The premise of Billionaire Banshee is simple, yet effective. The entire thing can be explained via the game’s title – would you date a billionaire who was also a banshee? And yes, there is more to it than that but this simple question will have you and your friends laughing in moments. You’ll get ridiculous combinations such as your date being a cyborg who is also invisible or a genius who can’t stop crying. With each new combination, you’ll question whether your friend would in fact date a person with whatever the perk and quirk are. However, this lustre soon loses its shine and sometimes a combination isn’t very funny. The real question is whether the highs outweigh the lows and make this game worth adding to your collection.
Let’s start with the highs. Billionaire Banshee comes with a few ways to play that all revolve around that simple question of, “would you?”. At its most basic, you draw a perk and quirk and vote as together your friend would go on a date with that person. You can track points but if you are coming to Billionaire Banshee looking to ‘win’, you’re doing it wrong. The next emulates a dating show where one person has to pick who to take on a date and everyone else gets their own perk and quirk. This one is great as you and your friends have to try and sell why your perk is amazing and your quirk is better than you might think. For me, this is the best way to play Billionaire Banshee as it means everyone is involved in the silliness.
When it reaches those highs, you can play Billionaire Banshee for hours and laugh an awful lot. Everyone gets a chance to make questionable decisions and blag their way into a date. It’s a lot of fun as a warm-up to a larger game or for an evening of entertainment. However, once you’ve had that evening or seen a lot of the cards, the second time is never as funny as the first. And you know what, that’s fine. I don’t necessarily need to have hundreds of games of Billionaire Banshee. I’d much rather have a few excellent games than lots of mediocre ones. However, it’s when those few games you have of Billionaire Banshee aren’t great that I start to question keeping this box on my shelf.
So let’s talk about the lows. I’ve already touched on the fact that once you’ve seen the cards seeing them again is far less funny. However, it’s worse than that. Some of the cards are straight up funnier than others and if you draw a bad combination, then the entire joke of this game falls flat. This means that you are either entirely dependent on the luck of the draw or you need to curate the combinations to make sure that the laughs keep coming. This creates some admin and upkeep to a game that is about quick-fire jokes and light silliness, not something I necessarily want to have to do. On top of that, you’ll find that some combinations just don’t work for certain groups. There is a remarkable amount of toilet humour in the box which while hilarious for some is the opposite for others. Again this brings back the curation element, so even more admin. All of which means that for this game to reach those delectable highs, you need to spend some time getting the combinations right and that isn’t something I’m willing to do when another game can hit similar heights straight out of the box.
And then you have one of the main issues of Billionaire Banshee, and that is that it doesn’t work with certain groups. There are party games like Cockroach Poker or A Fake Artist Goes to New York that you can play with more or less anyone. However, Billionaire Banshee works best with a close-knit group of friends who aren’t afraid to look silly in front of each other. At the end of the day, you are sharing quite personal parts of yourself here and that can be an immediate turn off to a lot of people. Unlike games like Funemployed that put you on the spot in a ridiculous situation, Billionaire Banshee makes it all personal. It’s not I think I’d be great at this job because I love bees, it’s I wouldn’t date this person because I hate people who cry. And it only takes a little bit of that for you to get judged, feel like you’ve been judged or that you could potentially be judged to make a fun experience an awkward one. You didn’t sign up for anything heavy here, you came for silliness but Billionaire Banshee and quickly turn and it can be unpleasant.
But hey, that is probably not true for everyone and in all my games, I played with lovely people who liked each other, but from chatting to them afterwards it made them uncomfortable and that is why it’s not staying on my shelf. I’d much rather lie to Matt about giving him a bat in Cockroach Poker than make him feel bad about not wanting to date a cyborg. So yes, Billionaire Banshee can be really funny but it can also be not funny at all. I’ll let you decide if the highs are worth the lows, but I don’t think they are.
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