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Taking the unsettling and making it fun!

Party Game Review: ‘Heebie Jeebies’ from Zipwhaa Games

heebiejeebiesboxHeebie Jeebies from Zipwhaa Games makes the things that creep, spook, or gross people out into a fun social game of deducing what people hate most. Everyone has something that particularly unnerves them, and the trick to winning is to know what that thing may be.

Heebie Jeebies works off a secret voting mechanic that is often seen in party games since it works so well. Players take turns being the “subject,” and each player receives a hand of cards numbered one through four that they use to select which Heebie Jeebie card freaks out the “subject” the most. He or she is passed a board and draws four cards to place in its slots. Cards come in a wide variety of worrying things, from Commitment to Sitting on a Dirty Toilet Seat to Stitches to Being Attacked by Angry Bees and Wasps.

The rest of the players, the “voting players,” choose which number card weirds out the subject most. Once all players have their numbers in hand, the subject reveals the answer. Those who chose correctly get a token worth a point. Players race to be the first to receive 10 points through knowing their compatriots the best.

Typical games last about half an hour, but this can be adjusted downward for a quick game if time is limited, or expanded into a marathon of getting the jitters and willies.

Much of the fun of Heebie Jeebies is its after-round aspect of talking with one another. A voting player who is shocked that the subject is more grossed out by Reality TV than by Cold Sores may ask for an explanation. Personal stories may come out about Overly Perky People, or it could just be an unexplainable emotional reaction to Slimy Mushrooms. A few cards might be genuinely triggering, in which case the card could always be discarded or a player could take a pass on his or her turn.

As the game continues, savvy players will use what they know of the subjects to maximize their points. Watch for a subject’s reactions to the cards as they are laid out, but be wary of subjects who may try to fake displeasure. With 260 cards featuring all kinds of horrible things, from A Stranger Hiding in Your Backseat to Working a Dead End Job, there is plenty to be afraid of (and plenty to laugh about!). Additional blank cards are available for customization, particularly if someone has a fun phobia they are willing to let be included.

Heebie Jeebies is a game for three to 10 players aged 13 and up. Some cards may be unsuitable for kids because of adult themes like Government Surveillance or philosophic complexity such as Monotony, but there is nothing particularly “adult” that parents would need to edit out of the deck before a family reunion. Heebie Jeebies serves as a great party game for people wanting to have a hilarious time getting to know one another more, as well as an ice-breaker or team-building exercise for office communities.

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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.

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