Stoner Parking Lot Review

W Updated January 31, 2019
stoner parking lot 1
stoner parking lot

Game Information

Publisher

Dude, Where's my Cards?

 The following review has been rated “R” for drinking and drug use, brief crude/sexual humor, thematic elements, did we mention drinking?, gameized nostalgia, shit you did that you wouldn't want your parents to know about, the use of the word “Shit” in the previous sentence and about 58 times later in this review and various other bits of immature content. Consider this the Parental Advisory sticker...so, like, hide it under your mattress. They'll never think to check there.

Stoner Parking Lot is not your traditional game and I'm not going to give it a traditional review. A conventional review would say it is a basic set collection game with literally one set to collect. Once you have the required cards, signal your partner and, if no other players besides your partner picks up on the signal, you earn a point. And that's it. The set you are collecting is always the same and consists of the following cards: Bong, Weed, Lighter, Pizza, Six Pack, and a Mix Tape. Forget the modern day incantation of “Phone, Wallet, Keys” that you recite to yourself every time you leave the house, if you are going to “go smoke” you need that mix tape. You know the one I'm talking about: where the last notes of Alice Cooper's “School's Out” blended perfectly with the rising guitar of Van Halen's “And The Cradle Will Rock” and it always made your friend's smile and nod at you every time they heard it. And that's only the first whiff of what becomes a billowing cloud of gameized nostalgia in Stoner Parking Lot. Of course you need a six-pack to finish your set collection, who went to a concert without “road beers?” Shit, Sammy Hagar's entire catalog of music before Van Halen revolved around cruising and boozing.

Since your hand consists of six cards and the collection you need is six different cards, your hand and the turns of the game are simple. Either take the top, face up card from the discard pile or blind draw from the deck. And then you start to giggle. Here you are, having collected the required cards, waiting to signal your partner, avoiding the glances of the other players but your partner is nose-deep in their hand, rearranging cards like your Grandma playing Pinochle. They finally glance up but now everyone is staring at you (well, you think they are staring at you), so you don't dare try to signal. But you can't stop giggling because, good god, how did they manage to spend 30 seconds (which felt like 30 minutes) rearranging 6 cards?

One of the rules is: No verbal clues. And, depending on your game group, is probably a good idea. A couple of players having knowledge of inside jokes throws off the balance. But an end of the night session with a bunch of close friends who are slightly buzzed? Fuck that rule. When you are all gasping for air, clutching your sides and literally laughing until you cry about “Get it in the hole, Stewart!” makes a slight game imbalance more than worth it. Hell, “Slightly Buzzed/End of the Night game" should be displayed right next to the number of players required....along with the warning that kicking your sister under the table to signal you are “Ready to Smoke” is not Cricket. *narrows eyes at wife*

If you don't have an even number of players, the odd player out is the Narc, they don't have a partner or a hand of cards and are just trying to intercept signals between teammates to earn points. This particular rule literally gave me a flashback to 1989. I took a road trip to the Avalon Theater in Chicago to see the Headbanger's Ball tour with Anthrax, Exodus, and Helloween. We waited with bated breath for the headliner Anthrax to start. A full on Blues Brother's intro had everyone hyped for the first song and the opening chords of “End all, Be All” started (Though, it's always “I am the Law” in my memory) and we all leapt on our seats, screaming at the top of our lungs. Suddenly, someone pushes me off my seat, I turned and said “What the fuck is your problem?”....to a 6”10 security guard who proceeded to escort me out of the venue and into the freezing Chicago winter, never letting my feet touch the floor, before the first song even finished. As the rest of my friends rocked out inside the concert, I made the acquaintance of a female concert goer who had also been ejected from the concert. We talked awhile and she asked me if I wanted to head over to her friend's van to warm up. I jumped at the chance and, while it turned out she had the latter two items of the chant “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll” in mind, I read the cues as the former two. I was the “unintentional narc,” misreading the signals in epic fail fashion. When your job in this game is to just look for signals, everything becomes a signal. And you thought the paranoia of sneaking out for a few hits was bad. And, of course, there are the unintentional riotous moments in the game. Like, once the set collection is completed by one player, who successfully signals their partner. With the signal received, they reveal their cards only, it turns out, they didn't have the full set “Man, where is my bong? I swear I had a bong!” It's a true stoner fail and one that gives all other teams a point.

