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9 Bizarre But Entertaining Card Games

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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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Space
Google Street View Now Lets You Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View covers some amazing locations (Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and Stonehenge, to name a few), but it’s taken until now for the tool to venture into the final frontier. As TechCrunch reports, you can now use Street View to explore the inside of the International Space Station.

The scenes, photographed by astronauts living on the ISS, include all 15 modules of the massive satellite. Viewers will be treated to true 360-degree views of the rooms and equipment onboard. Through the windows, you can see Earth from an astronaut's perspective and a SpaceX Dragon craft delivering supplies to the crew.

Because the imagery was captured in zero gravity, it’s easy to lose sense of your bearings. Get a taste of what ISS residents experience on a daily basis here.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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travel
6 East Coast Castles to Visit for a Fairy Tale Road Trip
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Lucy Quintanilla/iStock

Once the stuff of fairy tales and legends, a variety of former castles have been repurposed today as museums and event spaces. Enough of them dot the East Coast that you can plan a summer road trip to visit half a dozen in a week or two, starting in or near New York City. See our turrent-rich itinerary below.

STOP 1: BANNERMAN CASTLE // BEACON, NEW YORK

59 miles from New York City

The crumbling exterior of Bannerman Castle
Garrett Ziegler, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bannerman Castle can be found on its very own island in the Hudson River. Although the castle has fallen into ruins, the crumbling shell adds visual interest to the stunning Hudson Highlands views, and can be visited via walking or boat tours from May to October. The man who built the castle, Scottish immigrant Frank Bannerman, accumulated a fortune shortly after the Civil War in his Brooklyn store known as Bannerman’s. He eventually built the Scottish-style castle as both a residence and a military weapons storehouse starting in 1901. The island remained in his family until 1967, when it was given to the Taconic Park Commission; two years later it was partially destroyed by a mysterious fire, which led to its ruined appearance.

STOP 2. GILLETTE CASTLE STATE PARK // EAST HADDAM, CONNECTICUT

116 miles from Beacon, New York

William Gillette was an actor best known for playing Sherlock Holmes, which may have something to do with where he got the idea to install a series of hidden mirrors in his castle, using them to watch guests coming and going. The unusual-looking stone structure was built starting in 1914 on a chain of hills known as the Seven Sisters. Gillette designed many of the castle’s interior features (which feature a secret room), and also installed a railroad on the property so he could take his guests for rides. When he died in 1937 without designating any heirs, his will forbade the possession of his home by any "blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” The castle is now managed by the State of Connecticut as Gillette Castle State Park.

STOP 3. BELCOURT CASTLE // NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

74 miles from East Haddam, Connecticut

The exterior of Belcourt castle
Jenna Rose Robbins, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Prominent architect Richard Morris Hunt designed Belcourt Castle for congressman and socialite Oliver Belmont in 1891. Hunt was known for his ornate style, having designed the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, but Belmont had some unusual requests. He was less interested in a building that would entertain people and more in one that would allow him to spend time with his horses—the entire first floor was designed around a carriage room and stables. Despite its grand scale, there was only one bedroom. Construction cost $3.2 million in 1894, a figure of approximately $80 million today. But around the time it was finished, Belmont was hospitalized following a mugging. It took an entire year before he saw his completed mansion.

STOP 4. HAMMOND CASTLE MUSEUM // GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

111 miles from Newport, Rhode Island

Part of the exterior of Hammond castle
Robert Linsdell, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. built his medieval-style castle between 1926 and 1929 as both his home and a showcase for his historical artifacts. But Hammond was not only interested in recreating visions of the past; he also helped shape the future. The castle was home to the Hammond Research Corporation, from which Hammond produced over 400 patents and came up with the ideas for over 800 inventions, including remote control via radio waves—which earned him the title "the Father of Remote Control." Visitors can take a self-guided tour of many of the castle’s rooms, including the great hall, indoor courtyard, Renaissance dining room, guest bedrooms, inventions exhibit room, library, and kitchens.

STOP 5. BOLDT CASTLE // ALEXANDRIA BAY, THOUSAND ISLANDS, NEW YORK

430 miles from Gloucester, Massachusetts

It's a long drive from Gloucester and only accessible by water, but it's worth it. The German-style castle on Heart Island was built in 1900 by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt, who created the extravagant structure as a summer dream home for his wife Louise. Sadly, she passed away just months before the place was completed. The heartbroken Boldt stopped construction, leaving the property empty for over 70 years. It's now in the midst of an extensive renovation, but the ballroom, library, and several bedrooms have been recreated, and the gardens feature thousands of plants.

STOP 6. FONTHILL CASTLE // DOYLESTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

327 miles from Alexandria Bay, New York

Part of the exterior of Fonthill castle

In the mood for more castles? Head south to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where Fonthill Castle was the home of the early 20th century American archeologist, anthropologist, and antiquarian Henry Chapman Mercer. Mercer was a man of many interests, including paleontology, tile-making, and architecture, and his interest in the latter led him to design Fonthill Castle as a place to display his colorful tile and print collection. The inspired home is notable for its Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and with 44 rooms, there's plenty of well-decorated nooks and crannies to explore.

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