Games: Buffalo and Cinelinx

Our family is trying to institute a game night, or just play more games in general rather than watching television all the time. Some games are for all of us (two adults, three fairly young children). Some are just for the two grown-ups. Buffalo and Cinelinx are the latter.

Both are card games. Buffalo has two stacks of cards with random nouns and modifiers, and you have name someone who fits both categories. If you can't think of anyone, two more cards get set out and you have to name someone who fits at least two of the cards, if not more. You get to take the cards you "use," and the person with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. One rule is, though, that you can't use the same person twice.

I'll admit, this game stumped us a few times. But what made it especially tricky is the subjectivity of a lot of it. For example, two cards were: "Secret Society Member" and "Skinny." I said, "George Bush?" Then came the debate over whether he counts as skinny. "He's not fat," I reasoned. And so I was allowed to take the cards, but there's this sort of uneasy feeling that permeates the game. A lot of, "I guess so . . ." and shrugging.

Buffalo was okay, but I enjoyed Cinelinx a lot more. To be fair, I'm a movie buff and have a film degree, so this game might not be for everyone. There are a variety of cards with genres, actors, directors, quotes, and movie titles on them. Each person gets ten cards, and a genre is laid in the center of the table. Then you have to connect your cards, kind of like dominos. Like, if the genre is Drama, and you have A Few Good Men, you can connect the two. Or you can put Steven Soderbergh down as someone who directs dramas. Or a quote from Rain Man or whatever.

The game requires a fairly extensive working knowledge of movies. The quote cards don't say which movies they're from, so if it's something you don't recognize . . . Or if you have a movie card for something you've never seen . . . Luckily, there's an option to swap out cards, but it means losing a couple turns.

Ultimately, the goal is to have no cards left.

Both are good games. I think I'll come to enjoy Buffalo more with practice; it requires quick thinking. With Cinelinx, I feel more adept, plus you're taking turns, so you don't feel as rushed. It's not a matter of "who shouts first" like with Buffalo.

In any case, I would recommend either game as an addition to anyone's collection.

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