party game

Kill Your Friends. It's okay, Dokapon wants you to.

Parents got you playing stupid games for board game night? Tired of rehashed Mario Party games? World of Warcraft is stressing you out? Grab a copy of Dokapon Kingdom, a little unknown gem in the party game genre.

It's a cute game with substandard graphics, but it's also a couple years old. You begin the game by selecting a character, customizing it with a name, choosing a gender, color, and class. Only basic classes are available in the beginning--limiting yourself to warrior, mage, and thief--but you can change your class during the game and once you've mastered a class, you can move on to a better one.

From the start, it doesn't look like anything special. You spin to see how many spaces you get to move in that turn and depending on which space you land on, you can win an item, piece of equipment, receive an event, or fight--both monsters and your fellow players. The King has summoned all adventurers to journey across the land to give him money and rescue towns. (But mostly give him money.)

Dokapon Kingdom, for both the Wii and the PS2, mixes elements of MMORPGs, fantasy, and of course, party games. Marketing itself as the friendship-killing game, you and up to three friends (or computer players) engage in a battle for money, liberation, and marriage to the Princess Peach look-a-like.

In reality, it's a game about capitalism and imperialism.

Fighting is deceptively basic. You have a list of four commands that you can use and they change depending on whether you're attacking or defending. It looks simple, but it's actually a difficult game of chance. By shuffling and picking from two cards, you don't have a guarantee of striking first, and in some instances you can only win if you attack before your opponent does. There are times when the wisest move is to give up the fight in order to live.

But the most fun--or most frustrating--part of Dokapon is the endless opportunities to destroy your friends. If your friends aren't the type to forgive you for doing something to them in a game, I wouldn't recommend playing with them. But if you hate those friends anyway, hey--why the hell not? Dokapon's just trying to help end your friendships that can't withstand some road bumps! Challenge your friends to battles when they're least prepared, steal their towns, change their names, draw on their faces, kill them for a bounty, make a comeback from last place and destroy everyone--the possibilities really are endless. And when a game is as long as Dokapon Kingdom is, you've got plenty of chances to piss off your friends.

 What's a little hatred between friends?