Board Game Review: “ROFL!”

I’m not really a Twitter guy. I have one, but I rarely check it unless something out of the ordinary happens. A couple months ago, however, I was on the site posting a link to my latest review when I saw a tweet from John Kovalic pop up. (You know, the guy who does most of the art for the Munchkin games? Never played those? Go fix that!) It seems that he had designed a new party game and was looking for people to play it and write up reviews. Now, I have very few delusions of grandeur, but I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring anyway…and they sent me a copy! It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this up and posting it, mainly because you need at least three people to play, but here it is: John Kovalic’s ROFL!

The goal of the game is to get your message across in as few characters as possible. Yes, it’s a game for people who grew up texting those annoying abbreviated things like “r u hom?” that have destroyed our ability to spell properly. Since I’m a bookworm, I never allowed myself to sink to those depths, which serves as something of a disadvantage now in playing this game but is a trade I will happily make. Game play goes like this: Everyone is out for themselves, unless you manage to make a team thing work. That could be difficult though. One person shows everyone else (without looking himself) a phrase or message that they have to try and communicate with as few characters as possible. Everyone is equipped with a dry-erase board and marker with which to write, and given thirty seconds to work. At the end of the thirty seconds, the writers take turns showing the guesser their boards starting with the person with the fewest characters so that he can try and figure out the message. The messages can be movie titles, quotes, song titles and/or lyrics, common sayings, almost anything. The result is much more fun than I’m making it sound, I promise….

My wife and I both enjoyed it, as did my siblings when we played it at Christmas. My wife took it to school and had the Yearbook class she teaches play it during their party celebrating a deadline they’d met, and I’m told it was “quite a success” with the kids. Will older folks find the same enjoyment? I don’t know. Probably depends on their relationship with their cell phone and the whole texting thing. It’s really ideal for teens and up, as younger kids may have trouble with the concept or some of the references. Some of the cards are mildly ribald, such as asking you to communicate the phrase “Like A Virgin” or “Her Milkshake (Brings All The Boys To The Yard).” Not offensive, I hesitate to even use the word raunchy, but…you may find yourself having an awkward conversation if some of your players are too young.

On the whole, this is an easy game to learn, and very fun. I would recommend dispensing with the timer the first time you play, just so people can learn with less stress, but other than that it works incredibly well out of the box. The boards don’t erase perfectly, so you may need to gently wash them or something eventually, (I haven’t tried yet) and I imagine that the dry-erase pens will need replaced someday, but consumable parts in a board game are nothing new–think of the clue sheets in Clue or the slips of paper in Balderdash–my family ran out of both ages ago. You make do and carry on.

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