Theme and What is it?
*Note* Copy of the game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Shit Happens is a trivia party game where players assemble a tableau of horrible things. This list was assembled and ordered by a team of psychiatrists, counselors, and psychologists. Each player is asked if they can assemble a list of awful things from least to worst horrible. How well do you judge the icky around you? Let’s find out.
Similar to Timeline, Shit Happens uses a tableau building mechanic. In Shit Happens each player starts with three cards in front of them. Each cards has an event and a score on it. The scores go from 1 to 100, but are further divided by percentage points ie 48.3 and such. On your turn the player on your right draws a card from the 200 supplied in the base game. They read the event, everything from, “the radiator going out on the coldest night of the year,” to, “falling into a septic tank.” You then have to guess where in your personal conga line of awful the card fits in. If you are correct then you get the card. However, if you’re wrong then the player on your left gets to guess where the card goes in their array. If no one guesses correctly then the card is discarded and play moves to the left. The first player to ten cards in their array is the winner.
I like Timeline and enjoy the basic mechanics of this game. This made my initial impression one where I was excited to try a game where we all had our own arrays. However, I was not excited about the theme and thought that it would end up being a huge turnoff.
Game Build Quality
The cards are nice quality. I think they should hold up well to abuse and shuffling. The rules are pretty clear and easy to follow. Component quality here was very nice.
The art in Shit Happens reminds me of safety signs. With the black backgrounds and the bright yellow stick figures it stood out to me. While the style is minimal, it felt very appropriate here. Also, I think everything was easy to interpret. This helped the atmosphere around the game. I liked the art, and while I’m not going to hang it on my wall, I think it fits the theme very well.
This is sort of a party game where what you do and how you answer will be a large part of the fun. The game pushes the humor of the situations. How well that lands is going to be up to you and your personal sensibilities. This could have been called Schadenfreude the game. If that appeals to you, this might be what you’re looking for.
The box says it’s for 2+ players. Technically, that’s true. Technically, I don’t need a parachute to leap out of an airplane. While you can play it with two people, I’d shoot for a much higher count. Five to six seems like a good number.
Age Range & Weight
The box says 18+ and yep all the yep in all the world. While the mechanics aren’t that difficult, the content is well up there. We’re talking biting into a burger and finding a condom. This is a thing in the game. Kids will be able to follow the rules, but some folks will probably bulk at the theme and content where kids are concerned.
Where weight is concerned this is a light weight game. It’s a party game that would easily be played with a couple of drinks and some casual conversation.
There’s a lot to like about his game. I’ve always enjoyed Timeline and this game scratches the same itch with a couple of mechanics that I really like. I like everyone having their own array. This gives each player a nice starting point. Also, because you all have cards out there’s more information about where everything fits in.
There’s a nice tension when fitting cards into your array. If you miss the answer the next player gets to guess where the card goes in their array. However, they get the added information of where it didn’t fit into yours. Then if they miss the next player gets to guess and they now have even more information. This has a nice build up and ensures that the game doesn’t overstay its welcome. I’ve only ever see one or two cards go full around the table and no one get it right.
One of the other things I like about this game is the number of cards. There are 200 cards numbered from 1 to 100. This gives the game a nice breadth of choices and options. It’s unlikely that you’ll see the same card twice for quite a while. I like party games with a lot of options and cards; Shit Happen has quite a bit.
Unfortunately for me there are two things keeping this game from knocking it out of the park. First is the nature of the rankings. I realize they got a number of professionals to rank these things but it’s still a subjective system. I prefer Timeline since the date an event occurred on is pretty much set in stone. With Shit Happens you end up with a lot of edge cases. I know the rules tell you to picture the worst case scenario but that doesn’t actually make the problem better. For example, one of the card, “You furnace goes out on the coldest night of the year,” means something different based on how many space heaters you have, blankets, or even a fire place. Heck, there’s a difference between living in Ohio, Maine, and Florida. This is a problem for me.
The other problem I have is the theme. I said this game could have been called schadenfreude the game and I don’t think I’m wrong there. The theme was a huge turn off for me. I’d rather have dealt with something else.
That said, I like the game. I recommend it. Is it for me? Not really. Give it a chance and try it out somewhere far from children. If the sense of humor is your bag you may enjoy it. For me the theme was a bit more than I wanted to play with.