It’s no less true now than it was in college: Throw a party and everybody wants to play DJ. But rather than take the chance of somebody queuing up the Backstreet Boys, the folks behind two of the best music party games ever, Guitar Hero and Rock Band, have a cooler idea. They’ve teamed up with Hasbro to drop a music DJ game that lets the whole party blend the beats.
Dropmix is essentially a party card game that uses a digital music board and a free smartphone app to let players square off in the proverbial DJ booth. The Bluetooth-enabled board, which requires 4 AA batteries, has a built-in tablet/phone dock and a headphone jack to plug in speakers, although it can also stream to TV. The game comes with 60 RFID chip-embedded music cards, each features a popular musician/song and is emblazoned with some pretty sweet artwork reminiscent of an old-school album cover.
The artist/song cards cut across five musical genres (pop, country, hip-hop, rock, and electronic) and include hits from Ed Sheeran, Flo Rida, and the Chainsmokers, to Carly Rae Jepsen, Big & Rich, and Imagine Dragons. So unless you’ve been hunkered down in a missile silo for the last decade, you’ll recognize most of the tunes. They’re also color-coded and only play one aspect of the song: base, drums, loop, strings, vocals.
Basic play is pretty simple. Place a card on the board (there are spots for five) ⏤ say, Cornershop’s “Brimful of Asha” ⏤ and it starts to play. From there, the app will tell you what to throw next. Drop the vocals from the Fugees “Ready or Not” and the tunes mix. Add the guitar from Fall Out Boy “Centuries,” and the shit’s going to get real fast. You get the idea.
There are three modes of play: head-to-head Clash (up to four players, first to 21 points wins), Party (everybody works together to score points/have fun/dance), and Freestyle, where you can pretend your David Guetta working the tables in a club with Akon. In this mode, players can also save (and share) the mixes they create on their phone or tablet by hitting the ‘Record Icon’ on the app screen. The goal of the game in general though is to play fast and score more points ⏤ there’s even a timer on screen to keep you moving.
That said, the coolest feature has to be the dynamic mixing technology. The songs never stop but mash on the fly as you drop new cards on the stack. And it will always play the top card, as the digital sensors in the board can read a deck up to 10 cards thick. Smart.
Speaking of cards, assuming you’re somebody who doesn’t listen to the same song on repeat for three months, Hasbro is already selling expansion packs ($15 for 15 cards, plus one hidden track card or $5 for a five-card mystery pack). They’re not cheap, but they’ll keep the party going and ensure the game doesn’t stay in the closet at the next one. In fact, between now and next fall, what Hasbro is calling Season 1, the company plans to release over 300 music cards. Enough for everybody in the room to play DJ all night long.