Master Dater is the latest board game to come from the Cyanide and Happiness team, and this one’s quite different than their previous games.
This one — Master Dater – is a dating-themed, card-matching game. I played this on a Friday evening with my housemates – an environment that lends itself well to this sort of game.
The setup is super simple, taking less than 10 minutes — absolutely perfect for those who don’t like to spend time reading rules. Its art style is instantly recognisable as Cyanide and Happiness which fans of the comics will enjoy. Straightaway, the general vibe is similar to that of other raunchy card games like Cards Against Humanity, but marginally less offensive. You probably wouldn’t play this game with your kids or grandma, but you might play it with your parents.
The general gist is this; each player draws three ‘head’ cards and three ‘body’ cards. The ‘sexy single’ of the group then draws three ‘interest’ cards, reads them out and places them in front of the group. The interest cards have sentences like “I’m looking for someone who is a bad influence” or “I am interested in superstition”. It is then up to each member of the group to assemble a match for the sexy single using a head and body card that closely matches the criteria of the interest cards.
One by one, each person around the table reveals their combination to the rest of the group and spends time outlining their case to the sexy single of why they meet their dating interests. This is where the fun really starts as you see each person’s ridiculous combinations and justifications of why they should be chosen.
The sexy single then awards their interest cards to their chosen match as points – one person can be awarded all three cards, or three people can be awarded one each. Then the next person sitting clockwise becomes the new sexy single and the process repeats until a person in the group has five interest cards.
Some humorous combinations that were played during our game were “Emo Threatening a Baby”, “Neck Beard Big Winner” and “Reptilian with a Gun”. My favourite part of the game was justifying to the sexy single why my dating candidate should be chosen.
There is a lot to like about Master Dater, but if I had to criticise something it is that people who prefer complex rules-based board games may find this too simplistic. It is true that after ten or so rounds interest started to wane slightly as the gameplay can be quite repetitive. One way that we found to keep things fresh was to increase the number of head and body cards each player was allowed from three to five. This increased the possibility of coming up with funnier combinations.
I would recommend this game as a quick and fun party game to play with friends and housemates. It would make a great gift for any fans of the cartoon. I do feel that this game would benefit from being played in an environment where people are drinking – unfortunately, we were all sober, but this didn’t stop us from having a great time. The strongest element of this game is replayability, the sheer number of cards means the number of head and body combinations is practically unlimited. Certainly enough for many hours of fun over hundreds of playthroughs.
You can purchase Master Dater on Amazon.