In late 2008, Discovery Bay Games released an interesting game called The Origin of Expressions. This socially themed game was created for 3 or more players, ages 12 and up, and targets a blend of history, word origins, along with a key ingredient of creative bluffing.
My brother in law recently introduced this game to me in a recent game night we had over at my house. The Origin of Expressions looked to me to be more in the vein of a party game and was a definite break in my normal table top or board gaming venue for game night. After Origins was explained to me, I could see where this game would be fun with more people, we had five of us playing it for our trial run, and it was a quick learning curve, so not much prep or time spent on rules or explanations.
The core game play of The Origin of Expressions is that one player, the card reader, pulls a game card that features three items on it. The card will have an Expression at its header, such as “Bakers Dozen”, or “Balls to the Wall”, or “Stick in the Mud”, etc. The text below the expression will be a Meaning of the expression as it is generally read or understood. The last thing on the card is the True Origin of the Expression. The card reader will read the Expression and the Meaning, but keep the True Origin to his or herself. At that point, all the other players must write down a quick summary in 90 seconds or less what they think is the Origin of the Expression. They can put down what they think, they can get creative and make up something completely ridiculous or whimsical, they can bluff and lie, or they could nail it right on if they truly know the origin of the expression. The card reading player then collects all the story origins written down and adds in the true expression origin on the card and reads all options to all players. Players then pick the story they think is the true origin, from the pool of the real one and the written down player ones. You score points by having other players pick your story. There is other scoring, such as having no one pick the true origin, and by players picking the true origin. But, the easiest way to gain a lot of points quick is by having a creative story that sounds good or feasible. Each turn, the card reading player moves to the left and the first one to score 30 points wins the game. Our game took approximately an hour and a half or so I believe.
This game was easy to learn, great with a larger group and fun in that you get to learn some history and some origins of great expressions as well as hear some great BS and creativity from your friends. As an example, we had an expression one time that was close to “Smell a Rat”. After the story origins were collected, we had such creations of the origin ranging from Gangster sayings, to blood hound hunts, to sailor slang on ships, all the way to 1800’s England and Plague suppression. Put a group together, enter an old saying, and bang, you get a ton of interesting and funny stories to laugh about.
If you are looking for an easy to learn, social or party game, this is one that I can easily recommend. The Origin of Expressions retails for around $29.99, with used or discounted copies being offered in the $18 – $20 range. If you are interested in purchasing The Origin of Expressions game, you can still pick up a copy at retailers around Denver, I would recommend trying Attactix in Aurora, Black and Read in Arvada, Valhalla Games in Wheat Ridge, The Haunted Game Café up in Ft Collins, The Wizards Chest in Denver, and Enchanted Grounds in Highlands Ranch.