Many games made are variations on a classic. We’ve lost count of how many 4-in-a-row games there are and you can’t walk down the game aisle at the store without seeing some type of push-your-luck dice game. We’ve all played rounds of Rummy with the family, and if you’re like me, it was one of the first card games taught to you. I’ve done the same with my girls and made sure they’re proficient in all the classic games.
There is also no lack of games which use the basic Rummy rules and add their own unique twist. This week we found a copy of Cheap Shot by Gut Bustin’ Games at our Goodwill which advertised itself as “The Game of Insult Rummy”. From looking at the back of the box, we realized we would be creating custom insults to hurl at each other! The asking price? $1.88! Sold!
Maybe we paid too much…
The idea is interesting, but the actual game play was monotonous. Each person begins with a hand of seven cards randomly dealt from the shuffled deck. Instead of suits and numbers, there are three different colors of cards, each representing a different part of your upcoming insult.
Green cards set the subject. “Your Parents”, “Your Mom” or “Your Dear Auntie” are typical starters. Blue cards finish out the phrase with insults like “has/have no purpose on this Earth”, “is/are a bath dodger” or “are all banjo-pickin’ hillbillies”. There is nothing too insulting and the phrases lean more towards the funny side. Red cards are full exclamations that are used to block another player’s insult.
As with a regular game of Rummy, in Cheap Shot your goal is to be the first to get rid of all the cards in your hand. You must build your sentence in a particular way. It must begin with a subject (green card) and be added to using blue cards connected by “and”. So in order to go out, you must successfully play one green card and six blue cards.
On your turn you will draw a new card from the top of the draw pile or one, two or three cards from the top of the discard pile. If you draw from the latter, you must play the final card drawn immediately to the table (again, just like in Rummy). Unless you drew multiple from the discard pile, playing an insult is optional (it is required otherwise). Select cards from your hand to build your insult and lay them in front of you. Point to another player and read the insult out loud!
The person being targeted may choose to play a blocking card (red) that is supposed to be a witty comeback that mitigates the effectiveness of the insult. If the active player wishes, they too can play a red card to respond to the comeback. If the target is the last to play a red card, they get to take a card from the attacker’s insult into their hand and the attacker must pick up the rest of their cards back into their hand. If the attacker is successful, nothing additional happens and the insult stands. Any red cards played remain on the table and will be worth points at the end of the round.
All turns end with a discard, even if you are playing your last card. You cannot go out unless you have a discard, so you must manage your hand of cards. As you might have figured out, since the only way to go out is to play seven cards and discard the eighth, if someone takes one of your cards or you draw more than one from the discard pile, you will probably end up with the wrong number of cards to be the first to play them all.
Players take turns in order playing insults or adding to their existing ones (net result – you only need one green card) until someone plays their last card and discards. Points are then awarded to all players for the length of the insult they have on the table (one point for the first card, two points for the second and so on). One point each is added for any red cards they played and one is subtracted for any cards left in their hands. Depending on the number of players, the first person to amass either 75 or 100 points (4-6 players, 2-3 players) is the winner of Cheap Shot.
As we hinted earlier, we really didn’t find Cheap Shot to be much fun. Sure, it was funny to build ridiculous insults. But the game digresses into a search for the right card, usually the few that say “and”. You cannot assume commas in the sentence, so everything must be connected by “and”. These are usually the cards stolen from one another, so if you are blocked, you must begin your search for that elusive “and” again.
If Cheap Shot sounds like something your game group would enjoy, you can find copies on Amazon for under $20. Maybe someone will create some house rules to make the game less random or figure out a way to allow for better sentence construction. Until then, Cheap Shot may return to our Goodwill.
What is the latest game you have donated to thrift?