Updated: Oct 5, 2021
Let's make it clear from the outset: this game is not for everyone. If you're easily offended by off-colour jokes, gags in poor taste, vulgarity or material that might be deemed NSFW (Not Safe For Work) then this game is most definitely not for you. It's marked as an 'adult game' and tho' some may judge some of the humour as juvenile, it certainly isn't suitable for children. Game of Ham is unashamedly a party game aimed at the point in the evening when players have had a few drinks and are up for some raucous and/or risqué banter.
Game of Ham follows firmly in the footsteps of Cards Against Humanity. You'll be using the ham-pink cards in your hand to complete the sentence or query on a grey prompt card and a player will judge which is the wittiest or most audacious suggestion. The game box comes packed full of grey prompt and pink suggestion cards, so if that's all you want from the game then there's enough in the box to see you through a dozen or more parties without ever seeing the same card twice!
Designer Bill S. Naim doesn't just leave at that. The box also includes a modular double-sided game board that can be assembled in numerous combinations. It also includes coloured cards which set out special effects that can advance your counter or send it back. The grey prompt cards each show a number on them as well as a letter (H, A or M). Win a card (by having your pink card chosen as the best response) and you get to move your token the number of spaces indicated on the board. Land on a coloured space and you get to take the action shown on the relevant colour card. Collect a set of prompt cards that spell HAM and you get to negate the effect of a coloured card. This all makes for a simple race game, diceless but otherwise recognisable by anyone who has ever played Snakes & Ladders (Chutes & Ladders). Nevertheless, within the context of where and when you're likely to play it, it's a game that offers some scope for tactical manoeuvring.
And there's more... The rulebook contains so many variants and options, with and without the board, that it's perhaps best to think of Game of Ham not as a single game but as a toolkit for play. You'll want to choose how you want to play and just explain those rules: the sort of party where you'll be playing this game is unlikely to be an appropriate place to sit down with folk and have them read and choose between a myriad of rule sets. To be honest, several of the rules options risk overly complicating what remains, at its heart, a light ice-breaker party activity but gamers will appreciate that it's good to at least be presented with all the options.
And if you are treating Game of Ham as a toolkit to create your own pick & mix game then it is indeed possible to turn it into a game that would be suitable for work, children and maiden aunts: you'd just have to do a lot of careful butchery deboning the decks to take out all the cards that might be taken as offensive or in poor taste. You'll be editing out a lot of cards, but, to be fair, Game of Ham comes with such a large selection that you'll still have ample left for a milder game!
If you're hankering for a taste of Game of Ham and have difficulty finding it in your friendly local game store, click here to order a copy direct from the publishers.