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In Herd Mentality, it pays to be a part of the crowd

The most fun you can have engaging in groupthink

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Clayton Ashley , senior video editor, has been producing and editing videos for Polygon since 2016. He is the lead producer of the tabletop gaming series Overboard.

The party game genre is overflowing with titles that reward creativity and unique thinking. In fact we’ve played quite a few of them on our board game show Overboard. The latest game we played however, does not reward being special. Quite the opposite in fact. Herd Mentality is an easy to learn party game all about conformity and we had a ton of fun playing it.

Each round of Herd Mentality is simple: A question card is drawn and read aloud to the group. These might be factual questions (name an animal that starts with “P”) or questions of opinion (name the best dessert). The question may even be multiple choice (if you could win one, which would you choose: an Oscar, Olympic Gold, or the Nobel Prize?).

Everyone writes down their response, including the question asker, on a piece of paper. Critically, these answers should not necessarily be their personal opinion, but the answer they think the majority of the group will pick. Once everyone is ready, the answers are revealed simultaneously and then scored. If a plurality or majority of players answer the same way, each of them receives a point. Everyone else receives nothing. If the group is split down the middle (or three or four ways if you’ve got a big enough group) then no one receives points.

There is also a special punishment for any player that answers completely uniquely: the pink cow. When a player receives this tchotchke, they cannot win the game. Their only hope is that another player is the odd one out in a later round. However, if multiple players give unique answers, the pink cow stays put.

The game continues until one player receives eight points (so long as they don’t have the pink cow). It’s also only ever one player who wins the game. Should multiple players reach eight points on the same turn, the score required to win increases by one and the game continues.

The games are easy enough for just about anyone to play, but actually playing well is trickier that it might seem. Picking what you think is a consensus answer isn’t straightforward, but even when you’re the odd one out it’s a whole lot of fun discovering how everyone approaches the questions in the game (which are remarkably varied). If you enjoyed this video, be sure to check out the rest of Overboard over on our YouTube channel.

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