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We were sent Cunning Linguistics in exchange for an honest review with some pretty drink pictures. Here it is!

The Drink: Slippery Seed

  • 3 oz pineapple juice
  • .5 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • .5 oz orange liqueur (we used Grand Marnier)
  • .75 oz white rum
  • .75 oz vodka
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Mix ingredients in a rocks glass and add chia seeds. Refrigerate for 10-20 minutes (make in a larger batch if serving multiple people). This step isn't essential, but the chill time lets the chia seeds release their magical chia gel and get "slippery". Tbh, the chia seeds aren't essential. We just thought it was fun!

This recipe is adapted slightly from the "Not-So-Blue Hawaii" in The 12 Bottle Bar by David Solmonson & Lesley Jacobs Solmonson. 

Our Review

When we first heard the description of this game, we thought it would be a great game for drunk people. A party game similar to Cards Against Humanity, but instead of just making people uncomfortable with mildly offensive cards, players would string together phrases of things that sound dirty but actually aren't? Sounds like the perfect game for a rowdy group of drunks.

Turns out, not. This game is definitely better for sober people and smaller groups. (We only actually tested with 4, but we expect 4-5 would be ideal.) Creating interesting and funny responses without breaking the rules requires a decent amount of focus that would be really hard to achieve with too much alcohol in your system. 

But, let me stop you before you conclude that this is a bad game. It isn't. It's actually pretty good. It's just much slower than a "party game."

Wait, but backup. What actually is this game?

Cunning Linguistics does start with the same concept as Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity. Somebody (the reader) randomly chooses a prompt and reads it to the group. Then each player responds. In Apples to Apples, each player chooses one card. In Cards Against Humanity, you may choose a few cards. In Cunning Linguistics, you have a grid of cards in front of you, each of which has several words on it. You create a phrase using words from your grid and a select set of "free words" (such as "a, in, because") then turn in your phrases for evaluation. The reader reads out each phrase, to preserve anonymity, and then you turn the phrases into points. Cunning Linguistics is scored democratically, so each player gets to vote for their favorite phrase, excluding their own, and players get points based on how many votes their phrase got. 

Recommendation: The rules say that the reader should not vote because they know who the answers are from. In smaller games, such as 4 or fewer players, we recommend letting the reader vote. Hopefully their judgement isn't too swayed by recognizing handwriting.

The originality of this game comes from the actual words on the cards. Your sentences will be full of silly, not-actually-dirty words like "pussywillow," "cuckold," and "kumquat." To my disappointment, there simply aren't that many funny words in the English language, so the vast majority of the available words are pretty run of the mill: "mother," "Superman," and "priest." But, with a bit of creativity, you should be able to mix in those silly words to create some magic.

As an example, one round in our game was a fierce battle prompted by: "When I woke up the next morning, I found this in my bed." The two close competitors were "goblin seamen" and "Twenty Twinkles of Periwinkle: A Woman's Rough Fantasy."

I would play Cunning Linguistics again, but I will leave a room that’s playing Apples to Apples.
— Old Man Haak

Part of the reason this game is hard for drunk people is that you may only use one word from each of the 9 cards in front of you, so it takes a bit of mental gymnastics to keep track of which cards you've already used this round. You can shift the cards around in your grid to indicate to yourself which ones you have used, but the rules recommend that you keep your signs subtle in order to preserve anonymity of the responses, so you still have to be paying pretty good attention.

It’s really overwhelming.
All the words.
— Jordan's drunk friend

To me, Cunning Linguistics has a lot of the same appeal as Once Upon a Time. The game creates a structure to spark your creativity and hilarious things can happen if you're comfortable working withing that framework. On that note, we think this game would go over really well with a group of writers or other practiced wordsmiths. Once you're comfortable with the game, you could probably introduce a bit of wine to make for a very pleasant evening of light gaming and a fair number of chuckles.

Recommendation: The number of cards in front of each player has the potential to lead to analysis paralysis as players *cough*Jordan*cough* methodically inspect the cards to make sure they have the best possible answer. This can lead to a bit of potentially boring downtime for the other players, so we recommend implementing a turn timer. You may have to experiment with times to determine the best length for your group, but we think this definitely would have improved the game for us.

The Breakdown

Overall rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Not at all what we expected, but actually pretty good!

🍹 - DRINKERS: As stated above, do not recommend
💭💭💭💭 - THINKERS: It's more of a comedy-thinker game than a strategy-thinker game
⚜ - THEMERS: Nope. I guess it is like a party game in one way

Want More?

Visit www.crazylikeabox.com where you can download a free print and play trial of the game!