Tuesday 26 June 2012

Review - The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game

The Worst-Case Scenario Surviva Game

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game
Published by University Games
Designed by people who do not understand the concepts of "fun," "game," and "worst-case"
For 2 or more players (read, "victims"), aged 8 to adult

I own a lot of games. Lots of them are little curiosities that my wife has found in charity shops and picked up because she thought I might like them. That's why I own a copy of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game, possibly one of the most awful games to have ever graced my tabletop.

This is a game based on a book that proves that games based on books are generally not much better than games based on movies, which as we all know, are generally crap (you can see my reviews of Small Soldiers: Big Battle Game, The Princess Bride: Storming the Castle, or Eragon if you would like proof).

However, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game could well be the worst of the lot. You could say the worst-case scenario for me would be playing it (ha ha) and its chances of survival in my collection are rather slim (he he).

Man, I need better jokes.

Anyway, this is one of those good old-fashioned roll and move trivia games. I really hate those games. It ships in a big box that contains a small deck of cards, some player pieces, a dice, and the board. With the exception of the board, the rest of the game could fit in your pocket, meaning this game has possibly the smallest game-to-box ratio of any game I have ever seen. It also has the smallest fun-to-game ratio, but more on that in a minute.

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game - inside the box
Did the box really need to be this big?

The aim of the game is simple. Players each control one of four coloured playing pieces (if you feel the urge to involve lots of people - for example, you are part of a large suicide cult - then you can play in teams). On your turn you roll the dice, and then you get asked a question by the player/team on your right. If you get the question right, you move your piece forward on the track by the number you rolled; if you get the question wrong, the peson who asked you the question moves his or her piece by the number rolled instead.

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game rules
The rules - Yes, there genuinely is a warning message on the front cover.
Don't try this at home kids (playing the game, I mean).

The first person to get to the finish space on the board wins the game, thereby earning the eternal gratitude of anyone who was unfortunate enough to be involved.

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game - board details
Blue and White hunt for Bigfoot.

Okay, so the game is very simple; but the same can be said for many trivia games. Such games will rise or fall based on the strength of the questions provided. Unfortunately, the questions in The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game are crap.

Each question is framed in the same manner. You are given a scenario, and then three possible solutions for resolving that situation without ending up dead or severely injured. For example, you might be asked how to fend off a shark, or you might be asked how to escape from killer bees.

It sounds like that might be really interesting, but it isn't. With the more outlandish questions, all three possible answers seem feasible; and because they purposefully do not include the most obvious solution, you will probably end up having to guess. However, the biggest problem is the weird mix of questions in the deck. One person might get asked how to find land while lost at sea, while someone else gets asked how to do CPR.

There are also some questions which hardly seem in-keeping with the "worst-case" theme.

One of the questions asks, "how to treat skin that has been in contact with bleach." Seriously? Is this a game about survival or misplacing your marigolds?

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Game question card
Spoiler: The answer in bold is the right one (no shit, Sherlock)

My absolute favourite question, and the one that made me realise this game had been rushed out as quickly as possible with as little thought as possible, was "how to fix a leaking radiator."

There is even one question that asks you the correct way to punch someone, and for a game that can be played with young children, that really made me uncomfortable.

Yeah, this game is bad.

I thought it might be okay to play with my mates over a few drinks; but it isn't. The questions aren't funny enough to be entertaining, and most of them are too outlandish to be educational for younger players. Its a strange mix that leaves the game feeling completely soulless and boring.

In fact, this game is so bad it... Actually, you know what? I can't be bothered. Screw it. It's not worth the effort.

I'm gonna go play Lords of Waterdeep.


  1. Replies
    1. I'm going to assume you are joking, as I can't imagine anyone really wanting to go out and buy this after my glowing recommendation. However, just in case you aren't joking: This game is out of print, so your best bets are eBay, charity shops/thrift stores, or trying to find a trade on a specialist site such as www.boardgamegeek.com

  2. Just come across this game online and looked for some reviews and found this site, guess I will pass up on this one haha. (if you feel the urge to involve lots of people - for example, you are part of a large suicide cult - then you can play in teams) <-- this gave me the best laugh in a long time.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad I could be of assistance. I like to think I suffered playing this game for the good of humankind.

  3. I bought this game today at a yard sale for $1, then read your review. May as well give it a try.

    1. You were overcharged by approximately $1. On the plus side, playing this makes every other game seem so much better. Even Monopoly.

  4. I just bought this game at an estate sale for $3. I thought its was a great idea because my kids are going to summer camp this year. OMG. I should have pre screened this game. One card asked how do you take a punch to the face correctly!!!!!!! Another asked how to help someone that drank anti freeze....the answer was to have the victim sip on whiskey. Then lastly how to swim in a river? One of the answers said to unzip your pants to prevent the zipper from rusting. We laughed so hard and I started crying because of how inappropriate it was.

    1. There were a few questions that made me quite uncomfortable, especially considering the game is recommended for players as young as 8.

      Thanks for reading.


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