Stupid Deaths, published by University Games, is a 2-6 player party game for ages 12+. Housed in a tombstone box, with the slogan frightfully funny, it appeals to those with a macabre sense of humour.
Ready To Reap
Inside the box you will find a board, 300 stupid death cards, 4 player counters, true and false cards, a Grim Reaper counter, and extra life tokens. As it doesn’t have many elements the setup for this game is super quick and it doesn’t take up space on your table.
To begin, players will put their counters on the green starting circle and then place the Grim Reaper’s counter on the red circle. The 300 Stupid Death cards are then shuffled and placed in the middle of the board. Each player gets an extra life token and a true and false card.
Players are now ready to outrun the Grim Reaper.
Escaping The Grim
The object of the game is simple, players must outrun the Grim Reaper. A player can win by being the first to reach the finish line or by being the last remaining player in the game.
Players take it in turn to read out Stupid Death cards. These cards contain deathly scenarios. For example, Brahe died from a bladder infection after politeness kept him from using the bathroom during a royal banquet, causing his bladder to rupture.
Some of the cards detail real life deaths, whereas others are made up. After the reader has read out the card, other players must guess if the death is true or false. Players who guessed correctly move one space forward and players who did not stay put. If all players guess incorrectly, the reader gets to move forward instead.
While players are trying to work out if someone died from holding their bladder too long, the Grim Reaper moves closer. If the Grim Reaper catches up to a player, that player will lose their extra life token and move one space forward. If the Grim Reaper passes the same player again, they are eliminated from the game. Players must guess their way to the finish line whilst being chased by death.
Beauty In Death?
Stupid Deaths is packaged in a tombstone box which buys into its deathly theme. Additionally, the true and false cards are coffin shaped which is a nice thematic touch. However, the rest of the game is basic. The Grim Reaper is a cardboard cut-out, and the player counters are cheap plastic. The gameboard itself is plain black and the cards could be on better stock.
Stupid Deaths has a great premise. Yet, for me, it didn’t quite hit the mark. Despite the 2-6 player advertisement, this game only plays well with 6 people. With less than 6 players, the Grim Reaper isn’t a challenge as it struggles to keep up. The lack of threat takes the jeopardy out of the game and kills the vibe (excuse the pun).
Furthermore, the game relies heavily on 50/50 guess work. There is no skill or way to work out which death is true or false. For me, this made the game a bit boring as you couldn’t strategise your way to victory. Nevertheless, the simplicity did make it easy to play with casual or non-gamers.
Aesthetically, the game played around with its theme. The tombstone box, Grim Reaper token, and true and false coffin cards were a charming touch. But the cheap player counters, plain board, and mediocre cardstock made the game feel half-hearted.
For me, this game works best when you're entertaining friends who may not know each other. The silly death scenarios, although not amusing, work well as ice breakers. I know Brahe's scenario made many rethink holding their bladder during dinner. Stupid Deaths is exactly what it says on the tin. Incredibly stupid.