There are few modern TV binge watches that go down smoother than Frasier, a.k.a. 264 episodes of comic pomposity, cute dogs, and bits where David Hyde Pierce repeatedly proves why he got to bring home all those dang Emmys throughout the 1990s. Capitalizing on the show’s recent “God, we can’t watch all of Cheers again” boom, enterprising game designer Arthur Aringdale has just released a free print-and-play card game version of the Crane Boys’ antics, making it available for perusal and download on his web site.
The focus of the game, unsurprisingly, is on dinner parties, the embarrassment-attracting farce-magnets that occupied so much of the Crane brothers’ time and attention. Players take turns inviting guests, currying favors, and inflicting elaborate mishaps (“Cockatoo On Your Head,” “Rumored Karaoke Machine”) on their opponents to screw up their nights. (If you’re familiar with recent-ish card games, it sounds like it plays a bit like a hybrid of Munchkin and Fluxx.) . The coolest twist to the formula is the addition of “tangents,” cards that force you to spend your turn resolving some sort of absurd subplot before you can get back to the actual business of the day.
In other words, this is very clearly a deep labor of love, full of inside jokes, obscure references, and a genuine attempt to bring the show’s silly rhythms into a very different format. That being said—and we don’t want to be jerks here—but it does seem absurd that you’d have Daphne as one of the player character hosts, when KACL food critic Gil Chesterton is right there, waiting to be snobby at someone. Also, we’d like to protest the fact that goddamn useless, awful Kirby—the doofusy bane of season 9—doesn’t get classified as a “villain.”
You can download the game’s cards here; there’s also a version for the popular board game tool Tabletop Simulator, in case Cyber-Frasier is more your speed.