re really happy with these games, and I look forward to using them as a filler with adult players (especially late night, with booze involved). I don’t think we really need to have both in the collection, but we will keep them just for the fun value. All very silly.
The verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 7): “I liked wearing my sunglasses indoors. That was silly as well, but not quite as silly as Them’s Fightin’ words! This time I gave it an 18 out of 20.”
The game: Jazz the Singing Game (7/5 games), 1 to 10 players aged 8+.
The other verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 7): “It was a really good game because it was really funny. I really liked the Cow Pie card. Here’s an example of what it could have been: You son of a milk drinkin’, dung smellin’, namby pamby, lily livered cow pie! I give it a 20 out of 20.”
The other game: Them’s Fightin’ Words (7/5 Games), 2 to 6 players aged 8+.