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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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Pop Culture
The Sweet Surprise Reunion Mr. Rogers Never Saw Coming
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Family Communications Inc./Getty Images

For more than 30 years, legendary children’s show host Fred Rogers used his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to educate his young viewers on concepts like empathy, sharing, and grief. As a result, he won just about every television award he was eligible for, some of them many times over.

Rogers was gracious in accepting each, but according to those who were close to the host, one honor in particular stood out. It was March 11, 1999, and Rogers was being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the Emmy Awards. Just before being called to the stage, out came a surprise.

The man responsible for the elation on Rogers’s face was Jeff Erlanger, a 29-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin who became a quadriplegic at a young age after undergoing spinal surgery to remove a tumor. Rogers was surprised because Erlanger had appeared on his show nearly 20 years prior in 1980 to help kids understand how people with physical challenges adapt to life’s challenges. Here's his first encounter with the host:

Reunited on stage after two decades, Erlanger referred to the song, “It’s You I Like,” which the two sang during their initial meeting. “On behalf of millions of children and grown-ups,” Erlanger said, “it’s you I like.” The audience, including a visibly moved Candice Bergen, rose to their feet to give both men a standing ovation.

Following Erlanger’s death in 2007, Hedda Sharapan, an employee with Rogers’s production company, called their poignant scene “authentic” and “unscripted,” and that Rogers often pointed to it as his favorite moment from the series.

Near the end of the original segment in 1980, as Erlanger drives his wheelchair off-camera, Rogers waves goodbye and offers a departing message: “I hope you’ll come back to visit again.”

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20 Things You Might Not Have Known About Firefly
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© 2002 Twentieth Century Fox

As any diehard fan will be quick to tell you, Firefly's run was far, far too short. Despite its truncated run, the show still offers a wealth of fun facts and hidden Easter eggs. On the 15th anniversary of the series' premiere, we're looking back at the sci-fi series that kickstarted a Browncoat revolution.

1. A CIVIL WAR NOVEL INSPIRED THE FIREFLY UNIVERSE.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels from author Michael Shaara was Joss Whedon’s inspiration for creating Firefly. It follows Union and Confederate soldiers during four days at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Whedon modeled the series and world on the Reconstruction Era, but set in the future.

2. ORIGINALLY, THE SERENITY CREW INCLUDED JUST FIVE MEMBERS.

When Whedon first developed Firefly, he wanted Serenity to only have five crew members. However, throughout development and casting, Whedon increased the cast from five to nine.

3. REBECCA GAYHEART WAS ORIGINALLY CAST TO PLAY INARA.

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Before Morena Baccarin was cast as Inara Serra, Rebecca Gayheart landed the role—but she was fired after one day of shooting because she lacked chemistry with the rest of the cast. Baccarin was cast two days later and started shooting that day.

4. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS WAS ALMOST DR. SIMON TAM.

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Before it went to Sean Maher, Neil Patrick Harris auditioned for the role of Dr. Simon Tam.

5. JOSS WHEDON WROTE THE THEME SONG.

Whedon wrote the lyrics and music for Firefly’s opening theme song, “The Ballad of Serenity.”

6. STAR WARS SPACECRAFT APPEAR IN FIREFLY.

Star Wars was a big influence on Whedon. Captain Malcolm Reynolds somewhat resembles Han Solo, while Whedon used the Millennium Falcon as inspiration to create Serenity. In fact, you can spot a few spacecraft from George Lucas's magnum opus on the show.

When Inara’s shuttle docks with Serenity in the pilot episode, an Imperial Shuttle can be found flying in the background. In the episode “Shindig,” you can see a Starlight Intruder as the crew lands on the planet Persephone.

7. HAN SOLO FROZEN IN CARBONITE POPS UP THROUGHOUT FIREFLY.

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Nathan Fillion is a big Han Solo fan, so the Firefly prop department made a 12-inch replica of Han Solo encased in Carbonite for the Canadian-born actor. You can see the prop in the background in a number of scenes.

8. ALIEN'S WEYLAND-YUTANI CORPORATION MADE AN APPEARANCE.

In Firefly’s pilot episode, the opening scene features the legendary Battle of Serenity Valley between the Browncoats and The Union of Allied Planets. Captain Malcolm Reynolds takes control of a cannon with a Weyland-Yutani logo inside of its display. Weyland-Yutani is the large conglomerate corporation in the Alien film franchise. (Whedon wrote Alien: Resurrection in 1997.)

9. ZAC EFRON'S ACTING DEBUT WAS ON FIREFLY.

A 13-year-old Zac Efron made his acting debut in the episode “Safe” in 2002. He played Young Simon in a flashback.

10. CAPTAIN MALCOLM REYNOLDS'S HORSE IS A WESTERN TROPE.

At its core, Firefly is a sci-fi western—and Malcolm Reynolds rides the same horse on every planet (it's named Fred).

11. FOX AIRED FIREFLY'S EPISODES OUT OF ORDER.

Fox didn’t feel Firefly’s two-hour pilot episode was strong enough to air as its first episode. Instead, “The Train Job” was broadcast first because it featured more action and excitement. The network continued to cherry-pick episodes based on broad appeal rather than story consistency, and eventually aired the pilot as the show’s final episode.

12. THE ALLIANCE'S ORIGINS ARE AMERICAN AND CHINESE.

The full name of The Alliance is The Anglo-Sino Alliance. Whedon envisioned The Alliance as a merger of American and Chinese government and corporate superpowers. The Union of Allied Planets’ flag is a blending of the American and Chinese national flags.

13. THE SERENITY LOUNGE SERVED AS AN ACTUAL LOUNGE.

Between set-ups and shots, the cast would hang out in the lounge on the Serenity set rather than trailers or green rooms.

14. INARA SERRA'S NAME IS MESOPOTAMIAN.

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Inara Serra is named after the Mesopotamian Hittite goddess, the protector of all wild animals.

15. THE CHARACTERS SWORE (JUST NOT IN ENGLISH).

The Firefly universe is a mixture of American and Chinese culture, which made it easy for writers to get around censors by having characters swear in Chinese.

16. THE UNIFORMS ARE RECYCLED FROM STARSHIP TROOPERS.

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The uniforms for Alliance officers and soldiers were the costumes from the 1997 science fiction film Starship Troopers. The same costumes were repurposed again for the Starship Troopers sequel.

17. "SUMMER!" MEANS SOMEONE MESSED UP.

Every time a cast member flubbed one of his or her lines, they would yell Summer Glau’s name. This was a running gag among the cast after Glau forgot her lines in the episode “Objects In Space.”

18. THE SERENITY SPACESHIP WAS BUILT TO SCALE.

The interior of Serenity was built entirely to scale; rooms and sections were completely contiguous. The ship’s interior was split into two stages, one for the upper deck and one for the lower. Whedon showed off the Firefly set in one long take to open the Serenity movie.

19. "THE MESSAGE" SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE SHOW'S FAREWELL.

Although “The Message” was the twelfth episode, it was the last episode filmed during Firefly’s short run. Composer Greg Edmonson wrote a piece of music for a funeral scene in the episode, which served as a final farewell to the show. Sadly, it was one of three episodes (the other two were “Trash” and “Heart of Gold”) that didn’t air during Firefly’s original broadcast run on Fox.

20. FIREFLY AND SERENITY WERE SENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.

American Astronaut Steven Ray Swanson is a big fan of Firefly, so when he was sent to the International Space Station for his first mission (STS-117) in 2007, he brought DVD copies of Firefly and its feature film Serenity aboard with him. The DVDs are now a permanent part of the space station’s library.

This post originally appeared in 2014.

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