How Would You React? A Review of Awkward Moment
What do you do in awkward or embarrassing situations? Awkward Moment is a party game that explores reactions to various scenarios, from passing gas in public to getting your Facebook account hacked.
During each round, one player acts as the decider. The decider flips over a Moment card and a Decider card and places them face up on the table. Moment cards are the actual scenarios that you hypothetically find yourself in (e.g., "You get the lead in the school play but have terrible stage fright."). Decider cards determine the judgment criteria used by the decider (e.g., "Most surprising").
The other players then choose one of 5 Reaction cards in their hand that they believe best fit the scenario (e.g., "Pretend you're on Glee and break into a random musical number."). These cards are placed face down in front of the decider, who shuffles them, reads them aloud, and selects a winner. The winner keeps the Moment card and the decider role then passes clockwise to the next player.
The player who collects the most cards wins.
Awkward Moment is incredibly easy to learn and explores many hypothetical situations that you may not have ever thought of. And, importantly, it lends itself to a lot of fun and laughter when the right combinations arise. Yes, it's similar to Apples to Apples in its game mechanisms, but it is also unique in that it includes Decider cards to provide various judgment criteria. This increases the number of possible combinations and allows players to think about many different angles to each situation.
Since many of the situations are school-related, the game is an especially good choice for teenagers and college students. However, one important thing to note about this game is that it is intended to cause players to communicate about various social issues in the context of play. This is no secret, as the publisher (Tiltfactor, based out of Dartmouth College) aims to "change minds and behaviors for the better using fun and games." You can learn more about the lab and its goals here. While the game is largely about fun and laughter, be aware that it also can create some awkward moments of its own: "Your sister worries about going to your friend's house on a Native American reservation because she doesn't know 'how those people treat guests.'" You won't find sensitive topics like this in most other party games, but they are fair game here.
Another thing to note is that the end game is not defined in the rules. The rulebook states that "the player who has collected the most Moment cards at the end of the game is the winner!" but doesn't mention what triggers the end game. Basically, the game ends when the game ends. I originally believed this was a mistake, but who's to say it wasn't intentional? Struggling to find this detail in the rules created perhaps the most awkward moment of all. Well played, Tiltfactor, well played.
Pros: Fun and simple party game, potential for several funny moments, many rule variants included
Cons: Has an agenda beyond just having fun, important details missing from the rules
Full disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.