Table Top TableTopTakes

TableTopTakes: Stipulations

I’m going to tell you about this game but….

That’s basically how the games works, but Stipulations is one of those party games, up there with Just One, that I’ve had a lot of fun playing. For me, Stipulations falls nicely in between games like Balderdash and then games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, and is better than both of the groups, though, Balderdash is still enjoyable.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

In Stipulations you are trying to get “points” by writing down funny, interesting, weird, silly, thought-provoking stipulations to the thing that the person who is it picked. It’s very much like Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples that way, that someone is picking something, but like Balderdash, it requires your own creativity. Let’s give an example of how this works. I’m it, and I can pick one of the four options on my card, they are super power, lifetime supply, fulfilled dream, and dream job. I read over them and I decide that having the super power of flying seems like the most fun. Everyone else then writes down a condition for what I’ve picked. The answers come in and I can fly but….
Only when I’m farting
No more than 4″ off the ground
Only backwards
You don’t know how to land without crashing
Then I get to pick my favorite, or more specifically, according to the rules, I must pick the least desirable. Then you’d draw a bonus card that has you pick another one in a different way to award more points. At the end of the game the person with the most points win.

Let’s start out by talking about the points in this game. No one keeps track of points, or I should say, no one cares about points. This, like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, and Balderdarsh, are much more fun when people are just trying to be goofy about it and you don’t care about points. In fact, I don’t think that their “scoring” system works all that well. Picking the least desirable might make more thematic sense for the game, but I think that the game works better when the person picking picks their favorite, whether that’s the one that made you laugh the most, the least desirable, or the most desirable, but the chooser decides which one is the best based off of their own criteria. But, the least desirable is a good option, where it works less is drawing the extra scoring card. It can be something like, the one that made you laugh the most, that’s fine, but it might also be, the person who bought the game, that’s a stupid one, because, since I bought my copy, I’m always going to get that card if it happens to come up. I could just remove them, but I find that just picking one from the group of options just works better and keeps the game moving faster. Now, this might seem like a pretty long time talking about a negative, but it is a negative in basically all party games, and it doesn’t matter, because they are party games and you are meant to be having a silly fun time, if you care about the scoring, you care too much.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

The rest of the game actually works really well. I’ll talk a little bit about when I think it is placed between those two groups of games. With Balderdash or another one similar to that Liebrary, you’re coming up with something unique. You’re required to use your own imagination and I like that in those games. I think, though, that both Balderdash and Liebrary because they are based on something real, a real definition or acronym or a real first line of a book. With Stipulations, you are write down whatever you want, and if you are extremely silly, it’s in line with the game. Then, the selection criteria is very Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity like. But, Stipulations has one major advantage over both of them, you never make it through all the cards. In Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples, eventually you’ll see all the cards, and in peak Cards Against Humanity days, that would take about a week, because you’d play it twice for a long (too long) period of time and you’d make it through the cards. Once you’ve gone through the cards once or twice, you know all the jokes in both games, and some cards will automatically win because of the meta of your group. Compare this to Stipulations, the game can still be dirty, if you want, so it can be like Cards Against Humanity, but as a group you get to control that, and because there are no answer cards and you need to use your own creativity, that means you won’t get certain answers that are as likely to win. Sure, you can still create a meta in your group where an answer like “Bees!” will always win one card per game, but that is less of a guarantee.

For me, this is one of the best party games and I think because it was a kickstarter game before kickstarter games were cool, it’s flown under the radar. I also think because of the weird extra scoring card, it can seem like a little bit more work for groups. But, I really like this game, and with my minor tweak to scoring, I think it flows even better, but it isn’t bad the other way. If you’re looking for a party game where you can tailor it to the group you’re playing with, this is a great option, for a bachelorette party, you can make it as dirty as you want, and then you can take it and play with your Grandma at Thanksgiving. Now, I think that, and I’ve seen it happen, some people don’t like that they have to be creative themselves, but, I’ve also seen those people then join into the game at a later time, because they realize how simple and silly you can be with it, and you don’t need to be that clever. And even with one person never joining the game who was watching it played, they ended up having a lot of fun just laughing at the silly things that were written. Overall, it’s always been a fun time.

Overall Grade: A-
Gamer Grade: C
Casual Grade: A

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