A year ago, I wrote my take on the best games to play with non-gaming family.
R&R Games donated one of their new releases to a convention in Houston. When I showed it to a friend, he immediately told me how much fun it was. And he was right. Now, Strike a Pose has jumped directly onto my top five list in its category.
A good game to break out when surrounded by non-gamers should have enough going on that you as a gamer don’t mind playing it but its complexity is not out of the reach of your non-gaming social circle. With this in mind, I contend that four criteria are critical:
(A) The rules needed to play can be taught in three sentences or fewer.
(B) The components teach (or at least reinforce) the rules.
(C) The victory condition can be stated in one sentence.
(D) The game must contain an engaging dexterity or social component.
Let’s take a look at Strike A Pose against these criteria.
(A) Can you teach Strike A Pose in three sentences? Yup.
A selection of statues has been delivered to a museum. The curator has a list of the statues in the shipment but they arrived unlabeled! We will take turns being the curator, trying to identify all the other statues.
(B) Do the components of Strike A Pose teach or reinforce the rules? Yes, with a caveat.
The game comes with category cards, number cards and not much else. The main game component (if I may take a little bit of latitude with that term) are the players themselves. Players work to manipulate their bodies into an example of their assigned role.
A friend of mine remarked that he’d seen the game being played from across the room, asked someone nearby what was going on and immediately understood once they gave him a rules synopsis akin to the one I gave in part (A). His response? “Yeah, I see it now. That makes sense.”
When we include the players themselves in the component list, I would say that the components do reinforce the rules.
(C) Can you teach the Strike A Pose victory condition in one sentence? Easily.
Each round, the curator and each correctly identified statue get points.
Like many of the best games of this type, the real victory lies in simply having fun. In none of my plays have we actually kept score. We simply had a blast.
(D) What is the dexterity element in Strike A Pose?
In our effort to strike the best poses, we often found ourselves in ridiculously contorted positions. And we had to hold these positions. The Strike a Pose subgame is trying to figure out what each other player is modeling, all while holding your pose. And did I mention that gaming doesn’t really do much for the core muscles? Strike a Pose may actually be a new form of yoga disguised as a game.
I’ve played Strike a Pose with three different groups so far. In the last session, we roped in players simply by handing them a card and telling them the object. There was angst and victory. There was success and sorrow. There were straightforward poses and there were contorted poses to do Escher proud. And who would have thought that one of our group was a dead ringer for the muppet Grover? In all, Strike a Pose is fun. And that’s all we ask of a party game.
Have you tried Strike a Pose? What do you think of it? What’s your favorite game for non-gamers? Why? Share with your fellow readers in the comments below. And if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, create an account with WordPress and follow this blog. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.