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Although it’s not designed as such, there is a chocolate-based game often played in the United States. People usually play it during February, especially around Valentine’s Day. It can be played solo or with friends.

"Life is like a box of chocolates..."

Box 'o chocs from hinnosaar on Flickr

The rules are simple: try to avoid icky game pieces without cheating.

To play, you first study the game board. The board, usually heart-shaped, will be filled with game pieces of different designs and shapes.

Take a game piece in your hand. Sniff it. Taste it. Savor it.

Repeat.

If you make a mistake and hit a marzipan dud, make a disgusted face and try again. Avoid all game pieces with that same shape and design.

When you clear the board, you win! Find someone who likes almond paste to take the marzipan chocolates off your hands.

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A box of chocolate has game-like qualities.

Someone capitalized on this idea and created Chocolate Russian Roulette, an oh-so-dangerous game where to lose is to suffer. Most of the chocolates, shaped like bullets, are filled with a praline cream. But one chocolate is instead filled with a spicy pepper.

There is no schematic. You can’t cheat. With this game, it’s do or die.

It goes to show how much chance is involved in game design. Many kid-friendly boardgames—Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders—are solely powered by luck. As Dr. Frank-N-Furter would say, anticipation is pleasurable. People enjoy the quiet on the crest, the moment before the roller coaster roars downhill.

In Chocolate Russian Roulette, the stakes are higher. Losing Candy Land isn’t fun, but at least it won’t cause physical pain. Of course, to the chilehead, the spicy chocolate isn’t a bug, but a feature.

Chocolate Russian Roulette could be played solo, but I get the feeling that it’s best played with friends, goading and all.

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