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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Love 2 Hate Cards Against...

Love 2 Hate: A Party Game for Inappropriate People is a game with a problem. It is not at it is a bad design or a bad game, but rather that the game looks very much like another. Published by Green Ronin Publishing following a successful Kickstarter campaignLove 2 Hate is described as the party game of finishing sentences. The game is very simple. One player—the Judge—draws a Sentence Starter card and decides on the sentence that he wants and reads it
out. The other players each select a Finisher card which they think best completes the sentence, whether they think it the most appropriate, most inappropriate, or the funniest. These are passed to the Judge who shuffles them and after reading them out declares which Finisher card best completes the sentence. Whomever played that card is awarded the Sentence card towards his victory total.

For example, Helena is the Judge and reads out the Sentence Starter card, “I love the way Goths…” In response, Dave plays the ‘Dribble’ Finisher card, Jeremy plays the ‘Are what Sausages are made of’ Finisher card, and Louise plays the ‘Lost the Keys to Handcuffs’ Finisher card. These are passed to Helena, who after shuffles the cards, reads them out in random order. They read… “I love the way Goths are what Sausages are made of”, “I love the way Goths lost the keys to handcuffs”, and “I love the way Goths dribble”. After some deliberation, Helena decides that “I love the way Goths are what Sausages are made of” is the funniest and awards Jeremy the Sentence card. He wins the round and adds the Sentence card towards his victory total.

Play continues like this until one player is awarded five Sentence Starter cards and so wins the game. Throughout, each player has a hand of five Finisher cards that is refreshed from one round to the next, so each player always has something to make a choice from. Designed for three to eight players, aged fourteen and up, Love 2 Hate can be played about half an hour or so…

Now Love 2 Hate is like two other games. The first is like Apples to Apples, whilst the second is Cards Against Humanity. In both games, the aim of the game is to win the most rounds by playing an answer card from a player’s hand to best ‘match’ a round’s communal question card. Now Apples to Apples is regarded as a family classic, whilst Cards Against Humanity is something of a bête noire in the hobby, as the tone of its cards live up to its subtitle—‘A party game for horrible people’. In fact, some will go as far as to regard Cards Against Humanity as not a game, but an excuse to be profane, rude, and tasteless. Then again, the clue is in the subtitle.

Now whilst Love 2 Hate: A Party Game for Inappropriate People is mechanically the same as those other games, it is different in two important ways. First, every Sentence Card gives two options—“I love the way…” and “I hate the way…”—so extending the life of the Sentence Cards and thus the game itself. Second, and in some ways, more importantly, the tone is different. Exactly how is indicated by the choice of adjective—‘inappropriate’ rather than ‘horrible’ people. The cards are specifically written not to ‘be in your face’ offensive or indeed in some cases, as political. Funny, inappropriate, and improper, but not inoffensive, so thus suited to a slightly older audience which probably could include your mother.

The design of Love 2 Hate: A Party Game for Inappropriate People is tried and tested, but is it a good game? Like all games of its ilk, the humour and the fun only lasts so long, essentially until most of the Sentence Starters have been presented and the Finishers seen and combined. Similarly, it is a game that refreshes itself when played with groups new to it. Ultimately, Love 2 Hate: A Party Game for Inappropriate People is a solid game, a decent party game using a recognised design, but unfortunately, it is never going to escape comparison with games that use the same format.