06 November 2018
Anchoring for a laugh
News@11 is a game of being part of a news crew, the type that Americans see on their TVs every day and the rest of the world knows mostly from the movie Anchorman. Well, it’s sort of a game. “There’s no scoring and no winners or losers, just a fun time,” declares the rulebook.
Everyone gets assigned a role on the crew, from lead anchor to sports and weather, and gets three cue cards which have one filled-in word and two blank slots. You write a word over one of the blanks, using the marker provided. The permanent marker.
Let’s pause for a moment and look at the logistics of this game. There are 146 cue cards. Say you’re playing with six people, half the maximum number. Each uses three cards, or 18 per game. Even with two slots on each card, you’ll have filled all of them in 16 games. In permanent marker. And this is (a) not a long game, and (b) a party game, not a legacy title.
The lead anchor deals one completed card to each player, and then you play through the morning news bulletin, each using the roles and the cues on the cards to improvise a short segment. The cards are reshuffled, everyone now gets two and you do the afternoon news; then it’s three cards each and the evening news.
It’s Mad Libs crossed with improv drama, without the constrained structure that makes either of those work. It can be very funny – I saw it reduce a ten-year-old to helpless giggling – but it’s not really a game, it’s not as clever as it thinks it is and it’s a small box with a limited lifespan. Back to you in the studio.
Designer: Jon Gilmour, John Burns, Travis Magrum, Ian Moss, James Schoch, Earl Tietsort
Time: 30-45 minutes
This review originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.