Critical Play – Cheers to the Governor (uphatak)


This week, I analyzed Cheers to the Governor, a social drinking game that served as the inspiration for my team’s game. I’m not sure who made it. I played it in a group of three. The ideal number of players is more like 6-8; however, since my team ideated our P1 game with only the three members of our team, I wanted to play Cheers to the Governor with a small number of people as well. We played in person, and without alcohol there are no props necessary, so I have no pictures.

The target audience is college-age+ students since it’s a drinking game. Without the drinking however, it could be played by anyone who can count to 21 and adapt to new rules (probably 12+). We played for 15 minutes, making it 7 rounds through the game. We did not drink, which made analyzing the mechanics more interesting.

The main formal elements to note are that new rules are added at the end of each round (like Fluxx), it’s a co-op game (like Pandemic or Hanabi), and the penalty for messing up is drinking (somewhat like King’s Cup). Thus, its genre is primarily a social drinking game. As we played, I noticed the following aesthetics, and thought about the dynamics and mechanics that made them up, especially the two formal elements I noted previously.

MDA Elements


Contributing Mechanics: A new rule is added every round, with ambiguous limitations on what the rule can be.

Dynamics: Because there are non-standard rules on what the actual rules can or should be, people have different “house rules”. In addition, because there is an infinite set of rules to choose from, the game feels fresh, personable, and exciting every time you play.

How these create the type of fun: Because of these dynamics, it’s a different game every time you play, and potentially even depending on who you play with. This keeps it fun both during the round, and makes you want to play more rounds. I think this is overall very successful. But I also think this could lead to some frustration (explained more in Fellowship section).


Contributing Mechanics: Everyone is working together to get to the final number, 21; if someone messes up, everyone must start over.

Dynamics: People start to give each other hints in good faith (there is no defensive strategy in the game.) But, as above, people also start to get frustrated with team members, because there is no personal strategy that can protect one from someone else’s mistakes.

How these create the type of fun: Since everyone is working together, people start to form links with those around them. However, this can also lead to frustration: especially in a drunk setting, it’s annoying to have to rely on others or wait on others to get something right. Then, doing the same sequence repeatedly gets boring. This makes this aesthetic a fail, in my opinion.

I also noticed lesser aesthetics of Challenge (form the mechanic of time limits on turns) and Expression (from the mechanic of everyone needing to come up with their own rule), but have left out the explanations to keep this to a reasonable word count.

Final Thoughts and Changes I Would Make

I thought one needed to be drunk for this game to be fun. However, I found that was not the case at all. So, even though I think the game can get long and frustrating (which is what we wanted to change for P1), the designers ultimately succeeded. I would make the following changes:

  • Change the competition style from co-op to team-based. This would up the stakes for each individual player and make them more invested in making sure other players don’t mess up. It would add the dynamic of team strategy, and I think, help the game better achieve its aesthetic of Fellowship.
  • Add a mechanic that players must decide on the types of rules that are allowed before gameplay starts. This would speed up the new rule creation process, and make sure everyone is on board with the overall rules of the game (e.g. can they be “mathy”? what are the boundaries of the rules)? By clarifying the formal element of boundaries, I think the aesthetics of Discovery and Challenge would be better satisfied.

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