When I first spoke with Joe Beck, a co-creator of the card game Top That Toast, he informed me that he knew his game was not for everyone.
This seemed unlikely. The game started with a familiar and easily to follow format that emulated the likes of Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples.
Top That Toast starts when the “Facilitoaster” draws a tone card, which sets the tone for the toast to be given. He or she then reads the card aloud. The other players then throw in the topic card they believe to be the best and the Facilitoaster chooses a winner.
There is no instant gratification from the win. There are no cards about Pacman’s disturbing guzzling habits like Cards Against Humanity. The drunken laughter is infrequent. The gratification comes with time, when players begin to feel comfortable and open up with one another.
After a winning card is chosen, the player must give a toast that matches the chosen tone and topic. Some of the cards are innately humorous, like the roast, but others offer opportunities to open up.
At a recent festival, a family member who was checking out the game at the TTT table toasted his sister. In his toast, he said how proud he was of how she raised her children as a single parent. It was something he never said before. The whole family welled up.
Therein lies the innate beauty of a game that was conceived eight years ago while the Beck family was waiting for a ride to a wedding.
The ride ran so late that someone eventually raised a glass and gave an impromptu toast. “Top that toast” was shouted and the challenge was accepted. One by one, everyone tried to top the previous toast. Even the quietest and most reserved of the bunch opened up and shared their feelings.
From there, it became a family tradition. The tradition then spread to friends and friends of friends. A card game was a mere inevitability and we all may be better off for it.
The fact is that the card game is really for everyone. It is just not for every situation. On Fridays, we have family game night. We were able to play the game with our five and seven year-old children and they enjoyed laughing and saying nice things about one another.
Sure, this is a fun game to play with some drunk friends. It’s also fun to play as a family, or as a team building exercise or as a way to break the ice with some new acquaintances. There is a time and a place for everything and always a reason for a good toast.