Beer and Pretzels isn’t (aren’t?) my favorite genre of games but I do like having a few around. They definitely have a niche. There is a time and place for a rough-and-tumble casual game with room for trash talk and turning off your brain. (College seems to be a prime time to be that time)
But I found myself thinking about Beer and Pretzel Games I’ve played like Nuclear War or Chez Geek or Guillotine or Lunch Money and they all have lots of cards.
Which makes sense. Having lots of cards is a way of having a high random factor and room to have lots of jokes or other silly stuff. I mean, I hate, hate the mechanics of Munchkin with the fire of a super nova but John Kovalic did draw some funny cartoons for it.
I don’t know if this makes any sense of having a big deck of action cards lets a game do some of the thinking for you. And that would normally be terrible but works for Beer and Pretzel Games.
BUT... can pure dice games be Beer and Pretzel games? For instance, is Zombie Dice a Beer and Pretzel game? It doesn’t have cards and it doesn’t have any that that but it is casual and thematic and makes people laugh. Would have I played it at three AM in college after a marathon session of D&D?
The answer is almost assuredly yes so a game that consists of a handful of dice, doesn’t have a stack of cards or a way to hurt other folks can still be a Beer and Pretzel game. I can even see an argument that Liars Dice can be a Beer and Pretzel game so even the silly theme is optional.
At the same time, lots of action cards and a fun theme seems like they help a lot. If I woke up tomorrow and decided that it was my new life goal to make a Beer and Pretzel game, that’s where I’d start.