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The Talking Method

Something that can be essential to a fun round of Side Effects is the simple act of talking during the game.

What do we mean by talking? Bargaining, dealmaking, negotiating, trash talking, and more!

If you’re having trouble getting started, here are a few examples of how this talking method can influence the game...


Pill Swap: You offer a treatment card you don’t need to someone who needs it, in exchange for a treatment card they don’t need that you do. This is the most basic exchange of the game.

Strong Arm: You offer NOT to do something bad to another player if they do something good for you. Next time you’re considering attacking someone with an Episode card or a particularly nasty disorder, consider strong arming them out of a treatment card first. In our experience, your opponent will give in about half the time.

Fake Swap: You offer to do a Pill Swap, but then hand them a different card than promised. There’s no rule against being a dick—but consider that people tend not to trade with dicks.

Oh, Mercy: You offer to give another player a good card in exchange for them promising not to attack you—the amount of rounds this can go on for is negotiable.

Unionization: You offer to attack another player if you receive the attacking card from someone else. Usually, it works like this: Kat could win on her next turn and Jen is right before her. Jen doesn’t have an Episode card to play on Kat, so she asks for one from another player. Ben gives her one of his Episode cards and asks nothing in return because he believes this is the only way they can keep Kat from winning. Jen uses the Episode card on Kat. It’s up to you whether you want to ban unionizations in your game.

The only restriction on deals specified in the rules is that you cannot put a card “into play” when it is not your turn—meaning you can’t place the card on your Psyche or attack someone when it’s not your turn.

The Anxious Fake Out

One particularly fun thing to do when someone has an Anxiety card exposed on their Psyche is to initiate a deal, usually by asking them, “Do you have a card I can use?” But then, if they say, “Yes, I have something for you,” play an Episode of Anxiety on them, and just take the card!

Outsourcing Your Insults

Trash talking is another lovely side effect of a take-that card game—when done in a playful and respectful manner. And while it would be fun to provide a list of our personal favorite insults, we think this is best left to the professionals—i.e. the writers of Veep. Feel the burns!

Careful! This video is NSFW due to very strong language, discretion advised:

Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

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