Game Review: Pucks in Deep

A Card Game for Hockey Players by Hockey Players

Pucks in Deep is a party game that you would want to play with your beer league teammates or hockey-loving friends. While you could probably play a more mundane game like Poker or Monopoly, Pucks in Deep is appropriate for a hockey crowd — and a little inappropriate, too, in a mostly fun way. Pucks in Deep is similar to games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, where players try to match an innocent-sounding question with the most hilarious answer possible. 

I play-tested Pucks in Deep with four other people. Our group of five consisted of two beer league hockey players (myself included in that demographic), two non-hockey playing hockey fans, and an all-around sports fan. 

One person is the “Puck Carrier” and reads a question card, such as: 

“Once I learned how to stop _____, my game improved.”

Everyone else plays an answer card, trying to play either the answer they think the Puck Carrier is most likely to choose. It can be the best / funniest / most appropriate / most inappropriate answer; here are a few examples:

“That mismatched hockey sock douche bag.”
“Throwing a hissy fit on the way to the box.”
“Giving up a goal 7 seconds into the game.”
“Uncontrollably farting on the ice.”

The Puck Carrier picks the answer they like best, the person who played that card gets a “Goal,” and the game continues with the next player being the Puck Carrier. Once someone reaches an agreed-upon score, the game ends; we played to five goals, and our games lasted about 20 minutes each. 

Everyone in my test group enjoyed the game, though obviously the more you know about hockey, the better. With 90 question cards and 460 answer cards, the combinations are nearly limitless.  The people at Palo Alto Innoviation, who make Pucks in Deep, have a keen understanding of the NHL, playing beer league hockey, and hockey in pop culture, with answers like: 

“Poorly selected kiss cam targets”
“A turtle that looks like Pierre McGuire”
“Rob Lowe in Youngblood”
“Wearing #69”
“Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby porn.”
“Leaving your skate guards on”
“Putting on the foil”
“Having to take a shit while suited up”
“A glass-jawed goon”
“Cold and damp underwear”

Even if you aren’t a hockey player or an ardent follower of the game, you can still find humor in most of these. Paired with the right question card, any of these answer cards can make everyone at the table laugh hysterically, which makes playing Pucks in Deep so much fun.



However, I have problems with some of the answers in the game.

Pucks in Deep promises to “be as vulgar and disgusting as your beer league teammates.” I think that even my dirtiest teammate (you know who you are) would find some of the answers a little too below the belt. Here are a few answer cards in particular that made me cringe: 

“Entire team dying in a plane crash”
“Fondly remembering hockey before minorities played”
“An errant puck killing a little girl” 
“The Pittsburgh Pussies”
“Getting molested in the dressing room” 
“Asian hockey players?” (Yes, with a question mark for some reason.)
“Cumming in your teammate’s gloves”
“Dying on the bench”
“The head coach’s retarded kid”
“Period blood on the ice”

I could cite many more examples, but you get the idea. I can’t find the humor in any of these. I don’t think my beer league teammates would either — and we call locker room 3 at our local rink “Boner Soup” for reasons I won’t reveal, so it isn’t like we’re prudes.  

Maybe I’m just getting old, but I’m old enough to remember all the bad things those answer cards allude to: the Lokomotiv Russian hockey team dying in a plane crash, a little girl getting killed by a puck at a Columbus Blue Jackets game, Alexei Cherepanov dying on the bench during a KHL game, and a former WHL coach going to prison for molesting many of his junior-league players. 

Also, hockey is for everyone. Making women or people of color the potential punchline to a question like “What was the worst thing to happen at a hockey game?” kind of takes the fun out of it for women and people of color. 

The good news is, only about 50 or so cards are overly-offensive.  I’m not saying that this game has to be appropriate for kids — Pucks in Deep is for players 19 and older — or even straight-laced adults. Anyone can find something to get offended over if they really want to. But Pucks in Deep is more fun to play without joking about misogyny, racism, injury or death to elicit laughter.  

Call me old fashioned, but if someone asks “The league just made _____a minor penalty,” I’d much rather hear answers like “The Flying V” or “Taking a shit in someone’s bag.”

Retail Notes
Pucks in Deep consists of 90 question cards, 460 answer cards, rules and a glossy box that “will not withstand a beer league slap shot. Unless you really suck.”  You can buy Pucks in Deep for $19.95 online at PucksInDeepGame.com

Rating 4 out of 5

Pucks in Deep is a lot of fun. The more the players understand hockey and hockey culture, the more enjoyable it gets. I would suggest weeding out 50 or so cards before playing, and just focusing on the immature fun. ■

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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