Lately, I’ve been jumping between playing more complex, longer games and short and simple ones. I like doing this, specifically, I enjoy the variety of those experiences and what entices me about them. If you’re looking for a game to have some fun with again, l might have one for you.
As the seasons are turning and some of us are starting to head back indoors, that may mean you’ll start to gather with friends and loved ones. What better way to spur that on and inspire laughter than to break out a party game. What Next? is one of the newest games from Big Potato Games that you can bring to your next gathering.
What Next? contains three different stories of varying difficulty, where you and your friends do a sort of choose your own adventure with mini games thrown in. As with all card-based choose your own adventure games, you’ll start out with a setup story and then there is a choice of where to go or what to do.
But What Next? is unlike other choose your own adventure games, where you just pick which location you want to go to. You will have to complete a mini-challenge and your success or failure at that challenge will determine what happens to your party. Success means you get to go where you intended to and occasionally get item cards that will help with future challenges. If you fail, you will have to stack peril pieces. You will run into a lot of these, and it will be in your interest to keep this stack vertical, because if it ever falls, you all lose the scenario.
There’s one more little wrinkle to add to the game. Before a player draws the next location card, they rotate that adventure’s time dial. Most of the time, nothing happens. But, whenever it comes to a danger space, you will flip over the location deck. Yes, these cards are double-sided, and this other side is a bit more challenging than the lighter side. But this usually only lasts one round. Other than that, do your best to make it to the end of your adventure before you either run out of peril pieces to stack or your tower topples over, and that’s the game!
I have played a lot of Big Potato Games since I started reviewing here, and this is one of their most enjoyable ones. Choose your own adventure games are not necessarily interesting on their own. They’re pretty much a one-and-done sort of experience, even when they have a strong narrative or great puzzles that keep you hooked. While the stories for each scenario are silly and not to be taken seriously, it’s the mini games that will give What Next? lasting appeal. There are several dexterity-based challenges, as well as some timed puzzlers that add a fun, stressful element to the game that we really enjoyed, and it was fun to have the pressure on to succeed.
Now, it wasn’t just for the credit of being awesome under pressure that made completing these mini games fun. The success or failure actually steered the narrative and what the next story options would be, and I think that was a great design choice. No longer are you just making an arbitrary story choice, but you actually have to earn it. I think it is a great way to get the group really invested in what happens. Each person will have a chance to read the location info and do a challenge. That’s also a sort of beauty in the fact that there are a variety of these mini games. If you are terrible at dexterity games, there are others that you may be better suited for and can show off your skills to be the hero of the group.
Let’s talk about the player count for a second. What Next? plays one to four players. While I don’t mind playing a game by myself, don’t play this one alone. Some of the challenges that come up can be completed or are modified for a solo player. But I don’t know why you would want to do that. Part of the enjoyment I got from playing this game was the shared exclamation of someone completing one of the mini games. Think of watching your favorite team at home by yourself versus in the stands with other fans. Could you still enjoy it? Sure. But there is definitely a difference in enjoyability. If you’re playing with two to four people, you’ll have a great experience.
I don’t always comment on the component quality, especially with a party game. You expect there to be a sort of disposable quality to them. Most games are middle of the road in this department. But some definitely took shortcuts. But that’s not the case with What Next?. The box and all the components are really quite nice. It has a magnetized clasper that I don’t think was necessary but is a nice touch. But with that added quality and the variety of unique plastic pieces is a price. Literally. The game retails for around $50, so off the bat, people may not pull the trigger. I get it. A party game and $50 are two things we don’t usually put together in the same sentence. But if you decide to buy this, I think you will find a durable, solid quality game that will stand up to multiple flicks and drops on the table, as well as many good times had by all.
It is well documented that I am a big fan of party games. I have always enjoyed lighter, fun games and the entertainment they can bring to a group. Certainly, we must consider the current situation of what we are all living through now. So depending on where you are and if you gather with people, that will probably determine if you’re even going to pick up What’s Next?. But whenever that mythical time of friends gathering together and you feeling safe comes back around, I definitely would encourage you to give this game a spin. It’s silly fun and rules light. It’ll get you laughing again and remind you of why you enjoy playing games with friends.
Final Score: 4.5 Stars – A silly and entertaining party game
• Price may be out of reach for what people will pay for a party game
• Advertises 1-4 players, but not as fun with 1