In the surprisingly large field of bar fight games (Red Dragon Inn, Inn Fighting, etc), Seven Card Slugfest does the best job of simulating the chaos and randomness of an actual brawl - while also having an interesting strategy component that becomes clearer as you play.
The concept is each player has a different character with a unique deck of cards that has just numbers printed on the backs, and numbers and more details on the fronts. Each card performs a specific sort of action or attack, and your job is to quickly smack them onto your opponents' piles in a matter of seconds - while everyone else is doing the same thing. The numbers on the back are there to give you a general idea of what the card is, but you don't know exactly what the card does (you play cards without looking at the fronts), so there's extra chaos and randomness. Interestingly, Level 99 games has created a game world called Indines, populated by Japanese-anime-inspired characters who inhabit their various games including Seven Card Slugfest.
The initial impulse for many will be to slap down cards randomly as fast as possible and go out as quickly as possible, in order to grab the best "drink token" off the table (the drink tokens provide a health bonus - or health debt - consisting of anywhere from +3 to -3 health points, and you want to grab the highest number one you can.) But if you play randomly and quickly like this, you will lose, and lose badly. Your goal is to figure out how your character's attacks work, figure out how other people are playing, and play your cards right - yet quickly. I found that concentrating on people nearest me was more effective than trying to hit everyone.
Seven Card Slugfest has been requested for repeat play at my house because it's fast, lighthearted and fun, and you can play with a flexible number of people (4 to 8, but it's best with about 5 or 6). If you are a fan of fast action and figuring out strategy on the fly, and you and your friends can slap down cards accurately and without hurting each other, give Seven Card Slugfest a shot!
Level 99 Games