Not to go off on a rant here (Spoiler alert: I'm totally going to go off on a rant here) Obviously, you will get knee jerk reactions to the theme. But, before everyone gets on their high horse, May I introduce you to the Board Game Section at your local big box store? *flourishes hands in game show hostess fashion* Where there is no less than half a dozen games about Shit. Literal Shit. Don't step in shit. Flush the shit. That thing we use to get rid of shit is broken. Put the shit on your head. OMG, why are we fishing for Shit? And straight up Poop: The game. But a game about smoking some good shit is going to be where you draw that line? Relax, pretend it's a game, maybe it will even be fun. And if you can't manage that, as you ride away on your high horse, remember if your horse happens to take a shit, there is probably a game about that too.

The packaging of Stoner Parking Lot is fucking magic. A brown paper bag with “Stoner Parking Lot” scribbled on the outside and (Totally not drugs) written next to it. Yep, have fun explaining that to the TSA agent as you head home from the latest convention. And the scoring markers are guitar picks! That elusive concert gem that carries the story about how Al fucking Jourgensen was staring RIGHT.AT.YOU while you were screaming your head off and flipped it right into your outstretched hand. (Okay, maybe it bounced off your forehead and landed at your feet, but that doesn't sound near as cool.) A second, more standard (if you can even use that term with this game) packaging will also be available that features cannabis meeples for scoring but, nah, I prefer the guitar picks. It is way more “metal.”

Stoner Parking Lot is a silly, crazy, joyful game. One that pushes a slightly skunk-weed smelling envelope on what you can build a game around. It tackles a “controversial” theme. Hell, it tackles a fucking taboo theme. I can't tell you I have ever heard anyone standing around talking about smoking weed with people who weren't, the very least, trusted friends. And never in public. Hell, voters JUST passed a medical marijuana law in Missouri and if you go to a head shop (Sorry, a “Smoke Shop”) you can't even say the “M” word. That day-glo purple bong etched with the profile of Bob Marley? It's perfect for your “Tobacco.” And Maniacal Matt Fantastic and Awesome Alex Cutler made a game tackling that taboo straight on, twisting it back on itself and turning a black light spotlight on the nostalgia of hanging out and attending concerts. I fully anticipate an expansion called “Rolling papers, rolling papers, who's got the rolling papers?”

And if you just think I'm a burnout (that was the vernacular for anyone who hung out in the smoking lounge at my high school...yes, we had a smoking lounge for the students) waxing nostalgic, I was accused of partaking in the Devil's Lettuce much more than I ever actually tried it. I still recall being pulled out of English class by my favorite teacher and lambasted for showing up to his class stoned. The reality of which was I has just gotten my first set of contacts that week. Rebel without a cause? Nah, just nearsighted, sir....by the way, your team now loses a point for a false accusation.

As a game it is beyond simple, as an experience it can be immersive, and as entertainment, it can be top notch. Some players will never get past the taboo theme. More's the pity for them.
Do you have to have Stoner Parking Lot in your collection? I'd be a lot cooler if you did.

There Will Be Games

Wade MonnigSubscrive to Wade Monnig Follow Wade Monnig Message Wade Monnig

Board Game Reviewer

In west Saint Louis born and raised
Playing video games is where I spent most of my days
Strafing, Dashing, Adventuring and Looting
Writing reviews between all the Shooting
When a couple of guys reminded me what was so good
About playing games with cardboard and Wood,
Collecting Victory Points and those Miniatures with Flair
It’s not as easy as you think to rhyme with Bel Air.

