Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable… RED FLAGS BABY!

Name of game: RED FLAGS: The Game of Terrible Dates

Created by: Jack Dire Studios

Platform: Card Game!

Theme: Judging Game (think Apples to Apples but spicy)

For my Competitive Analysis, I’ve decided to analyze Red Flags, a spicy party guessing game for adults allowing for 3-10 players. The rules are easy to follow and super accessible for all; if you want a good time, this game is a quick and fun way to pass time. The pack comes with 175 Perk cards, 225 Red Flag cards and instructions! My parents got me this game for my birthday and this assignment was the perfect excuse to play! So, let’s get into it!

Red Flags: The Game of Terrible Dates is the perfect addition to any game night with friends for everyone (18+),  no matter how single or taken you are. Essentially all participants have to compete to hook up the round’s ‘Single’ with the best date all the while sabotaging each other with Red Flags cards which will get the ‘Single’ to reconsider their choice. The red flags themselves are hilarious and creating amazing dates that make up for them is a fun challenge; it’s definitely NOT easy to convince someone to go on a date with someone who “always picks their nose”; but, I am extremely competitive, so best believe that I did convince the ‘Single’ by highlighting the fact that nose picking is an indicator of their cleanliness and responsibility (rather than nastiness) which is what EVERYONE wants in a partner 😉.

As said above, to play Red Flags, players must first follow the game’s procedural set-up. Before playing, they must separate the red Red Flag cards from the white perk cards, placing them in the middle of all players. Then, all players proceed to vote on who should be the single of that round (the person who has went on the most irl dates is usually the first Single) and then pick 3 Red Flags and 4 Perks! The objective of the game is to be the first player to get to seven points (have your date chosen seven times) or just play until no one wants to go out with someone ever again. The game is both a multiplay-coop but also a player vs. player. 

The specific dynamics/mechanics of Red Flags Include:

  • The Perks: qualities that make the date fun!
    • Analyzing what you know about your friend playing the ‘Single,’ players must choose two Perks to create the best date suited for them.
    • All players must read their cards aloud to the table (consequently implementing a fun storytelling dynamic).
  • Blank Cards: qualities that you think would make the date AMAZING for the select single.
    • When a card has a black space, players get to fill in the black with whatever they want! This is SUCH an advantage especially when you know the Single very well.
    • These cards definitely are a test of how well you know the people you are playing with; each time I’ve played one, I never lost a round haha.
  • The Red Flags: qualities that make the date HEINOUS.
    • All players play a Red Flag card onto the player to their left which essentially acts as an obstacle to spur conflict and challenge.
  • The Single is changed each round in a counter-clockwise manner  so that everyone can play as every role!
  • You are able to draw cards randomly after each round in order to always have 3 Red Flags and 4 Perks!
  • THE DEBATE and ARGUMENTATIVE part of this game is honestly my favorite game dynamic. Essentially, after all cards are played, every player has to argue why their date is the best despite their red flags to the ‘Single’ and why everyone else’s date, in comparison, is horrible. So, let’s just say it gets pretty heated.
  • At the end of the game, you reshuffle the cards and play again!

Red Flags is a GREAT game! When I played with my girlfriends a few days ago, we were constantly laughing and simply had a blast. We all experienced a sense of challenge, competition, and creative expression while playing the game which got us completely addicted and hyped for the next round. After debriefing with them and hearing their thoughts on the game, we all came to the consensus that the game is super engaging and promotes a fun social environment. Everyone enjoyed playing both roles for different reasons. Some of us enjoyed the Single role because of the sense of power it gives you while others liked hearing what people think they would like best in partners/dates. And, as for the date creator role, people loved how they could test their knowledge of their friends, get creative with answers, and sabotage others in the funniest ways. Whenever any of us lost a round, we became very heated and this frustration is what kept us playing into the next round to redeem ourselves. The game had a multitude of elements which made it fun, but honestly the best part of it was spending time with the squad and its promotion of fellowship. We learned more about each other, made a bunch of funny jokes/scenarios, and just had a great time in each other’s presence :)!

If I was to make the game better, I would:

  1. Make a mechanic where you can sabotage ANYONE of your choice, not just the person on your left. I was super frustrated when I had the perfect dealbreaker for someone else’s date but I couldn’t play it.
  2. Make some spicier read flags; at least for my friends, some of the cards got a little vanilla. This made the game less exciting at certain points haha.
  3. Have the Single create a player profile (could be made up or true) so date makers can be challenged to stick to the theme and the Single’s desires.

I VERY much liked Red Flags, probably more so than the average person. I am super interested in the intersection of storytelling, games, and romance (honestly, that’s an understatement, romance in games is my passion and what gets me up every morning haha). Though it has the same general mechanics of other games of its genre like apples to apples or Cards against Humanity, the implementation of drama and romance makes the game stand out and my favorite. Love makes people excited and this game perfectly facilitates this.

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