I’ve mentioned before that we spent over a decade living in Southern California. There was so much to do and you could literally go to the beach in the morning and ski in the afternoon. Not that we ever did that, but it was an option. We had Lakers seasons tickets, saw tapings of TV shows like That 70’s Show and The Price is Right, visited the Rose Bowl flea market and explored restaurants. But despite all of that, we also made regular trips to Vegas. Sometimes those trips were for the many conventions Scott’s company exhibited at while other times it was a quick day trip. Yes, we would wake up early in the morning, make the drive, hang out doing all the things then return home by bedtime. Between his convention commitment and our limited schedule, you may be surprised to hear that we never made it to many Las Vegas performances. Even when we were in Vegas in September to learn what Wejo does, we had limited opportunity to see a show. When my marketing/PR contact at Exploding Kittens shared about their new bluffing game, You Lying Sack, from Penn Jillette (of the famous duo Penn & Teller), I was embarrassed to admit I had never seen them in person. Watched on TV many times, yes, in person, no.
We didn’t make it to their show, but I have You Lying Sack right here on my game table. As you may be able to surmise from the title, it’s a game about lying… or bluffing… or whatever you want to label it. As awesome parents that we are, we fully taught our kids to lie. This party game is designed for 2-5 players, but it’s considered a party game because of the feel. If you’re looking for something that fits a higher player count, check out Hand-to-Hand Wombat (plays up to 6) or others with larger player counts that we’ve featured here on the site in the past. Your goal is to get rid of your pile of bad things or at least limit your accumulation of it. Set up the game by placing the board in the center of the table with the dial set to two and the die on the designated spot. Each player gets 2 “bad things” and the remainder along with the “Good thing” are placed in the Lying Sack. Pick someone to go first and you’re ready. Yeah, setup is pretty simple.
On a turn, you’ll rotate the dial one higher then roll the die and place it on the designated spot on the board. Next, dig into the bag and secretly grab either the one good thing in the bag or the number of bad things displayed on the dial. There are some exceptions to the dial changing, but for the most part it will increase with each player. As you remove your hand from the bag, be careful not to reveal what is inside. This is super important because you’ll have a tough time winning if you struggle to keep this information hidden. And… here is where players get to practice their skills in the art of deception. Well, I consider it an art, but I would be curious if the magician who designed this game agrees. (Hey, Penn, would you say that lying is an art?!)
One at a time, you’ll extend your hand to other players and announce, “My hand is full of BAD THINGS. Will you take them?” It doesn’t matter what is really in your hand, this is what you’ll say every time, to every player. Before I explain what happens next, I want to point out that this consistency is what makes You Lying Sack work for those of us who don’t have a poker face. You’re saying the same thing over and over (practice makes perfect) so you can decide on changing inflection or facial expressions as you move from one to the next, or you can just remain consistent. You don’t have to be dramatic or decide what to say. You know what to say and who to say it to; those things eliminate a couple of the factors that usually make bluffing games difficult for some of us. You’re never caught off guard by someone questioning you as happens in hidden role games.
Now on to what happens. In your hand is either the one good thing from the bag or as many bad things as noted on the dial. You’re offering, sight unseen, for another player to take it. Should they decline your offer, you move on to the next player, continuing on until someone accepts. If they do, you reveal what is inside. The player who accepted your offer gets the benefit or drawback of the hidden item(s). If more bad things were revealed, the player must add those to their own pile. In the event they were able to procure the good item, then they distribute items from their pile of bad things to the active player based on the number on the die, grabbing extras from the Lying Sack if they don’t have that many in their pile.
In addition to accepting an offer of a hidden good thing, there is one other way to get items out of your own pile. If you’re the active player with the good thing hidden in your hand and none of the other players take it, YOU get the benefit. Look at the number on the die and distribute that many one at a time to each of the other players. At any point, if any player reaches or exceeds ten bad things in their pile, they are out of the game. The last player still in the game wins.
Because the rules are so simple and the gameplay straightforward, You Lying Sack is one of those games that can easily be played with an assortment of ages, making it a great idea for family bonding. While other products from Exploding Kittens may currently be available at local or online retailers, if you want to get your hands on You Lying Sack right now then order a copy direct from their website! I’m not lying when I say that Exploding Kittens has been *exploding* with quality games over the past year or so. You can get updates about their latest releases on social including Facebook and Twitter.
Have you ever seen Penn Jillette work his magic in person?