Wade is the former editor in chief for Silicon Magazine and former senior editor for Gamearefun.com. He currently enjoys his games in the non-video variety, where the odds of a 14 year old questioning the legitimacy of your bloodline is drastically reduced.

“I’ll stop playing as Black when they invent a darker color.”

Editor review

1 reviews

Board Game Reviews 
 
3.5

Summary

Stoner Parking Lot
Stoner Parking Lot is a silly, crazy, joyful game. One that pushes a slightly skunk-weed smelling envelope on what you can build a game around.
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RolandHemisphere's Avatar
RolandHemisphere replied the topic: #292147 13 Feb 2019 07:43
Dude, fucking gnarly review. So, so funny and on point. I need a copy of this in my life... now where'd I put those keys? Oh and do you know a guy who could hook me up with this?
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #292152 13 Feb 2019 09:11
Two things -- first of all I have a Buck Dharma guitar pick from my somewhat-misspent youth. Which landed right on top of a Joey Bouchard guitar pick on the floor at my feet when they both flipped them out into the audience at the end of Hot Rails to Hell. Quite a coincidence. My buddy Pat got Joey's pick.

My kids play this game with a normal card deck but I don't remember what they call it. It's big in college right now. This appears to be a deluxe dress-up of the same game, moving to six cards instead of four. Would seem an improvement, because the four goes too doggone quickly for you to really get settled in.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #292156 13 Feb 2019 10:32
Stoner Parking Lot is currently available at joyisdead.com/
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #292170 13 Feb 2019 13:18

RolandHemisphere wrote: Dude, fucking gnarly review. So, so funny and on point. I need a copy of this in my life... now where'd I put those keys? Oh and do you know a guy who could hook me up with this?


As ubarose noted, it is currently available via joyisdead.com/ At this point, only the "brown bag" version is currently available.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #292171 13 Feb 2019 13:23

Sagrilarus wrote: Two things -- first of all I have a Buck Dharma guitar pick from my somewhat-misspent youth. Which landed right on top of a Joey Bouchard guitar pick on the floor at my feet when they both flipped them out into the audience at the end of Hot Rails to Hell. Quite a coincidence. My buddy Pat got Joey's pick.


Blue Oyster Cult was one of my very first concerts at, of all places, Six Flags (St. Louis). They played "Senior Night" (as in high school seniors but I was a freshman.) I remember we had to write a journal in sophomore English and I mentioned going to the show and my teacher wrote "Godzilla!" in the margin. One of those OMG, teachers are human?!? moments.
Still think "Born To Rock" from Buck's solo album in vastly underrated and the mad max video is...well, it's 80's
MattFantastic's Avatar
MattFantastic replied the topic: #292172 13 Feb 2019 13:29
Dope (HA!) review. Def gets the vibe we were going for. Fun fact for anyone actually into stoner metal: I got Arik Roper to do the art, and he also did the cover of Dopesmoker, some High on Fire records, and other assorted classics of the genre.

The mass production run boxed edition should be out sometime this spring, it does indeed have little weed leaf meeples. I'm not in charge of any of the logistical/production stuff though so I don't have any more solid details.

If you order the limited brown bag edition say you're coming from here and I'll write or draw something extra weird on it for you.

Another fun aside, Uba literally threw my personal copy in the garbage at TrashFest this year. "Well don't make it look like garbage if you don't want it to get thrown in the trash." Perfect haha
RolandHemisphere's Avatar
RolandHemisphere replied the topic: #292173 13 Feb 2019 13:49
I just ordered it before I read this. Rats!
GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #292177 13 Feb 2019 14:23
I’m just happy to see the words Buck Dharma written anywhere on a gaming site. You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #292186 13 Feb 2019 15:34

MattFantastic wrote: "Don't make it look like garbage if you don't want it to get thrown in the trash."


Should be printed on the new box. . .