Fair warning before you read on: as you may have noticed from the title of this review, this game involves a lot of swearing. While all possible effort has been made to make this review as accessible as possible, we feel it’s only fair to advise you that if swearing offends, it’s probably best not to read on. This game is marketed as ‘18+’ due to the high volume of swearing.
You know that moment when, while drinking with good friends, you all kind of run out of interesting things to talk about. There is always more BS to spin, of course, but wouldn’t it be better if you could avoid another painful/emotionally drunk recount of your mate’s recent breakup with whats’erface or a game of “never have I ever”?? Of course it would be! And that’s the time when F**k. The Game flies in to save you!
The rules to F**k can be learnt in under five minutes and games last about 15 minutes – roughly as long as it takes to finish a game of snap. Each player is dealt 10 cards, but they are not allowed to look at them. Instead, when it is your turn, you blindly flip a card from the top of your hand onto a central pile. Each card has a word, a background colour, and a text colour. If the word is the name of a colour written in black text, you must say the background colour of the card. If the word is the name of a colour written in anything other than black, you must say the text colour. If the word is any swear word apart from f**k, you must say the swear word. Finally, if the card says f**k you must NOT say f**k. Never can you say f**k. Instead, you must treat any card with the word f**k on it the same way you would treat a card with the name of a colour on it, that is, if the text is in black, say the background colour, if the text is coloured, say that colour. If you stuff it up, you must take all the cards in the central pile. If a player is taking too long to say the correct word, the other players may compete to slap their hands on the central pile. Whoever does this first may deal two cards out to other players, then the player who failed to answer correctly must take the rest of the pile. This rule tends to make things a bit chaotic, as players are likely to have very different ideas regarding how long is too long – though rarely did this break the flow of the game.
One of the very first things I noticed about F**k is that its central mechanic also features in a Nintendo DS game, namely Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old is Your Brain. It seems that F**k has been designed to actively challenge your brain – but in a way that nearly all players are equally likely to struggle with. This seems to build that feeling of comradery through shared adversity, which features commonly in good party games. F**k provides enough challenge to make things fun and engaging, without making you feel like too much of an idiot when you stuff things up.
F**k: The Game provides three or four extra rules to make things a little more complex, and when I played, our group felt quite comfortable adding this ‘Level 2’ strategy rule after only one game of F**k. While these extra rules did make the game slightly more difficult, they felt fairly unnecessary. The base game stands well on its own without extra rules. Plus, it is the kind of game that could very easily be modified with house rules if you wanted to make things more difficult.
Although the minimalist graphic design of both the box and cards is sleek and functional, the quality of the card stock of F**k is questionable. Clearly visible along the edge of each card is evidence of perforations, where the cards have clearly been popped out of a large sheet after printing. While I would not bother to mention this if I were previewing a game, F**k: The Game retails at $25 AUD, and at that price I would expect higher quality cards.
Edit : Since this review was published, I have had the chance to sample some final print quality cards, and this issue has been rectified. The quality of a new deck of F**k cards feel and look industry standard.
While F**k: The Game does not have to be played while drinking, I found it was the best environment for this game to be played. Much like Cards Against Humanity, Superfight, and other games of the burgeoning politically-incorrect-party-games genre, F**k: The Game is best played loud and proud. It is a game that feels akin to other drinking card games – such as adult snap, bullsh*t, or spoons. So it makes for great fun in these environments. However, as a regular player of more complex and strategic board and card games, I cannot really see myself wanting to play this during a board game day or at a con. However, that does not detract from the awesome fun this game can be with the right group of people, at the right time.