Odds are, if you haven't got an apartment with your friends, you've thought about it. The more rational among us realize that our friends are better in small doses. Others get that apartment. Chez Geek is a nifty little non-collectible card game about life with roommates.
The rules are printed on one large sheet of paper, front and back. They're easier than poker, but not as easy as blackjack. There are nine job cards and a healthy stack of other cards (I didn't count them). Each player gets one job card, dealt face-up, and five other cards, dealt face-down. Your job card tells you your Income, how much Free Time you have, and how much Slack you need to win the game.
Play proceeds as follows: you draw up to 6 cards (or 7 if you're a Corporate Drone), roll any dice you need to roll, call people, do stuff, and discard back down to 5 cards if you have more. The instant you get enough Slack to win, you win.
The cards (with comic illustrations by John Kovalic of Dork Tower are divided into X types. There are job cards, Activity cards (everything from watching TV to sleep to nookie), Thing cards (including such necessities as Booze, Cigarettes, Weed, and Shrooms), Person cards (including several cats), and Whenever cards which are events or dirty tricks you can play on your roommates, obviously, Whenever cards can be played whenever. So can TV cards; in a nice comedic touch, you can use a TV card to cancel anyone else's activity. Plan on going to a concert or down to the bar for some lovin'? Well, instead you're enraptured by a documentary on sloths. You still get Slack for watching TV, but not as much.
You only need one die to play, a single six-sider. Most commonly, you'll be rolling for your income if you have an unsteady job like Temp or Waitstaff. You might also roll to see if your car breaks down (if you ever luck into getting the car), if a parasitic visitor leaves, or if you get a new job after you've lost your old one. You'll also need a heap of counters to represent Slack. Pennies work well, as do poker chips.
You can call as many people as you like in a turn, provided you have their cards in your hand. There are two types of people: those that provide Slack and those that don't. The people who don't provide Slack will always come over. Usually you play them on your roommates and they eat their Food, drink their Booze, smoke their Weed, disrupt their RPGs, or hog their computers. Don't worry, though, if you run out of stuff for them to take, you might be able to send them to someone else's room, and there are a few cards that allow you to get rid of annoying visitors (including Justifiable Homicide, which lets you remove any visitor in anyone's room, including Live-In S.O.s). The people who do provide Slack might be busy. If you roll a 1 or a 2, they aren't home when you call.
There's a strategy element to the game that still manages to be comical. On the surface, the high-paying jobs have it all over the folks like the Drummer and the guy with the No Job card (which is apparently a lifestyle choice as opposed to merely being unemployed). In one shopping trip, a Corporate Drone can, provided he has the right cards in his hand, buy five or more points of Slack. The better your job, the more Slack you need to win, but it still seems like the Corporate Drone or Tech Support guys have the game in the bag. Except that you can drag them down to your level. The Corporate Drone, for instance, has only one point of Free Time. If he announces he's going shopping, you can cancel his action. For instance, you could play a TV card. "Dude! Check out this episode of Hitler Science Theater Y2K!" He still gets a point of Slack for watching TV, but he was going to get more than that. You can send parasitic visitors to their room to consume their consumables. Of course, they can get back at you by making your cat do its business in your bed, or playing Moron With A Chainsaw or Car Alarm to disrupt your precious Sleep. Before the game has ended, you might even murder their live-in S.O. or have a burglar break in and steal their stuff.
I only have a couple of nitpicks. First, the job cards have the same back as the rest of the cards. A mild annoyance at worst, but it does mean I have to sort through all the cards to make sure they aren't mixed up. Second, if you get stuck with a lot of cards you can't use, you can't discard them(I'd add an optional rule that you can opt to discard all your cards instead of doing anything in a round). Lastly, it feels like there aren't enough people cards. There should be more people that you want to have over. Still, the game really captures the feel of college or post-college living, only it's funny and it only sets you back twenty bucks.
Style: 5 (Excellent!)