Stuff and Nonsense is a game by James Ernest, published by Cheapass Games. It is for 2-6 players. In this game, players will take on the role of cowardly adventurers. They will be sneaking around the city to collect evidence for their imaginary expeditions, returning to the Adventurer’s Club to offer up the most fantastic lies possible about their journeys. They’ll have to be careful though as Professor Elemental will be doing his best to catch them. The player that can spin the best tales will be declared the winner.
To begin, the map cards are placed on the table. The Adventurer’s Club and Market cards are placed in the middle of the play area with the other six map cards set up randomly in a ring around them. The five bonus cards are placed in a vertical row beside the ring of cards in numerical order based on the die icons on each. The main deck is then shuffled and each player is dealt a card face down. Eight more cards are drawn and placed face up on the appropriate locations, determined by the type of card. Players choose a color and place the corresponding colored pawn on the Adventurer’s Club card. The Professor Elemental pawn is placed randomly on one of the shop cards. The die is rolled and his pawn is then moved that many places clockwise around the outer ring of cards. The first player is chosen and play now begins.
On a player’s turn, they may either move their pawn one space from their current location or they may stay where they are. Each one of the locations provide different things. If the player’s pawn is on one of the shops, they can take one of the cards from that shop and add it to their hand. If they are on the Market, they may trade a card by discarding a card from their hand and drawing a new one from the deck. If they are on the Adventurer’s Club, they have to turn in cards to tell a story of their adventure.
Telling a tale of adventure is how player’s score points. To do this, the player must discard a certain amount of cards for the place that they choose. For example to say they went to Africa, it only requires 2 cards be used. The player is not allowed to use more than one card of each type. So for instance, for the player to say they went to the Amazon, they will have to use one of each type of card. The cards used must also have a point value of at least 1 for that area. Once this has all been determined to be in order, the player may either make up a story or read the flavor text on the cards. They will then score points based on the values of the cards they used adding the current bonus for that particular place that they chose. The score is then written down on a piece of paper.
After the story is over, the Professor Elemental pawn is moved one place clockwise. The bonus value of the destination that was just used gets reduced by one. This is shown by rotating the location card. One random location is then increased by rolling the die. That location is then rotated up to show the increase. If a one is rolled or the number of the location that was just decreased is rolled, then no bonus value is increased. The player then draws a card if they have no cards left in their hand.
Once a player has finished their turn, a new card is drawn and added to the playing area but only if a card was removed. There should always be 8 cards on the board. If a card is drawn and it has a movement arrow on it that is equal to or greater than the number of players, then the Professor Elemental pawn is moved one place clockwise. If a player ever move into the same location as Professor Elemental or his pawn moves onto the same area as their pawn, they must then pay a penalty. The player may choose to either discard one card or lose a point for every card in their hand. Once this is all complete, play passes to the next player.
The game continues from player to player until someone reaches the required score which is determined by the number of players. The player that reaches that number first is the winner.
This game consists of lots of cards. There are several different types of Adventure cards that contain anecdotes, artifacts, facts, photographs, heroes and specimens that are used to tell the player’s tales of adventure. Each one has a matching color that corresponds with one of the 6 shop cards. There are also the Adventurer’s Club and Market cards. Each adventure card is quite whimsical in the artwork that was used. The flavor text can be quite silly from time to time as well. The theme comes out quite well and the cards are quite sturdy and nice. There are several pawns in different player colors as well as the larger Professor Elemental pawn. These are rather sturdy and nice as well. The game also comes with a regular 6 sided die. Everything is packaged nice and neatly inside the slender box and looks really good. I like the theme and enjoy the artwork. All in all, a good quality product.
8 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is really simple, like most of the Cheapass Games rulebooks. It begins with a nice little narrative into the world of Professor Elemental that I really enjoyed. It then takes you through the setup and gameplay quite nicely. It includes pictures of the setup and several examples of play with pictures as well. Everything is laid out quite nicely and there’s nothing difficult to understand at all. It’s a really simple read through that won’t take a lot of time. It’s not very think and is more like the size of a pamphlet than an actual rulebook. That works great with the box that is a long rectangular shaped design. Overall, it looks nice and simple and gets the job done. I like it.
8 out of 10
The game is a simple and fun romp through the world of Professor Elemental. It can be quite humorous and fun. It’s quite light and is one that can be picked up and played by almost anyone without too much explanation. It really plays best with 4 players or more. That way you get the most out of the silliness that is rampant in this game. It’s not a deep and strategic game but is still very entertaining. The setup is quick and easy and the game is small enough to be carried and played anywhere. Of course, the story’s the thing. You’ll be either using the flavor text from the cards or making up your own stories, making sure to collect the most points possible each time. You will have to keep an eye on where Professor Elemental is and try your best to stay out of his way. No one wants to lose a card and especially not any points. The game doesn’t last that long, as long as players don’t get TOO elaborate with their adventurous tales. It can usually be played in about 45 minutes. That puts this game somewhere between a filler and a full on game for me. I tend to think more in terms of a longer filler style game. In any case, it’s a fun game.
8 out of 10
Stuff and Nonsense is a light weight card game of humorous story telling and hand management. It’s a bit long for a filler game but too short for a full fledged game with most sessions lasting around 45 minutes. Regardless of filler or full fledged game, it’s fun. The artwork is light and humorous on each card. The flavor text is quite entertaining and silly as well. The game is quite simple and can be easily learned and played by almost anyone without much trouble. Fans of games like Munchkin and Gloom should really enjoy this game. Professional liars and story tellers will thoroughly enjoy being able to use their talents to craft a preposterous tale. I enjoy the laughter and fun that can be had with this game. It’s one that I recommend playing with a group of 4 or more for the most fun. It’s light, fun and best of all portable enough to play anywhere. I recommend it. The next great adventurer could be you.
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Cheapass Games at their site.