review by | James Ginns
The game Morton’s List (by Dark Carnival Games) proclaims itself to be the cure to boredom itself. It does not have many rules: the bulk of the book is a series of lists of activities one could engage in. It can accommodate as many players as the situation demands, but is best played with a large group. When the game begins the players join a pact called the Inner Circle. The game begins with players dicing off for the position of table master. The table master than rolls a 30-sided die, known as Morton’s Boulder, and follows a set of lists until a specific task is selected. Unless there are serious objections, the Inner Circle agrees to do whatever activity they’ve rolled for at least an hour under the supervision of the table master. These are the basic rules.
You may, at this point, be wondering just what these activities are. If Morton’s list is boredom’s antidote, what does it suggest you do? The book is 360 pages long, so explaining things systematically is somewhat impossible. However, having played it several times, I can give you a rough idea. Some quests are innocent. You might find yourself playing old childhood games, or finding some old friend you haven’t talked to for awhile. In these quests the list just helps loosen your inhibitions. Some quests find you doing slightly dangerous or illicit activities, like trespassing and petty theft. Then every so often you get a quest that is just plain mean like stealing your roommate’s clothing while they are in the shower. The key thing to remember is all of this is voluntary—the table master can always reroll. So the nature of a Morton’s list quest is dependent on just how much “fun” you wish to have.
Of course, I can’t finish this game review without a crazy story about just how much fun Morton’s list can be. I did not actually take part in this particular quest, but I do know the group contained more than a dozen people. The quest? Create a public disturbance. And it was perfect timing: that day was election day. So seven minutes before the polls closed, the group decided to hold an anti-voting rally. An anti-voting rally intended to look like an anti-abortion rally with such inflammatory statements as “Jesus didn’t vote, why should you?”, “God wasn’t elected.”, and perhaps my favorite “I’m so glad you didn’t vote. That’s one life saved.”
So is Morton’s List really the end of boredom? Probably not. It’s a game best played with 5+ people. And honestly you have to be in the mindset to play Morton’s List: ready to risk looking stupid, getting caught, and/or finding the materials necessary for the rolled quest. That being said, it’s really fun. Dropping $30 on Morton’s List instead of $50 for a keg might not be a bad idea. You can have wild night and the book is never consumed after use. (I could be wrong.)
published Volume 15, Issue 1 on August 21, 2008