You’re a snowman and a heatwave is coming. How do you escape?
Do you use a bucket of Lego pieces to build yourself a shelter? Maybe you could use a scarf knitted by your Nan to protect you from the incoming heat? How would you use Santa’s Sack or a Sock Puppet? What about a tin of Alphabetti Spaghetti? If you can answer these questions, you should be playing Bucket of Doom.
What is the Premise of Bucket of Doom?
Bucket of Doom is an adult party game for 3+ players, based on escaping from death-defying scenarios using “useless” items that are in your hand. The game was designed by Big Potato games who are, it has to be said, absolutely bossing it in the adult party game market at the moment. They are the minds behind other such games as Scrawl, Obama Llama and The Chameleon.
In Bucket of Doom, the players all have eight double-sided cards, one black and one white. Each card has one item on each side, giving 16 items to choose from in each scenario. The players then take it in turns to draw a scenario card and read it aloud to the group. Each member in the group looks through their items, and whenever they are ready (there is no turn order when reading out) the players read out how they would escape from the scenario.
Once everyone has read out their answers, and everyone has had a jolly good laugh, the players vote on which one was best. Once they have voted, the winner keeps the scenario card, and the first person to three cards wins the game.
It’s that simple.
The Quality and Components of Bucket of Doom
Bucket of Doom has a fairly standard quality for a board game. The cards are made of basic cardboard, with writing on both sides of the item cards, and black/white faces. This means it is possible to have 16 items in hand at any one time, but it also means it is possible for groups to say “let’s play with the black side” or “let’s play with the white side” as appropriate. This is leaving aside the scenario cards that are yellow-faced, with a BOD back. All cards are held in place with a plastic insert, which will survive anything bar the heftiest of shakes.
The thing that makes Bucket of Doom special (and special is the word) is the fact it comes in an actual bucket. The bucket is a really nice touch. It makes it almost impossible to stack neatly on a shelf, but it is nice to have a physical representation of what the game is in your hands.
The Bucket of Doom is a bit fragile as it is made out of brittle plastic. Mine has fractured since buying it, but it did fall from a shelf, and that’s more down to my own stupidity so I probably can’t hold the game accountable. If you don’t drop it then you should be fine.
What is it like playing Bucket of Doom?
Some people might draw instant comparisons between Bucket of Doom and Cards Against Humanity, however, BOD is not like other adult games that take their inspiration from Cards Against. It is not a clone.
Nowadays, it is far too easy to bat around the term “a Cards Against Humanity clone” for any adult party game that involves putting objects on cards that are read out in response to a situation. It is far too easy a label to be branded on any game that can be played just as well drunk as sober. That though, is not only broad but unfair. Yes, Bucket of Doom has a lot of similarities with Cards Against Humanity. That being said, it is also very different.
A couple of articles ago I wrote about Cards Against Humanity and how they have helped bring gaming into the mainstream; however, they do not have exclusive rights to the adult board game market. Instead, I see Cards Against Humanity like I see The Beatles. Yes, they were the first to do exactly what they do – in Cards Against Humanity‘s case, mixing hand management, simultaneous play, and adult themes in a game. In the case of The Beatles, they were the first British rock band.
That being said, a lot of people have developed on where Cards Against Humanity and The Beatles left off. A lot of people have created adult themed card games since, like there have now been a lot of rock bands.
Bucket of Doom is a clone of Cards Against Humanity in the same way that Genesis is a clone of The Beatles. Yes, one almost certainly wouldn’t exist without the other, but it did its own thing and is a game in its own right.
And, of course, it is really fun to play.
What Bucket of Doom has done is actually very similar to Scrawl, another game by Big Potato. They took the basic concept of an adult party game, and added boundaries to help make it a completely different and more resilient game. Rather than being the free-for-all that Cards Against often became, Bucket of Doom offers a different dimension in regards to putting forward a scenario for you to escape from. This gives a storytelling aspect, which not only leads the way for a far more satisfactory scoring system than “whoever had the best card wins”, but it helps develop confidence whilst it gets you creating a story using the items in your hand.
It is because of this that Bucket of Doom is so fun to play. It forces you to think of something other than “which one of these sounds the funniest?”, turning it into “which one of these can I make the best story out of?”.
What also helps, is there are Star Wars references, Nightmare on Elm Street references, and several others within the scenario deck. This helps make the game more recognisable, and even more enjoyable.
So, let me give you a general example. The scenario is:
You find a paper lampshade in your attic you don’t remember buying. You kick it and 10,000 deadly wasps fly out.
Picking cards at random, your 16 items are:
Luminous Yellow Urinal Cakes, a Seaside Donkey called Dolly, a Tin of Alphabetti Spaghetti, an Irate Lobster, a Trained Pet Mouse called Peter, a United Airlines Ticket, a Bucket of Vindaloo, a Very Hungry Caterpillar, a Haunted Oven, a Fishnet Body Stocking, a Hairy Coconut, Kim Kardashian’s Booty, a Pearl Necklace, a Bush Tucker, a Febreze Odour Eliminator Spray, and a Book of Origami for Dummies.
Which item would you use to escape and how?
Personally, I would use the Book of Origami, and the speed Origami skills it teaches, to learn how to make a wasp-swatter out of the paper lamp. I will then swat my way to freedom, jumping out of the attic window, and fashioning my wasp-swatter into a life-size paper aeroplane on the way down, before gliding to safety…but that’s just me…
Conclusion for Bucket of Doom?
Bucket of Doom is a highly fun and creative game, designed around creating scenarios that entertain rather than just saying the funniest thing. Like other adult party games, it is addictive and it is possible to whittle away hours due to the replayability. The game is almost limitless in possibility, where the player’s imagination is their strongest tool.
That and an Irate Lobster. He can get you out of anything.
The Christmas season is now upon us and I’ll be looking at more party games over the coming months. What is your favourite game to play at Christmas time? What games can’t you stand? How many time do you reckon Monopoly will be mentioned in the comments? Let me know below.