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9 Bizarre But Entertaining Card Games

When my cousins and I were younger, we would play this card game called "Spit" for hours and hours on end (when we weren't playing Paperboy on the Nintendo or watching Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever with "“ eee!! Corey Feldman!!). Spit is also known as Speed. I won't go into the details, but if you really want to learn how to play you can visit Wikipedia.

I'm not sure if our parents ever got sick of us playing Spit (it could get almost violent), but if they did, they should have been glad that we weren't biding our time with Guillotine instead. I actually think Guillotine sounds fun, but I can see where maybe you don't want your nine-year-old playing it. If it's up your alley, though, here are nine offbeat and interesting card games you might want to try out at your next party.

1. Guillotine

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As you might suspect, Guillotine is set during the French Revolution and was released to commemorate Bastille Day in 1998.

The best part of this game? You get a little cardboard guillotine. There are three rounds to this game which represent three days. Every day, 12 nobles are lined up to be executed. Then each player goes around and plays an action card (if they want to), takes ("kills") the noble from the front of the line and then draws another action card. An action card, for instance, might tell you to move a noble up two places in line. Since nobles are worth different points, this means the player could be taking a noble with a higher point value (Marie Antoinette is worth five points; the 'Piss Boy' is worth one) from the front of the line. Since the goal is to get the most points, this is a good thing.

2. Grave Robbers From Outer Space

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I think I need this game (Paul, take notice). GROS pokes fun at sci-fi and horror movie clichés. You have to make a movie, including a location, characters and props. Each of these card has a defense strength (DS) on it. You need to make a movie that has the highest defense.

You can attack other players' movies as long as you have a creature card. If the number on your creature card is greater than or equal to the sum of all of the cards on the movie you're attacking, then the player attacking gets to "kill off" another player's character by making him/her discard the character.

This game has a sense of humor, which is why I like it. For instance, if you have the "Nymphomaniac Cheerleader" character, any male character that's in your movie gets a bonus point. The game ends when the cards run out or someone draws a "Roll the Credits" card.

The makers of the game have expanded to similar games in different genres, including Cannibal Pygmies in the Jungles of Doom (action/adventure movies), Bell Bottomed Badasses on the Mean Streets of Funk ('70s and Blaxploitation), Berserker Halflings from the Dungeons of Dragons (fantasy) and Kung Fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island (Asian films).

3. 1000 Blank White Cards

This is a game that could be dangerous, depending on how evil your friends are. Basically the players create all of the rules themselves. You start with 80-150 cards "“ it's recommended that if you've never played before and all of the cards are blank, you create at least some of the cards before the game starts. Otherwise you can re-use cards from previous games so you have a mix of already-made cards and totally blank cards.

There are two rules that you have to follow:
1. Everyone draws up to five cards at the end of his/her turn.
2. Cards must target a specific player, unless it says otherwise on the card.

Other than that, the rules of the game are set as cards are drawn. It depends entirely on what your friends decide to write on the card. "Get drunk at football game and karate-chop your way home, lose 20 points." OK. "Fall down the stairs and break toe. Toe bone comes through the bottom of your foot. Cool! +500 points." OK. "The letter C is stupid. Everyone with a letter C in their first or last names loses all points they currently have." OK.

Blank cards can be made into playable cards at any time during the game. All you have to do is draw on them and throw 'em into the pile. A few of my favorites from boardgamegeek.com:

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So how do you win? When there are no cards left in the deck and no one has any cards that can be played in the current situation. The winner is the player with the highest score at the end of the game, although some people consider the winner the person who drew the most favored cards.

4. Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot

supe.jpgKiller Bunnies seems simple: the point is to get as many carrot cards as possible because one of them will be revealed to be the "magic carrot" at the end of the game, and the person who has that card wins. You're also trying to kill off each other's bunnies while keeping as many of yours alive as possible. You can kill other bunnies off with everything from a kitchen whisk to a nuclear warhead.

OK, it's a lot more complicated than that, but that's the basic idea behind it. It involves a number system like Grave Robbers from Outer Space does and some of the cards you draw will tell you exactly what to do (like the No Supe For You card above).

5. Gother Than Thou

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Gother Than Thou is pretty simple. The deck consists of 55 cards. Within these cards are three types of points: Goth Points, Sickness/Infection and Money. You get 20 Goth Points, you win. Too much Sickness will make you discard everything and not enough Money means you can't draw from the discard pile.

Some of my favorite cards include Crying Yourself to Sleep, Disturbing German Accent, Absinthe Minded, Fun With Eyeliner, Boots!!, and Steady Clove Supply.

6. Chez Geek

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You and your fellow players are apartment roomies. When the game starts, everyone gets a Job card, which includes your amount of free time, your income, your special ability and your Slack Goal. The first person to achieve their Slack Goal wins. You get your Slack Goal by drawing cards "“ describing your tattoo in incredible detail to your roommate, for instance, earns you three Slack Points.

If Chez Geek isn't your thing, never fear: there's also Chez Greek, Chez Guevara, Chez Grunt and, yes, Chez Goth.

7. Unxploded Cow

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UC kills two birds with one stone. You've got unexploded landmines in France; you've got Mad Cows roaming around Britain. Solution? Explode the mines with the infected cows! Brilliant. It costs money to buy cows, but you earn lots of money for every mine you explode. The person with the most money at the end of the game wins.

