‘Chez Geek’ game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
What better way to waste time than by playing a game about wasting time?
Chez Geek is a card game for two to five players designed by Jon Darbro, illustrated by John Kovalic, and published by Steve Jackson Games in 1999. In the game, you and the other players share an apartment. You try to out-slack your roommates as much as your job allows by watching TV or buying cool stuff.
The game works better and faster than Jackson/Kovalic’s other team up project, Munchkin. Whereas Munchkin is very player-versus-player, Chez Geek is a lot lighter and friendlier. Anyone who knows about the thrill of living with roommates will recognize a lot of the jokes and situations that come up during the game, like the uninvited guest who drinks all your beer and eats all your food, or the parental visit that forces you to ditch all your weed and smokes.
I do encourage players to really get into the game. One rule that I found is often ignored is “announce your actions like it is the most important thing in the world.” Instead players try to play cards quickly with as little fanfare as possible. But this is important to gameplay, as your roommates need time to remind you that the new episode of Who Wants to Marry a Creepy Weirdo is on and you can go shopping tomorrow.
The one downside of the game is that it hasn’t aged well. Geek culture has changed a lot in the last 16 years, and dial-up modems and landlines are relegated to history. A recent expansion, Chez Geek: Slack to the Future (2014), hopefully will solve some of these issues by bringing in more up-to-date technology to waste time.
I would seriously recommend trying this game. It’s a fun “meta” game for groups who live together or have been playing games together for a while.