Welcome to Table Top Terrors! In this monthly series we’ll help you recreate some of the terror, tension, and fun of scary stories by examining what the world of tabletop gaming has to offer horror fans. We’ll look at boardgames, card games, pen and paper RPGs, and miniature war games. We’ll offer reviews, insights, and tips on how to create an immersive and awesome game night.
Blue Oyster Cult’s biggest hit urges its listeners to “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” and that’s a pretty good philosophy most of the time. This month though Nightmare on Film Street is taking that idea one step further; we’re not fearing the Reaper, we’re partying with them! That’s right! April is “Reaper Madness” month; a thirty day celebration of horror stories that feature death as an entity and examine the mind expanding and sometimes reality warping power of drugs.
So for this month’s Table Top Terrors I chose a game that reminds you of the best way to act around Death; make sure you’re at least one step ahead of them, and ready to laugh at the sometimes ridiculous and ironic way they reap souls. We’re going to look at University Games Stupid Deaths. We’ll examine the games simple mechanics and offer some tips to maximize its fun. We’ll also help you party on with themed refreshments and music that celebrates both aspects of Reaper Madness month.
Stupid Deaths is a game for 2-6 players where they travel from one end of the board to another trying to stay ahead of the Grim Reaper, who is hot on their heels and looking to collect their souls. They do that by listening to an outrageous anecdote about Death’s misadventures throughout history and deciding whether the incident is true or false. So there are two ways to win. You can be the first player to reach the game’s finish line (a red skull and crossbones space) or you can be the last player standing after the others are caught and cut down by the Grim Reaper.
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The game begins with all player pawns starting in the green skull and crossbones space at the bottom of the board and the Death pawn at the red space at the top of the board. The oldest player is the first person to take the role of the reader. They read a card that has a person’s name, the year they were born, the year they died, and a little bit about their life and their demise. For example, one card talks about the death of the Mughal Emperor, Humayun; a man with a reputation for being a civilized and devout ruler who met his untimely end by by trying to kneel at the top of a staircase with an arm full of books when he heard the call to prayer.
Players then vote on whether the information on the card is true or false, and the the reader reveals the results. Each player that voted correctly gets to move one space towards the finish line. Each player that voted wrong moves Death one space towards them. So the more players you have, the more a factor the Grim Reaper becomes. The reader does not move at all, except if all of the players voted incorrectly. If that happens, they move their pawn two spaces towards the red finish space. Then the next round begins with a new player assuming the role of reader.
If Death lands on or passes a player’s pawn they have been captured by the Reaper are out of the game unless they still have their extra life token they received at the beginning. If they still have that, they earn a temporary reprieve by discarding the token and moving one space ahead of Death.
That’s Stupid Deaths! It’s a rather quick, but fun, and funny game. It can be especially quick with two players. That’s how me and my friend in my “bubble” recently played it. Unfortunately for her, she’s not great with trivia and it can be one of my super powers. So I often ended up moving when I was the reader and she was the reader, which meant the game was over rather quickly, and we didn’t have to worry too much about Death. Also, both of us were sober.
So, if you truly want to maximize the fun potential of Stupid Deaths we encourage you to really get into the “Madness” part of this month. If you have several friends that you can get together safely with for some responsible and adult fun do it! It might make the Stupid Death cards even funnier and the game more challenging.
“[Stupid Deaths] reminds you of the best way to act around Death; make sure you’re at least one step ahead of them, and ready to laugh at the sometimes ridiculous and ironic way they reap souls.”
Our thematic refreshments this month should help you do that while keeping the grim and goofy spirit of your party alive. Our first recommendation is this easy to make and tasty alcoholic concoction, a Grim Reaper Cocktail, from A Healthy Life for Me. Our next pick is a snack for those who prefer their “highs” in the form of a tasty, edible treat. Try these Red Velvet Dagga Brownies courtesy of Stoned Citizen.
Music may be the final part of our party plan, but it’s a vital one because it keeps a party going and flowing. For our Reaper Madness party you need some songs that capture both aspects of this month’s themes. So, I put together this rockin’ “Party with the Reaper” Spotify playlist. It features a multitude of songs about death and the Grim Reaper. Plus, a number of them are from bands whose sounds are best enjoyed with a little bit of the Reefer like; High on Fire and Monster Magnet.
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