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I bought Martinis and Men on a whim from the clearance table at Barnes and Noble. It looked pretty cheesy, but it was only a few bucks, and being a fan of both martinis and men, I figured it would at least be guilty fun.
After quite a few drinks, I managed to talk some of my friends into playing it with me.
The box itself is pretty small, about the size of a book, so it fits nicely on your game shelf without taking up too much room; it's also small enough to be easily hidden behind your copies of Arkham Horror and Last Night On Earth when certain friends are around.
The cards (80 of them) feature attractive, brightly colored images of different cartoon-like characters along with two printed "traits" for that character. There are also some special cards that allow things like re-rolling dice. These are divided into a blue deck (men) and a red deck (women). It also comes with several sets of blue and red dice, which feature icons (hearts, lightning, and, of course, martinis) instead of numbers. The rulebook is small, stapled booklet.
Martinis and Men bills itself as a "Hip Matchmaking Game"; it's basically Go Fish with dice and a couple extra rules.
At the start of the game, the blue and red decks are shuffled together, and each player gets 6 cards. The rules say that the person who most recently attended a wedding goes first.
On their turn, each player draws a card, then selects a card from their hand, lays it down on the table, and states the person's traits. Ex. "I have a Laid Back Homebody". The player then checks to see if any characters of the opposite sex** (see the end of this section for the obvious available rule-changes) in the Dating Pool matches one of those traits, and takes the matching card. If there aren't any matches in the Dating Pool, any player who has a matching card gives it to the first player. If there isn't a match, that character card is placed on the table in the Dating Pool, and may be used by any other player later in the game.
If a match is made, the two characters are now on a date. The matchmaking player rolls one red die and one blue die to see how the date goes. Depending on the outcome of the dice, the characters can either get married, start dating, or have such a horrible date that they risk returning to the Dating Pool, or giving up their quest for love and ending up in the discard pile.
Any time a couple gets married, every dating couple gets Wedding Fever, and their matchmaker rolls for another date, giving them another chance to get married, remain dating, or break it off.
The first player to marry 3 couples wins the game.
** Of course, players can change the rules so that same-sex couples are used instead of opposite-sex couples. There's also the possibility of assuming each character is bisexual, so the gender component no longer matters. This speeds the game up quite a bit.
Marinis and Men is definitely fun. There's obviously not a lot of gameplay depth or strategy, but it can be a good party game because it's so easy to pick up and learn. This is the sort of game that my friends and I typically break out towards the end of the night when we don't feel like playing something that takes a lot of thought.
Martinis and Men is fun, but it's not particularly deep. I wouldn't really go out of my way to get it; I think the clearance table at Barnes and Noble is the best way to buy it.
The game is very light, so there's not a whole lot of replay value. This isn't something I'd want to play on a regular basis. In fact, I've really only played it a handful of times.
It's also obviously not for everyone. Stop and ask yourself, "Would my friends and I ever play a game called Martinis and Men?". That should immediately let you know if this game is for you or not.
Design - 6
Gameplay - 6
Fun - 7
Pick it up it up if you find it on clearance, but don't go out of your way for it.