I am in love with this game. Anywhere games are being played, I want to play it. And whenever I introduce it to a new batch of people, some of them are almost guaranteed to say, “This is awesome! Where can I get my own set?”
Slash is a slash-fiction/’shipping game, in which you pair up characters from different fictional universes and explain why they’re destined for romantic or sexual bliss. The basic game mechanic is very similar to Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples; the vibe is somewhat reminiscent of Cards Against Humanity, but it’s not at all mean-spirited. (I’ve actually gotten to the point where I don’t want to play CAH unless it’s with people I know really well.) Slash has a wild, rollicking, “I can’t believe you went there!” quality, but the basic tone is actually sort of sweet. (You can buy it or download and print their free version.)
There’s one set of cards, with names and brief descriptions: mostly fictional pop-culture characters (James T. Kirk, Morticia Addams, Josie & the Pussycats, Count Chocula, Godzilla); some literary characters (Lady Macbeth, Mr. Darcy, Dracula); some mythological and fairy-tale figures (Snow White, Zeus); a handful of real people, alive or dead (Madonna, Thomas Edison, the Marquis de Sade). Each player takes turn being the judge: the judge picks a card from their hand (“Match up She-Hulk”!), and the other players pick a card from their hands to pair up with that character. When all the cards are in, the judge reads the pairings out loud, and everyone takes a turn explaining why their match-up is the best, or making up a story about it. You can pair people up for a wild one-night stand, a tempestuous and doomed romance, the great love of their lives — whatever you like. (If a lot of people are playing, the judge picks their favorite three or four match-ups, and just those players explain or storytell.)
What story would you tell about Count Chocula and She-Hulk?
Or Bugs Bunny and Gandhi?
Or Helen of Troy and Godzilla? I can’t remember these stories now, but these were all winning hands.
The way we play, you can discard and replace any cards with characters you don’t recognize. We don’t want to get into that thing where people feel like they’re not cool enough, or not caught up enough on pop culture. I often wind up discarding half the cards I draw, but I know enough of them to have an awesome time. (The game also includes blank cards, so you can make your own.)
And no, you don’t have to defer to the dominant paradigm of couples and monogamy. If everyone in the game agrees, the judge can pick a triad or more.
And no, Xena and Gabrielle were not unicorn hunting! I forget the story, but it wasn’t that. Although The Last Unicorn is a character in the game, so…
Some cards even demand group scenes!
I don’t remember the details of this hand, but I remember it was pretty raunchy. Something to do with the Line Block from Tetris being the only one who could satisfy all of the Golden Girls.
And this is one of my very favorite rounds, from Skepticon 8. I don’t even remember which pairing won: I just remember how impressed I was at the hilarious, sick-bastard pairings people came up with for Mother Teresa.
If you can’t read the card or the caption: Players attempted to pair Mother Teresa with Gandhi, Rosebud the sled, Lady Macbeth, Santa Claus, and the Marquis de Sade.
One of the things I love about this game is that you can tailor the tone to the vibe of the group. When we play it at the Godless Perverts Social Club Game Night, things can get pretty raunchy and kinky, as you might imagine. But if you’re playing with a less sex-oriented crowd, or just with people who don’t know each other that well, you can keep it less sexual and more romantic.
If you care about keeping score: If the judge picks your pairing, you get a point. The cards have points on them, since supposedly some characters are harder to pair than others, but we have never, ever paid attention to that. This is not a game where winning and losing is the point. This is a game where silliness and fun is the point. Enjoy!