Over the past couple of years, I have mentioned the “T-Shirt Game” multiple times in comparative blogs, but hadn’t yet reviewed the game all on its own. Given how much I enjoy this game, this seemed like a tragedy that really did need to be rectified.
The first time I ever played this game was at a “Game with the Wenches!” event at Gen Con 2010. I had never heard of the game before then, but the gal running it was really enthusiastic about it, and described it as being like “Apples to Apples”. So with a couple minutes of explanation on the finer points of the game, we were off, and lots and lots of laughter ensued. One of my close friends owns a copy of this game, and since then it has been a favorite to travel with us. We even took it out to the drive-in one night and sat around in lawn chairs, playing on the top of the cooler, while we waited for the first movie to start.
So what is this game? It’s a party game where the leader for the round picks the submitted card that they like best and that player gets points. I know that doesn’t sound super exciting, but the fun starts with the match ups that are being made.
In the T-shirt Game, the leader for the round flips over a T-shirt card to get things started. The t-shirt shows an image, but that’s it. Then, each player picks a card from their hand. Each card has a phrase on it, and they are tasked with picking the phrase they think will best caption the t-shirt’s image. The leader then gets to pick which phrase they like best, typically the one that got the biggest laughs, and that player receives points.
The scoring on this game is silly as well. Instead of simply receiving one point for every card of yours, the judge picked, you draw a card off a deck of scoring cards and read what it says. The text is usually something funny about your shirt, and listed underneath there is a point value. These values are random, so you could be quite a bit behind and jump forward in a hurry, or the opposite could happen: you keep winning rounds, but never get very many points at all. While the random scoring is silly and fun, it is my one complaint against this game, because it can cause the game to drag on a little too long if you have a bunch of low point cards in a row.
I find this game to be infinitely funnier than Apples to Apples. But really, I think this game has an unfair advantage in that department. In Apples to Apples you are pairing a noun card with an adjective card. Any laughter that comes from that has to be pretty hard fought for. Here you are matching a silly picture with some already silly phrases. This game was designed with laughter in mind.
So I think it goes without saying that my final opinion of this game is a good one. This has been a favorite in this category of game for a long time, and I think it’ll retain it’s title as the reigning king of comparison word games for a long time to come.
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