“Oh, it’s one of those kinds of games. I think I’ll sit this one out.” was the first thing said by one of my players when I started explaining the rules to Gotcha. You see, Gotcha is one of those games where the rules are always changing, and the rules make you do silly things. This turned out to not be everyone’s cup of tea.
When I first opened the box, I was greeted by a giant plastic blue and red button. Turns out that this is the buzzer for the game, when you catch someone breaking the rules, you can buzz them out. So I trotted off to my junk drawer to find some batteries. Once supplied with batteries the buzzer gives off a long, continuous, “Bzzzzzzzz!” as you hold down the giant button. However, in the excitement of a game night, with over a dozen people running around, the buzzer seemed a bit quiet.
Once back to the table, I began sifting through the rules and then explained it to my small band of players. On your turn you draw a card and add it to your hand. Then you pick one card from your hand to play down. This might be the start of a rule, or the bottom of a rule, or a rule for an individual. The start of the rule dictates who the rule applies to, such as “everyone wearing short sleeves”. The bottom of the rule is what they must do, for example “must use finger quotes while speaking” or “must fist bump before playing a card”. When you find someone breaking a rule, you hit the buzzer and shout “Gotcha!”. The person who caught them breaking a rule gets two points, while the person who broke the rule loses one point.
Once we got through a game, my players were laughing and having a good time. They were enjoying the silly nature of the game, and asked if we could immediately play another round of it. I said sure, and so we reset the board and away we went. I looked at my hand and there was only one card that I hadn’t seen before. All of the others were seen during the previous game. I eyeballed the deck of cards, the box said there was 110 rule cards, and that looked about right. Why was I getting so many of the same card? My players and I flipped over the pile of cards and started rifling through.
The game comes with 32 Top Rule Cards, 34 Bottom Rule Cards, and 38 Individual Rule Cards. So what was the problem? The deck of bottom rule cards (what you have to do) was the same as the individual rule cards. So instead of 76 different rules, there was only 38 but you could get them in either form. So for me the second game wasn’t as fun. There just weren’t many new cards, and so we ended up doing a lot of the same stuff again and again.
In the end my players had a good time. They laughed and enjoyed themselves. However, we all agreed that the game needed to come with a larger deck of cards, because the game is less fun with each consecutive play. And what about the one player who sat out? After watching our antics, she was glad that she had. This kind of silly game play isn’t for everyone, but those of us that don’t mind making ourselves look silly seemed to enjoy it.
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