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Melissa’s Game Night: DysFUNction

Welcome to another installment of Melissa’s Game Night. Recently, I had the comical pleasure of playing Dysfunction with two of my good friends – Rachel and Bennett. These two are close to my heart, as we lived 2 blocks from each other when we all lived in San Francisco, and then I followed them out to NYC (as they like to tell everyone) and now live 2 blocks away from them here. Needless to say, I enjoy their company.

When they invited me over a couple of weeks ago to third wheel their dinner (Rachel is an amazing cook and was the star member of my SF cooking club which we are trying to restart out here), I couldn’t help but bring a game along. Once the lasagna was done and the martinis were poured, we broke out DysFUNction. Warning: this game is not for the light of heart, or for children (actually!). Here is how you play:
“Find the fun in your dysfunction! The object of the game is to be the player with the most Baggage. Baggage is claimed by having and sharing your dysfunctional family stories. The first player to claim 15 Bags and fill their Baggage Cart wins the game.”

The board had a classic, winding look – along the lines of childhood favorites – and you rolled dice to move along the spaces. Some spaces had prompts on them – for example, the one I kept landing on was “Your family joins a cult, but the food is way better there. Lose 3 Bags.” Most of the spaces have either “Dig Deep” or “Family Fun” on them, and if you land on either of these, you pull a card. The Family Fun cards are mostly cards that say something sassy (again, warning, some of these were hard hitting – hilarious, but hard hitting) like “Your roll is a disappointment to your mother and me. Roll again. Get it right this time.” The Dig Deep cards were the most intense slash hilarious slash interesting slash fun. These cards prompt you to tell a story in theme of family or childhood dysfunction, and then appoint a judge for your story from the table. The Judge of the story would give you 1 to 3 bags based on the quality of your story – the better the story, the more Bags the Judge awards. Some of our funnier stories were told in response to these cards:

All in all, we definitely enjoyed this game and were rolling in laughter the whole time, with high scoring anecdotes ranging from “my dad’s fiancée is younger than I am” (three bags) to “I monogram all my clothes so my family members can’t steal them” (one bag). That said, even with just three of us and all of us knowing each other well, the questions were still comically and awkwardly probing – the beauty and the curse of the questions is that they “dig deep” into questions and memories that you don’t typically address – which is great because you remember stories that you don’t usually tell, but awkward because they ask you to tell stories that you wouldn’t typically share.

I definitely recommend this game as a way to get to know good friends better – it might be more challenging with a group that is more on the acquaintance side.

If you revel in a little bit of awkwardness and love reclaiming old memories, this game is for you. The three of us actually ended up enjoying the game so much that we brought the cards with us on a ski road trip the next weekend and continued the bumbling hilarity.

Written by Melissa B

Melissa is a California native, and a new New York transplant. She lives in Manhattan and makes the commute across the bridge to Brooklyn to work at UncommonGoods as the Senior Buyer for the Children’s, Leisure, and Desktop categories. She has no sense of direction, but loves to travel; has no skill, but loves to cook; and currently has an obsession with putty.

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