[email protected] Card Game Review (Floodgate Games)


[email protected] is a cyclical storytelling game made for large groups of people. There are many games like this one, but this one is special for a few important reasons. 

There are times when I am no fun. I know this. One of those times is when playing improvisational party games. I hate improvisational party games. Improvisational games make shy people feel awkward and nervous, and they give bolder, brasher people the license to be "OMG RANDOM." Nearly all of them are coated in some thin veneer of naughtiness or obscenity. So when I say that [email protected] is a good game, it should carry more weight than my normally completely arbitrary opinions.

News @ 11 Card Game Review

Players: 4 to 11

Game Time: 30 Minutes

Age: 12+

Genre: Storytelling / Party

How is News @ 11 Played?

News @ 11 is a game that is almost entirely built of prompt cards. When pulled, these prompt cards are filled out mad-libs style. A card may say "[food item]" and you'll write in "Strawberry" with a permanent marker. At the bottom will be a typed word, such as "attorneys."

You write in permanent marker. This game develops as you play it and becomes filled with in-jokes and vestiges of past times.  

Everyone is playing a news anchor, and their goal is to make up a news broadcast based on randomly assigned prompts. One person serves as the announcer, who gives them different types of report to build off of, such as a traffic report. Another person can quickly change the course of events, by demanding that one show interrupt another, or that a dramatic news development has occurred.

Three rounds are played: one morning, one afternoon, and one evening news segment. During each round, more cards are handed out.

It may actually be the first game I've seen that comes with a permanent marker.

Why is News @ 11 Different?

I've hated so many party games that when I saw News @ 11 get pulled out, I refused to play it. I still had visions of Bucket of Doom playing in my head. But the more I think about News @ 11, the more I come to the conclusion that it's really quite brilliant. Here's why:

  • It has built in roles for those who don't want to be "on the spot." The announcer doesn't have to improvise, nor does the person handing out event cards. Thus, your entire group can play even if some are less socially inclined.
  • It doesn't rely upon naughtiness. Many party games are really designed to put people into "adult" situations or bring up adult topics -- which isn't a bad goal on the surface, but leads to the gameplay taking a back seat.
  • It has no required point system. People aren't scored, and that's a big deal. In improvisatnoal games, we always struggled with the scoring aspect, because you're essentially scoring the talent and humor of people in a very niche context.
  • It evolves. Cards are filled out with permanent marker, not dry erase. This is a game that evolves with your group, steadily gaining additional in-jokes and variations with time. 

Now, here's the final thing: I still don't like this game. I don't think I'll ever like an improvisational game. But I can recognize that it's a good game for those who want to play this type of game. It's a lot of silliness and randomness, it's light-hearted, and it has options for those who want to be on the sidelines enjoying the fun. That inclusive nature is what, in my mind, makes it a solid game -- and I at least try to rate games based on how well they do at being what they are

News @ 11 Board Game Review
  • PRO: It's a social game for people who don't like social games, and it plays up to 11.
  • CON: Good luck finding it, the Kickstarter sent out something like 400 copies. According to the developer, it should be available for sale... now?