8. Aquarius

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This one's for the hippie in all of us. It looks like Peter Max designed a set of dominoes.

Everyone gets three cards and one goal card that depicts an element: Earth, Air, Fire, Water or Ether. One card is placed face up on the table for others to play off of (like dominoes). The player with the longest hair goes first. You want seven cards with your goal element to be played. The trick is, you don't know everyone else's goal elements, so you'll need to do your best guessing to block their plays. In the picture below, Fire just won (seven cards to Ether's six).

9. Falling

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The premise of this game is that you're falling out of the sky and you'd rather not be (makes sense). The goal isn't to stay alive "“ that's not an option. No, you're definitely going to die. But you want to be the last one to hit the ground (the box says, "It's not much of a goal, but it's all you could think of on the way down.")

One player doesn't really play at all "“ their only job is to consistently pass cards out to everyone who is actively playing. You get cards like Skip, Stop, Hit and Push which delay your inevitable Splat. There are five Ground cards, and when you get one, that's it: game over, you're dead. Last person to hit the Ground is the winner (sort of).

Has anyone played any of these? Are they any fun? Any other bizarre card games I should know about?

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Food
Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
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iStock

You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

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Pop Culture
The Strange Hidden Link Between Silent Hill and Kindergarten Cop
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

by Ryan Lambie

At first glance, Kindergarten Cop and Silent Hill don't seem to have much in common—aside from both being products of the 1990s. At the beginning of the decade came Kindergarten Cop, the hit comedy directed by Ivan Reitman and starring larger-than-life action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the decade’s end came Silent Hill, Konami’s best-selling survival horror game that sent shivers down PlayStation owners’ spines.

As pop culture artifacts go, they’re as different as oil and water. Yet eagle-eyed players may have noticed a strange hidden link between the video game and the goofy family comedy.

In Silent Hill, you control Harry Mason, a father hunting for his daughter Cheryl in the eerily deserted town of the title. Needless to say, the things Mason uncovers are strange and very, very gruesome. Early on in the game, Harry stumbles on a school—Midwich Elementary School, to be precise—which might spark a hint of déjà vu as soon as you approach its stone steps. The building’s double doors and distinctive archway appear to have been taken directly from Kindergarten Cop’s Astoria Elementary School.

Could it be a coincidence?

Well, further clues can be found as you venture inside. As well as encountering creepy gray children and other horrors, you’ll notice that its walls are decorated with numerous posters. Some of those posters—including a particularly distinctive one with a dog on it—also decorated the halls of the school in Kindergarten Cop.

Do a bit more hunting, and you’ll eventually find a medicine cabinet clearly modeled on one glimpsed in the movie. Most creepily of all, you’ll even encounter a yellow school bus that looks remarkably similar to the one in the film (though this one has clearly seen better days).

Silent Hill's references to the movie are subtle—certainly subtle enough for them to pass the majority of players by—but far too numerous to be a coincidence. When word of the link between game and film began to emerge in 2012, some even joked that Konami’s Silent Hill was a sequel to Kindergarten Cop. So what’s really going on?

When Silent Hill was in early development back in 1996, director Keiichiro Toyama set out to make a game that was infused with influences from some of his favorite American films and TV shows. “What I am a fan of is occult stuff and UFO stories and so on; that and I had watched a lot of David Lynch films," he told Polygon in 2013. "So it was really a matter of me taking what was on my shelves and taking the more horror-oriented aspects of what I found.”

A scene from 'Silent Hill'
Divine Tokyoska, Flickr

In an interview with IGN much further back, in 2001, a member of Silent Hill’s staff also stated, “We draw our influences from all over—fiction, movies, manga, new and old.”

So while Kindergarten Cop is perhaps the most outlandish movie reference in Silent Hill, it’s by no means the only one. Cafe5to2, another prominent location in the game, is taken straight from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

Elsewhere, you might spot a newspaper headline which references The Silence Of The Lambs (“Bill Skins Fifth”). Look carefully, and you'll also find nods to such films as The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and 12 Monkeys.

Similarly, the town’s streets are all named after respected sci-fi and horror novelists, with Robert Bloch, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson among the most obvious. Oh, and Midwich, the name of the school? That’s taken from the classic 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, twice adapted for the screen as The Village Of The Damned in 1960 and 1995.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Kindergarten Cop'
Universal Pictures

The reference to Kindergarten Cop could, therefore, have been a sly joke on the part of Silent Hill’s creators—because what could be stranger than modeling something in a horror game on a family-friendly comedy? But there could be an even more innocent explanation: that Kindergarten Cop spends so long inside an ordinary American school simply gave Toyama and his team plenty of material to reference when building their game.

Whatever the reasons, the Kindergarten Cop reference ranks highly among the most strange and unexpected film connections in the history of the video game medium. Incidentally, the original movie's exteriors used a real school, John Jacob Astor Elementary in Astoria, Oregon. According to a 1991 article in People Magazine, the school's 400 fourth grade students were paid $35 per day to appear in Kindergarten Cop as extras.

It’s worth pointing out that the school is far less scary a place than the video game location it unwittingly inspired, and to the best of our knowledge, doesn't have an undercover cop named John Kimble serving as a teacher there, either.

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