Never Have I Ever: The Game of Poor Life Decisions | Fanboys Anonymous

Never Have I Ever: The Game of Poor Life Decisions

Posted by Unknown Thursday, November 26, 2015
The words, "Never have I ever" have been spoken as a ritual during every prepubescent sleepover and drunken gathering of our young adult lives. A staple of debauchery in its prime, it often revolved around sexual encounters and shameful admissions but almost always barely scratched the surface of what we're all willing to admit. You can't have humility to play this game.

Never Have I Ever card game
Never Have I Ever: The Game of Poor Life Decisions

Never Have I Ever: The Game of Poor Life Decisions follows the structure of the classic party game, with an added twist. Someone draws a red card that gives you a rule to the round and then starts the sentence, "Never have I ever..." before detailing an embarrassing scenario. If you are not guilty of the Play card, you discard it; however if you are guilty, you get to keep it and the shame you are now forced to relive. Whoever is the first to have 10 cards in their pile wins—and is arguably not the person you want to bring home to your parents.

The bright orange box includes 550 cards (485 embarrassing Play cards and 65 Rule cards) and suggests exactly what it is: a game of poor life decisions. Each card forces you to own up to the awkward one-night stands, public bouts of indecent exposure and urination, and drunken messes you once became in your younger years (or are currently).

The first time I tested this game, it was with a friend and a random guy at our table we thought would be fun to have join us. It was a great way to learn a lot about someone before you even get their name, and although I can't actually remember what his name was, I could tell you heaps about his sex life. This game is less "Never have I ever" and more "Things I have done that you are now picturing."

As we went through each round, the rules of the game were given some clarity, though we did bump up the amount of points needed to win because, let's be honest, we're adults that went through college and the majority of the cards we drew are just normal experiences that passed by with not much more than a small laugh, or at least we were mature enough to think so. The concept of it is great—each card is pretty detailed and probably not what would've come to mind had we played it the original way—and the Rule cards spice it up instead of going around in a circle with a scenario you hope you're not the only one guilty of.

Never Have I Ever card game for parties
Never Have I Ever rule cards

Never Have I Ever is meant for 4 to 12 players and passes itself off as a "judgment-free" game, though what is the point of the game without passing judgment on your best friends? Even one of the Rule cards suggests each player vote on whether or not you're guilty of the card you're holding on your forehead. I don't know, are you guilty of "Put my kids to bed early so I could get high," or "Used the same condom twice?" There's no judgment-free way to answer half of these without silently saying, "Yes, you are a horrible person."

Most cards, of course, involved your typical sexual, alcoholic, or drug-related experience, while a handful included the most innocent scenarios that make you scratch your head and wonder why they were even included in the deck. "Binged on Netflix without leaving the house" is now the norm and I'd probably judge you if you haven't. "Added bacon to my kale salad" is easily the most mundane card, unless you are (gasp!) a vegan, while "Wanted to have sex with someone here" is guaranteed to be met with a unified "YES!" (and if it's not, there's also a card that reads, "Lied while playing Never Have I Ever" because we all know the answer to this one).

Never Have I Ever play cards
Never Have I Ever play cards

Admittedly, my second go at this game ditched the Rule cards and turned into a round of holding up each card to my friend in Los Angeles via FaceTime. Every round garnered either an intrigued chuckle or a half-amused "Of course you did," because at that point we both agreed that we each lived sordid lives. I could definitely say that this game is much more suited for a larger group of people after a couple of beers.

My only quarrel with this game are the select few cards that are borderline slut-shame, misogyny, and rape culture. "Roofied someone" or "Tried to get someone drunk so I could have sex with them" is more than likely to make the crowd uncomfortable, and no story to explain would've been needed. It's not funny and shouldn't be included in a game that makes light of our horrible decisions. As the instructions state on the bottom, "If this game offends you, go buy our other award-winning game, Dabble. Sure, if you don't like this game, give us more money for another game.

Although this game doesn't quite match up to the widely popular Cards Against Humanity, it easily markets to the same crowd and makes for a great stocking stuffer for the holidays. It's the perfect party game for those who aren't easily embarrassed.

Never Have I Ever: The Game of Poor Life Decisions is available on Amazon and at local retailers including Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Spencer Gifts, and Target, for $25. Alternatively, there's also an app available on iTunes and Google Play, though it's not as much fun.

Have you played Never Have I Ever? Interested in picking up a deck for Christmas?
Let us know in the comments below.

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