Chez Goth is the latest entry in Steve Jackson Games' Chez . . . series of card games that began with the Origins Award winning Chez Geek. That game was about acquiring the most slack, and has received two expansions, before sending the players off to college with Chez Greek, and then in Chez Grunt, into the army.
Throughout, the line has benefited from the cartoon artwork of John Kovalic and often includes the appearance of characters from his highly popular Dork Tower comic series. This culminated in the publication of Chez Dork, the actual Dork Tower version of the game. The very latest incarnation of the game focuses upon the lifestyle of two of the comic book's characters, Gilly the Perky Goth and her older brother, Walden.
As with the other Chez . . . games, the aim of Chez Goth is to acquire more Slack than anyone else. Designed for two to five players, a game should last no more than an hour, and requires a single six-sided die to play, as well as counters to represent Slack and definitely black counters for Gloom. Though the cardstock feels a little thin, the cards are well done, with decent illustrations and appropriate card text. In keeping with the game's theme, the base color for the cards is black.
The game centres on the eight Job cards, such as coffee shop Barista, Model, and Artiste. Each gives a Slack goal to meet in order to win (roughly twenty points), the amount of Income to spend on shopping and activities, and the number of activities possible during a player's Free Time.
During his a turn, a player can call people, represented by the Person cards, and invite them over. The cool invited people give Slack, while the uninvited and the uncool, such as "Poseur Goth" or ordinary "Girl Next Door," are foisted upon the other players and instead of Slack impose a penalty.
During a player's Free Time, a player can go shopping and spend his Income on Things like a Coffin, Absinthe, and Eyeliner, all of which give Slack. Other Slack-inducing activities include Partying, playing RPGs (the right ones, of course), and the perennial favorite, getting "Nookie" (from Graveyard to Vampire Nookie), that gives lots of Slack! If all that fails, Sleep gives Slack too.
Players can also acquire Gloom, representing a temporary shadow over his life. Gained through dreary activities like "Moping" and "Fainting Dramatically," or lost through the Whenever cards such as "Rainbow Unicorn Stickers." Unlike other Chez games, Gloom is a good thing in Chez Goth. It is lost when a Goth is alone, misery loving company! The majority of the Whenever cards counter a rival's Activities and Income.
Of course, the fun of playing Chez Goth comes in the humor of the cards. Much of this is indicative of the game's tone, which is that of a knowing poke at the Goth lifestyle. Though still affectionate Chez Goth is a pleasing incarnation of Chez Geek, one that can be easily combined with the other Chez games.