A funny thing happened…

25 Sep

… on the way to this post.  I usually like to end one post with a preview of the net post I plan on writing.  It gives me a focus, and hopefully intrigues people enough to be willing to wait the 2-3 weeks between posts (yeah, I know I’m slow).  Last time, I did not have a solid idea, but I had a few ideas floating around.  One of those ideas was a game I bought for $3 in the consignment store at Buckeye Game Fest (BGF).  That game was Kablamo – the “fast-spinning game of Russian Roulette.”


I’ve known about this game since its release in 2004.  I can remember seeing it on the shelves at Ravenstone Games in Columbus, Ohio…and kind of being intrigued.  I’ve got a dark sense of humor, and at the time I thought a Russian Roulette game sounded like it could be darkly fun.  But the game retailed at $30-35, something like that…and I decided it was probably not worth that much to me.

Fast forward 9 years.  I’d all but forgotten Kablamo.  I’ve moved on, and played hundreds of games over the ensuing 9 years.  It didn’t register on my radar anymore.  Then, I’m in the consignment store at BGF, and I see it on a table.  That 9-year curiosity swelled inside me.  I passed by it the first time through.  It was $8 at the time.  The second time through the room, the price had dropped to $3.  One thing to know about me… I have trouble passing up any board game I find under $5 (ok, ok… $10).  No matter how bad it looks.  So, I snapped it up, and went along my way.

I get the game home, I open the box, and then something funny happened.  In place of the swelling curiosity was a sinking feeling, bordering on sadness. I felt absolutely no desire to play the game.  In fact, I honestly felt kind of dirty just owning the game at this point.  This feeling really hit when I start looking through the components.


Now, I’ve played games with “objectionable” themes before, and they didn’t bother me.  Somehow, Kablamo, even with it’s rather ridiculous Russian theme pasted on, felt a little too personal.  I’ve lost several friends / acquaintances / people I idolized to suicide, and at this moment every single one of them came to mind.  I suddenly felt that a game about (effectively) being the last one at the table to shoot themselves in the head felt crass, it felt disrespectful, and it felt wrong.

I’ve played games where I point guns at my best friends’ heads and laugh heartily (Cash’N Guns) without much thought.  One of my favorite games is based on a true event where 20,000 people were killed by an erupting volcano (The Downfall of Pompeii).  And then there’s always the classic “Can you make change for 10 Million people?” from Nuclear War.  Is this really that different?

In the past 10 days, the game’s been sitting on a table near me.  Tonight, I opened it up and organized the components and took a few pictures of them.  I still don’t know if or when I will get them game to the table, but I don’t feel quite as strongly negative  about it as I did a week and a half ago.  I suspect it’s going to be a game somebody else is going to have to suggest.  I just don’t know if “Hey, who wants to play a game about suicide?” will go over with many people well.

I’m curious if others have played Kablamo, and felt the same way, or had other games where the theme bothered them to the point where they wouldn’t play them.

Net time, I most assuredly will get back to playing some of the strange games in my collection.  I’m leaning towards looking at a group of sports dice games.  A few of these are “classics” but the big question is… are they fun?

Thanks for reading.


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