BATSU! is a party card game where players compete in hilarious challenges to avoid punishments! It was made in partnership with Face Off Unlimited, who’s live comedy game show, BATSU! Live, based in New York City and Chicago. BATSU! (罰 or ばつ) is a Japanese word that means punishment or penalty. In Japan there is a long tradition of comedy involving the loser of a competition receiving some kind of humorous retribution. This is known as a batsu-game.
In BATSU! Live, four warriors compete in ridiculous challenges to avoid electric shocks, paintballs, a giant egg-smashing chicken, and many more hilariously jaw-dropping punishments! The show has had huge success, selling out most of its 1000+ shows over the past decade. The performers of BATSU!, dubbed “Really Funny!” by the New York Times, and also regularly appear on television, film, stage, and even the hit YouTube channel Epic Rap Battles.
In late 2018, Face Off Unlimited partnered with Giant Fox Studios to convert BATSU! into a party card game that anyone can play at home. The process was very iterative, with many print and play copies being made and playtested along the way. We ended up with a party card game similar to Cards Against Humanity. Each round starts with the judge drawing a challenge card which gets switched up by “audience suggestion” cards to keep the game infinitely replayable. After all players compete in the challenge, the judge picks who did the worst and deserves to be punished! The punishments range from an embarrassing story, to having ice put down your pants, to having to gargle a song. It gets silly and is a party game we’re really proud to have created.
Once the game was ready, it was sold at the live show’s gift shop in both Chicago and New York. Things were great until COVID-19 pandemic hit, shutting the show down instantly. We had to think fast and came up with a solution to revise all of the cards to work virtually and ran a Kickstarter with a silly marketing campaign full of live shows on Twitch, virtual Zoom parties, and more. After all was said and done, we hit 600% of our goal amount! Since then, we’ve been selling the game through GetBATSU.com working on improving the game and selling it at gaming expos now that things are starting to open back up. Our partners are at a game expo in Chicago as I’m typing this and worried that they might sell out of inventory!
We can’t wait to see what’s next for this project as the show is reopening soon and there are many new opportunities for us to get the game out there. Please contact us if you are interested in helping distribute the game to more retailers.