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G.R.I.M. Inc.

The acronym may seem rather contrived (Grim Reaper's Institute of Murder) but in Terror Toad's G.R.I.M. Inc., players are all employees of the Grim Reaper pitching to your line manager the best way of executing a victim's demise. The game is designed by Christopher Hume, Katie Riddell and Mark Taylor.

G.R.I.M. Inc. then is a pitching/storytelling party game where, each round, one player acts as the line manager. The line manager flips over cards showing the 'Soul' (occupation or other characteristic of the victim) and the Setting. The other players all draw an Implement card that indicates the cause of death, and these players then compete to come up with the winning story, as chosen by the line manager. The extra element here is that the line manager also rolls a custom six-sided die that has a 1 in 3 chance of displaying a skull icon. When it does, the line manager draws a 'Message from the Top' card that tells them whether to award a Bonus or Disciplinary this turn. If the card indicates a Disciplinary, then in addition to choosing their favourite pitch, the line manager chooses their least favourite. If the card indicates a Bonus, then the pitch favoured by the line manager gets to draw multiple Implement cards.

Players are encouraged to embroider and personalise their stories, so, for example, if the Soul card indicates a politician then they should focus in on a specific named politician of their choice. Obviously, you'll be trying to come up with the most imaginative and entertaining death for your victim, referencing both the Setting and Implement, and that's probably going to mean the funniest and, almost inevitably, the most risqué. Tho' this game isn't inherently NSFW (Not Safe For Work), gameplay is very likely to stray into that territory, so you need to choose the right time and place to play. The rules suggest it's a game for 3-8 players but, from our plays at Board's Eye View, this is a game that's at its best with 5 or 6 players: fewer and it doesn't generate the critical mass for macabre laughs; too many and each round takes too long, risking the game overstaying its welcome. With that caveat, tho', there's actually no technical upper limit to player count.

G.R.I.M. Inc. is very much in the same storytelling party game territory as Pitchstorm (Skybound), Snake Oil (Out of the Box Publishing) and WLTM (Ingenium Games). It can be a lot of fun with the right group of players. It's a game you should be playing for the entertainment value rather than the win but players who are inherently competitive even in light party games may take issue with the Bonus reward, which is the very opposite of a catch-up mechanism. After a few plays with different groups we house ruled that every player could draw three Implement cards and choose between them. This made it easier for less immediately creative players to come up with an entertaining tale and it reduced complaints that players were being handicapped by an unhelpful card draw. It's a minor rule variant you might want to try if this title tickles your fancy - perhaps as a party game to break out at Halloween.

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