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Party Game Review: Likewise!

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From Buffalo Games, Likewise! is “The Laughable, Lively, Like Minded Party Game.” Made for three to six players ages 14 and up, it takes the object central to democracy (agreement among a populace) and turns it into a competitive matching game. The premise is simple: a topic comes up, everybody writes a word, and those whose words match get a point. First one to eight points wins.

This is where I run into a problem. I’m not good at Likewise! I have a hard enough time knowing what I am thinking, let alone anyone else. Once I start trying to read people, it turns into second-guessing, and it’s just a muddle. Then again, that’s the point of the game: make up funny stuff and have a blast while people see who thinks alike. It’s not about the competition; it’s about having fun.

The game is played on white board paddles with dry erase markers. The rules suggest using tissues to clean them between rounds, but I think the inclusion of a square of sponge or a sponge-brush from a painting kit would be handier and a little more environmentally friendly. Six paddles each have their own color and cartoony expression (my favorite is the smirking guy; nerdy guy and froo-froo girl are also popular). They give a tone of frivolity that any good party should have.

Every round, the die is rolled, coming up with three types of “modes.” In “Likewise!” each player writes a word. In “Doodle!” each draws a picture. In “Wiseguys!” two people team up and swap ideas to try to guess the most popular answer to the topic. “Doodle!” is the best, so much so that my friends and I ended up tossing out the die and just doodling every time. Simple house rules because, hey, it’s my party, and I can doodle if I want to.

Once the mode is decided, the topic cards flip. One card is all adjectives while the other is nouns. For example, it might come up “Classy” and “Thing in a Car.” My answer would be wood paneling. Probably not going to score with that. For “Cheesy” “Animal” I’d put a mouse. That one might do all right. Everyone whose answer matches gets a point. Check out the How to Play video to see it in action.

Again, I’m worried more about winning than the fun of the game. With the widely usable components and a few house rules, any number of variations on fun can come up. The deck alone is a blast, just flipping cards in a sort of Dada movement to see what appears. “Pretentious” “Vegetable” was a great one. It works as a great source for plot devices or pushing creativity during those times of writer’s block.

So, while not a game for everyone, Likewise! serves its duties as a party game: breaking ice, getting people talking, and generally creating an all-around good time. The winning conditions in the instructions matches the mood: “first player to reach the winner circle is declared the be-all and end-all telepathic superstar! aka The Winner. *stand up and take a bow*.”

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.