Published on June 24th, 2015 | by Nicole Jekich0
Storytime Horror with Friends
Your Favorite Horror Tropes in a Party Game
It was a dark and stormy night and the shutters rattled under the heavy rain and thundering skies. She doesn’t know what drew her into this Abandoned Motel, but a Voice kept calling to her and urging her to go inside. As she stands at the entrance, she notices some old Blood Stains on the door and a Hockey Mask hanging from the door knob. The Killer is looming in the shadows and watching her very closely…
Tropes: Horror Show Edition is a casual card game where a group of players take turns in the writer’s chair for a Horror movie. Players use prompts of multiple tropes, scenes, reactions and other features in the horror movie genre. The brief story I wrote above is an example of the story I could tell using the story cards in the game. I feel the easy set up and simplistic rules make Tropes: Horror Show Edition a great activity for a party, casual social gathering and of course, for those spooky nights in a creaky cabin.
Play begins by revealing a Location card and a Character card. The Location deck features multiple familiar places for horror movies (Boiler Room, Homecoming Dance, Slumber Party, etc). The character focus in the collaborative story will be a familiar horror trope character like the Real Killer, Camp Counselor, The Jock, etc. Players will be creating and building upon this character’s story in a horror movie created by the players using story cards.
Players begin the game with 5 story cards in hand. These story cards include word prompts that fit the horror genre such as ‘Blood Stains’, ‘Gasp’, ‘Hockey Mask’, etc. Players play one card on a communal stack and describe what is going on in the scene. For example, if I started The Jock’s story at the Boiler Room, I could add my story card ‘Blood Stains’ to the pile and explain how this character noticed some spattering of fresh blood on the boiler room door.
Players can add additional cards on their turn if they have Fast Forward buttons which allow a player to further expand on the story and add more prompts onto the stack. A character’s story ends when a player places a Finale card on the stack. Finale cards represent a “good ending” where the main character lives and a “bad ending” where the main character dies. No matter the finale, the player who placed the finale card, collects the character and earns 1 victory point. Play continues until all 12 characters have had a complete story and the winner is the player with the most collected character cards.
In the couple games we played, participants always turned the horror story towards the more comical movies like Evil Dead and Scary Movie parodies. Depending on your crowd of people, the horror story can turn many different ways including more raunchy horror as both dry humping and skimpy clothes are story prompts in the game. The deck features 190 unique cards which helps create a new story every time.
The art is a great display of emotion and character. The bugged-eyed, crazed-looking horror characters stand out from the card and their trope names call on a lot of stereotypical characters seen in horror movies. Much of the design calls back to old horror with the film reel borders and the high contrast title screens for the story cards. The art and design really reflects the genre the creators wanted to portray.
No Jump Scares
I found playing Tropes: Horror Edition a very laid-back experience and more of a light storytelling game than a competitive strategy game. I noticed that I mostly wanted to keep playing my prompt cards and would frequently skip over finale cards or fast forward cards in order to keep the story going. Collecting points and character cards feel secondary to the more important story-telling nature and sometimes the finale cards feel very abrupt and forced.
Just like many party games, points in Tropes feels arbitrary. There are just 18 finale cards which help you get points out of 190 card deck so getting finales in your hand is very random. What I’m trying to say is Tropes: Horror Show Edition is best as an entertaining, storytelling experience and a great gateway for those learning to roleplay. If you’re coming to Tropes for a challenging experience where you are rewarded by your strategy, you will be disappointed. Tropes just isn’t that kind of game.
If horror isn’t your genre (I’m watched a lot more bad kung fu movies than horror flicks), Tropes is a story game that can be easily converted into different genres. I spoke to Tim and Chris, two of the creators and Kickstarter project managers, and they mentioned that other genre decks are a possibility for future projects. The ultimate goal of having different Tropes editions for different genres would allow genre-mixing and crossover possibilities making the collaborative stories even more absurd and hilarious.
Tropes: Horror Show Edition is on Kickstarter for just 6 MORE DAYS so if you want to back the base game at $26 you have a limited time to do so! To learn more about the people behind Tropes, visit their webpage.