Game Buzz: Musical Chairs

You remember musical chairs, right? That game where you walk around and around in a circle, and then when the music stops, you sit in a chair as violently as possible, and try not to be eliminated? Well, now there’s a board game based on it, called

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Musical Chairs is a game by Kelly North Adams that has ben recently released by Rio Grande Games. It’s a 2-4 player game where you are simulating a walk around the chairs with cards.

The game comes with a circular board that shows the eight different chairs. You’ll randomly put eight chair cushion tokens with each chair, giving a special ability that can be claimed by someone who sits there. Each player starts the game with 8 cards, and players choose their starting chair in reverse turn order (the best musician goes first).

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

The start player begins a round by playing the lowest card in their hand. After playing a card, you move your player marker 1-3 spaces clockwise around the track. The next player must play a new card from their hand that is either higher or equal to the previous card played. A rest or repeat could always be played by anyone – a rest is played in front of you to basically skip your turn, while a repeat is played into the line of cards to mimic the card played just before it.

If a player cannot play a higher card, they have to make a decision. They can continue playing with an equal card, a rest, or a repeat, or they can choose to stop the music. Of course, if they don’t have anything to play, there’s no decision – you have to stop the music. If you can play a higher card, you cannot stop the music, but you still could play an equal card, a rest, or a repeat. When the music is stopped, the player who forced it takes the Music Stops! token. The cushion from the chair matching the final card played is moved off the board, but remains next to the chair it was taken from.

The player who occupies each chair now takes all of the cards that were played to the center of the matching suit. If two or more players end up in the same chair, a Butt Battle ensues – all affected players play a card from their hand, with the high card winning. After collecting your cards, you can also play cards from your hand that match the chair.

If you are in a chair that has an unclaimed chair cushion that has been removed from the board, you may discard a card from your discard pile to collect. You can only do this if there’s a removed cushion next to your final chair. This cushion will give you a special ability of some sort.

At the end of the round, you can choose to discard your entire hand, then draw back up to 8. The player who stopped the music in the previous round is now the new start player. The game ends when the last cushion is removed, or if there aren’t enough cards left to replenish hands. Count up the points on your cards, and the highest score wins.

image from Opinionated Gamers

OK, so it doesn’t REALLY simulate a game of musical chairs. You’re moving around this rondel and trying to manipulate your final position to get some high scoring cards, but the chairs don’t actually disappear. The cushions do, but you can still stop on that green chair even if the cushion is gone. Still, it seems like a pretty fun lightweight game. I can see this being a hit with families and more casual gamers, and of course, I always like games with a musical theme. I only wish there was a soundtrack included that you could turn on during the card play section and turn off when that phase is over. But I’m sure that’s something one could come up with on their own.

That’s all for today – thanks for reading!

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