Kickstarter Alert: ‘Cozy Juicy Real’

Gaming Kickstarter Reviews Tabletop Games

As I’ve gotten older, one thing I’ve really enjoyed about spending time with my friends and family is the conversations we’re more willing to have. I’ve seen multiple card decks out there that make some of these conversations a little easier, but never before have I seen a game that throws a touch of friendly competition in with the opportunity to answer some questions about yourself. Enter Cozy Juicy Real, a game that started out online and has moved into card and game board format.

Full box contents. Photo by Angela Leach

What is Cozy Juicy Real?

According to the creators, “Cozy Juicy Real is a board game with a very ungame-like purpose—to create fun, authentic, and connecting interactions. The aim of the game is to get to know each other and you’ll do this through questions, challenges and activities.” While this is a good blurb, I feel the need to add that even if people already know each other pretty well, it’s fantastic for encouraging that little extra bit of depth of knowledge among a friend group, a work team, or even at a bar with a bunch of strangers.

The box of Cozy Juicy Real opens to reveal a smaller box on top with the Cozy, Juicy, and Real card stacks (and a small die I didn’t see at first). Remove that box to uncover more decks: Random, Lightning, and Spark, as well as a small cloth playmat and laser-engraved tokens (I picked the sun, Husband picked the campfire, and our volunteer friend chose the unicorn kitten).

A box in a box? Photo by Angela Leach

Initially, I was a touch confused by the smaller box. It was neat to keep the decks separated, but why in the world would you need a whole different box? Then, as I am wont to do, I read the rule book. Turns out, that smaller box has a bigger purpose. Want to take Cozy Juicy Real with you to work, or the bar, or just over to a friend’s place, and don’t want to deal with the whole big box? Just want to go until you’re done instead of going until you hit the lightning square? Grab yourself the little box! The die included (here’s where I realized there was one at all) is for you to roll for which card to play. Consider my mind blown. What a fantastic touch on the part of the creators!

Playing Cozy Juicy Real

Whether you play with or without the “board,” the basic game play is the same. Start with a Cozy card, answer it, and then let the next person do the same. After that, either answer a card corresponding to the color square you’re on or roll the die to get your next card. This is all you need for the smaller version of the game, but the board version takes it even further. Each player gets several cards from the Spark deck that can do anything from asking someone to go deeper, tasking another player to also answer the question, or even just offering a high five or recognizing the courage it took to answer a card.

Show and tell with my entry. Photo by Angela Leach

There’s a rule in Cozy Juicy Real that allows a player to pass on a card that’s uncomfortable to answer up to three times. Not knowing the cards and being in a space that might have had people going through, we house ruled that anyone could pass any card without limit. As it happened, no one ever passed so it wasn’t necessary. The cards were definitely open ended enough that allowed for players to hold back if necessary, but they were also not so deep that anyone felt like answering would put them outside a comfort level. The group that played has a pretty wide variety of PTSD triggers, and no one ever even felt like they needed to take a moment.

Some spots on the board correspond to the Random card deck. This is where “challenges and activities” from the blurb came in. Random cards are hilarious little activities that everyone can do together. Most are pretty chill, but occasionally someone who is easily embarrassed might need to dig into their bravery reserves. Once you’ve done the activity on the Random card, you choose another card from the decks indicated at the bottom and answer the question, moving the game forward. The Random deck adds that little extra to the game, but I felt like we didn’t tap into it very often. I would have enjoyed even more opportunities to use the Random deck.

The whole game board with all decks. Photo by Angela Leach

Once one player arrives at the final space on the board, signified by a large pink lightning bolt, the last round of the game begins. Each player, starting with the one who got to the last space first, takes a Lightning card and answers a question about the player to their left. Some of the questions are sneaky! I was the only one who failed to answer correctly, and I was answering a question about my husband of over 21 years.

All in all, the game only took about half an hour but felt significantly shorter. The connection between the players was really nice, and no one was even remotely interested in picking up their phones and avoiding the conversations. We did notice toward the end of the game that people who hadn’t used their Spark cards yet started handing them out en masse, since we often got so absorbed in the answers we forgot we had cards to tweak the game!

Why You’ll Love Cozy Juicy Real

Cozy Juicy Real can be played by most ages. Some of the questions might be a little too introspective for particularly young kids, but creative parents could probably adjust questions on the fly for the young ones. It’s a great game if you’ve got a teenager who is still willing to play games with their parents, and can help reopen communication channels if they’ve started to close off. Our youngest is still very talkative with us about many things, but Cozy Juicy Real can help steer the conversation and help us connect on a deeper level than what’s going on with his video games, social circle, or D&D character.

The cards to answer are gentle enough for anyone, even introverts, but thought-provoking enough that you’re guaranteed to learn something about everyone you play with. I am looking forward to bringing Cozy Juicy Real to work meetings, game nights, and even maybe the occasional event where we’re sitting and waiting for any length of time as a group.

Where to Get Cozy Juicy Real

Cozy Juicy Real just launched a Kickstarter campaign. This is your best opportunity to get the game in the format I tried, and it’s well worth it.

Disclaimer: The author received a copy of the game for review purposes.

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