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Party Game Review: Privacy

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Initially, Privacy from Fundex seems an overwhelmingly complicated party game. Its instruction sheet folds out to six panels with diagrams and examples, its box comes in sections, and there are multitudinous cards and folders. However, after only a few minutes of play, the game becomes straightforward and one of the best party games we have ever experienced.

Privacy has the cleverest box design I have seen. The outer box is just a container, slipping apart in two pieces to reveal the combination ballot box and card container. On one end, there is an opening for the contents. Empty it out and flip the box over to reveal a slot for sliding in answer. After players fill it with cards, the ballot box is raised and a slide empties the answers automatically into a pile for the revealing truth about the party of guests.

Niftiness of the box aside, Privacy proves to be a blast. The learning curve is easily traversed with each player receiving a Voting Card and an Answer Card, both of which fit into envelopes with display holes for secrecy. The youngest player goes first (a Fundex mainstay), picking up a Question Card and asking something like, “Have you ever had lice?” All players cast their answer whether “yes” or “no” and put them into the ballot box. Then each player guesses how many players answer “YES.”  When all players have voted, the answers are revealed and counted, and the people with the correct guesses on their Voting Cards win a point. Ten points wins the game.

One of the great facets of Privacy is the versatility. It is a very simple game mechanically, but the possibilities are endless. The Question Cards are designed with four questions and a number at the bottom of each, double-sided for maximum question possibility. The previously drawn card now resting in the discard pile determines the next numbered question to ask, creating a random chance where anything could happen. Some questions are innocent and may lead to good stories, such as “Have you ever locked yourself out of the house?” or “Have you ever fallen asleep at work?” Other questions are downright explosive, like “Have you been to an X-rated movie in a theatre” or “Do you believe traffic laws don’t apply to you?” That last one provoked a stern, several-minute rant; others more fascinated giggles. Further questions are quite deep, for example “Do you think there’s such thing as a devil?” or “Do you blame your parents for some of your problems?” Games can turn parties into uproarious storytelling, shocking revelations, deep conversations, or just about anything. Best of all, the answers are delivered in secret, letting everyone know that someone has done this, but not who, unless the person wants to let slip.

Privacy is recommended for two to eight players aged 12 and up, which is appropriate as younger players would not see much significance in many of the more adult questions. The game proves to be more fun with more people, and all the convoluted cards suddenly seemed too few when we had more people wanting to join in. With the recommended 10 points to win, rounds can take an hour or so, less if people choose to set the bar lower, or it could go all night long with everyone a winner.

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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.