Whick of your friends would be the most likely to do something -- or the least likely? Knowing the answer to this, or knowing how someone else will answer, is the key to Party Pooper, a game from Out of the Box Publishing.

Out of the Box also published Apples to Apples, and Party Pooper shares a key element with that earlier game: One player acts as a judge each round (in Party Pooper they're "the host"), and the other players (in Party Pooper they're "the guests") try to guess how the host will make a decision.

At the start of each round of Party Pooper the host rolls a six-sided die that will come up either "Party Pooper" or "Party Animal." The host then draws a card which has a situation on it. The host has to decide which player -- including themselves -- would either be most likely to do what the card called for (if "Party Animal" was rolled) or would be the least likely to do it (if "Party Pooper" was rolled.) The guests decide who the host will choose. When everyone is ready, the judge says "One... two... three... point!" and everyone points at their pick. Every time a guest picks the same person as the host, that guest and the host each get a plastic chip. Then the person to the host's left becomes the new host. After a certain number of rounds where each player gets to be the host the same number of times, whoever has the most chips wins.

Party Pooper is fun -- with some qualifications. As with many party games you need to know the other players -- friends or family members work best -- to do more than blindly guess. Unlike Apples to Apples, players can't discuss what they think the best answer is. My biggest problem is the pointing: Anyone who pauses half a second can change their pick, resulting in more arguments and accusations of cheating than fun party antics. (I find it easier to have people write down their picks.)

But Party Pooper does provide some lighthearted fun. There are 400 question cards, so you can play a large number of games without repeating questions. The question cards are almost all family-friendly (though with my niece and nephew playing we skipped a card about nude sunbathers), and the situations presented are more silly than potentially insulting. Party Pooper has its flaws but is an enjoyable little party game.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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