Review: Count Your Blessings
Publisher: Family Games Inc.
Year: 2009
Tagline: The Game with an Attitude of Gratitude!

Cover showing a cartoon town with a night sky over it

how we met

I found Count Your Blessings at my local town thrift shop. I bought a few other games that day; they seemed to have had someone drop off an abundance of light party games that I was happy to pick up. I have not gone in for a Chicken Soup for the Soul game before, but given the raging hellscape the world is these days we could probably stand to learn any skills that help us to count our blessings. Maybe it will be life changing. One way to find out.

how it plays

The goal of Count Your Blessings is to go from mad to glad, from tired to inspired, from stressed to blessed and from frazzled to dazzled. Players do this by spinning the spinner on their turn, drawing a card from the corresponding deck and doing as it says.

Players start with four tokens in front of them showing mad, tired, stressed and frazzled. For every two cards they collect – any type, just two cards – they can turn over one of these tokens to their more cheery sides. Once all four tokens are flipped for a player, they win!

Tokens showing mad on one side, glad on the other, etc

The tokens in their cheery and not so cheery states

The spinner has six spaces:

  • ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE: in this deck the player reads the card aloud and all players, including the active player, suggest a silver lining outlook on it. Then all players vote on which answer they liked best. The player with the winning answer gets the card.
  • COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: this category has questions that the player answers from their own life experiences. It has the possibility of getting personal in this category. This category is also noted for including inspirational quotes from famous writers and celebrities on each card. If the player tries to answer the card then they win it; no judgment. This time.
  • THANK TANK: not to be mistaken for a think tank, the player reads the card aloud and all other players offer ways to see the situation as a blessing in disguise. The player then chooses their favorite answer and awards the card to them.
  • LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: this is a very fun category because it requires you to wear the bright side glasses that come with the game. You also read a card aloud, answer it and collect the card. But not just that, you must wear the bright side glasses until your next turn. This empowers you to, “comment, make positive suggestions or assist with any other players’ response.”
  • SOUL FOOD: this category is straight up trivia about inspirational figures. You only collect this card if you answer correctly.
  • YOUR CHOICE: as described, you choose the category you want to tackle.
  • Spinner showing big sun in the middle

    The outside of the spinner comes into play in certain cards. The part that is hard to read is the every-turn part

    If you like, you can slow the game down more than it already is by using the HEADS OR TAILS coin. You do this by challenging a player (but only once per player per game) and doing a coin toss with the HEADS OR TAILS coin. The player challenged calls heads or tails and wins or loses accordingly. If they lose, they must turn over one of the tokens they already won.

    Two sets of two cards with one positive token above each

    Getting there, two cards equals one positive token

    The first player to have all of their tokens flipped to the positive side wins!

    how it went

    As I mentioned, I don’t usually go in for this type of game. The version I found was unpunched, presumably for a very good reason. But my game group is the best ever, and we have fun in emergency rooms when we have to. We were going to show this dumb game a good time, even if it was not capable of showing us one.

    This is not the type of game that pulled us out of our shells. It did not lead to much sharing or new information. For whatever reason, it just didn’t pull that aspect of the game off, where games like The Ungame and Loser! occasionally taught us more about each other.

    Sample cards including THANK TANK where it says gas prices have risen again

    In THANK TANK your fellow players have to name silver linings

    We had some laughs. We try to mess with each other during play of all games at times, but it requires quick thinking and a straight face. One of us had gotten a SOUL FOOD trivia question related to Michael J. Fox, who is very inspirational. Then the next SOUL FOOD card that came up, the reader tried to make it sound like the answer was also Michael J. Fox. The timing was perfect, because we immediately hypothesized that all the SOUL FOOD questions were based on Michael J. Fox. This is absurd, of course, but we enjoyed imagining that world for a brief moment.

    Example cards with questions like "Have you ever moved past a fear where it felt amazing?"

    Umm Michael J. Fox?

    FUN FACT: Count Your Blessings was one of four games we played this particular game night. Our play included tackling House of Danger, the choose your own adventure game. In Chapter 2 (no spoiler because this is what we did and not the wrong or right thing to do) we marched upstairs because of the reasoning “you gotta get up to get down.” Like perfect idiots.

    The other situation that gave us a good laugh was when we realized that some cards are automatic losses. Starting the game, we assumed Keri would win because Keri went first and the cards were gentle enough that they are almost automatic wins. A couple of things happened to dispel this myth for us.

    The first was the THANK TANK category. Speaking strictly as an asshole, THANK TANK is the worst category because you have no chance of winning the card. It only benefits your fellow players.

    Overview of our play showing spinner and decks

    A terrible photo of our play

    And then some cards in every category are automatic losses. They just say that some negative thing happened and you must put the card back in the pile, so you are not given the opportunity to win a card. Not funny on its own, but this happened once, and then happened three more times in a row in different categories (probably because we didn’t shuffle and just used the cards straight from their plastic). Trust me, it was hilarious.

    Sample LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE cards asking you to share about difficult times

    Sample LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE cards, ick

    I think we enjoyed the glasses and have plenty of pictures from wearing them. The two different eye frames are too close to each other, and they impede your vision while wearing them. But they look amazing.

    A snapchat picture of Keri with the glasses on

    Keri is majestic

    Snapchat pic of me with the glasses

    I was trying to look angry but I got those dang glasses, didn’t quite pull it off

    The designer of Balderdash contributed to the making of this Count Your Blessings game. She wrote a 3 page afterward that I would love to comment on, but I didn’t read it. I put enough time into Count Your Blessings as it is. I’m sure it’s lovely and well thought out, outlining the best of intentions that go into a game like this. But the next day I was still in this raging hellscape.

    play or pass

    Big time pass on this one. The bright side glasses did not seem to contain any special powers, the cards did not really push us to be vulnerable, the trivia was trivia and the only enjoyment was infused by our enjoyment of each other. That would be an opportunity to count my blessings, but I already knew that one. It happens even when we play decent games.