Friday , March 1 2024
Better gaming through democracy.

Party Game Review: iMAGiNiff

A party game from Buffalo Games, iMAGiNiff can be summed up in the words “knowing people.” Unlike many party games which are about getting to know someone, iMAGiNiff is all about already knowing this someone to the point a player could answer a grocery store magazine-style quiz about him or her. While philosophers may argue that we cannot ever truly understand one another, iMAGiNiff counters with the principle of democracy — we may not know exact truth, but we can share it enough to get along.

The idea of the game is simple: those who agree get the points. Setting up a round is quite simple — everybody picks a token, places it a Start, and gets a deck of cards labeled one through six to lock in their votes. Eight names are written around the edge of the board and are the targets of the votes. The instructions suggest writing the names of each player in the blank then filling the extra spots with “family members, mutual friends, co-workers, celebrities, pets… whatever!” As with any game, there is room for house rules, and personally, we fill up the spaces with non-attending friends since nothing is as much fun as gossiping behind another person’s back.

Evil aside, using the names of the sitting players has the advantage of learning what people think of each other. If a player imagines himself something of a “Chandler,” and he’s really more of a “Ross,” this is an excellent time for him to learn why he is not seen as he thinks he is. It could be a great chance for improving self-perception and, where lacking, take up new actions to re-create oneself. Or, somebody could get in a huff and storm out, but that is probably not the friend to play party games with in the first place.

Once the spaces are chosen, iMAGiNiff begins its applause of democracy by stating that players “Decide who goes first by any democratic process.” At each turn, a player checks the deck to see whether the card is a Question Card or a Pick-A-Player Card. With the first, the player rolls the die, moves the question marker either way (potential strategy), and reads the quiz: “iMAGiNiff ____ were a card. Which would he/she be? 1. Birthday, 2. Sympathy, 3. Business, 4. Library, 5. Credit, 6. Trading” or “iMAGiNiff ____ were a famous captain. Which would he/she be? 1. Captain Kirk, 2. Captain Jack Sparrow, 3. Cap’n Crunch, 4. Captain Morgan, 5. Captain Hook, 6. Captain America.” Players choose a one thru six card, lock in their votes, then flip. Those who match move forward a space since democracy rules. Nineteen agreements later, a winner gets to the center space.

The other possibility, Pick-A-Player, causes a different type of question. Rather than rolling a die to find a question-victim, the players choose from the eight names on the board. “iMAGiNiff we were famous cars. Which player would be KITT, from Knight Rider?” or “iMAGiNiff all of us were siblings. Which player would go to Mom and always tell on everyone else?” Once again, agreements win.

Note that some players have unfair advantages of long-term friendships, marriages, or other conditions that make them think the same. Forcing them to play with a handicap may be a viable option.

iMAGiNiff is a great party game. It has the given parameters of using three to eight players (a small party, the kind where party games flourish), people ages twelve and up (about the time people begin serious social discernment), and lasts approximately 35 minutes (just long enough to keep players occupied, but not so long that anyone would turn down the suggestion, “How about a second round?”). Even alone, the cards could be a single-player game describing oneself as we do with so many online quizzes but without wasting electricity on a computer screen, which can be saved for reading more reviews.

Footnote: “iff” is often use in logic study to represent “if and only if.” This has great potential as an extremely nerdy running gag. Use with caution.

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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