Thursday, December 10, 2009

1.25: Party games...hooray? Take 2.

Alright, already said, I'm not a big fan of party games.  The benefit of playing a party game is that they scale up, allowing a large number of people or teams to play.  Think Pictionary--the minimum to play is 4 (two teams of two), and the maximum is the number of people able to see a give point (ie, the drawing tablet) before the curvature of the earth blocks view.  Obviously if you have tall friends, this number is higher.  The drawback, the games need to be accessible, and as such are often re-hashes of other party games.  How many games have you draw, or do pantomime, or hum songs, or answer trivia questions?

And as stated before, I so, so hate pantomime.  I believe my quote from the last party games post was "I'd murder everyone in the room before I played Charades."

Well, I guess it's time for me to eat a little crow.

1:30am rolled around on Saturday night (or Sunday morning, if you want to get all specific), a number of people were extremely eager to get a game of Time's Up going.  Jackie and I were about to go to sleep, what with it being past midnight and all, but we'd had a great time with Stephen and Francie, and had done an event (the Spiel-A-Thon!) and gone to dinner with a number of these people.  I'd heard about Time's Up, even read the rules--which clearly indicated the second and third rounds promoted pantomime, but didn't understand what all the hullabaloo was about.  Perhaps it was the magic of BGG.Con, but I turned to Jackie and said, "Screw it, let's do it.  Let's go play this game."

This ended up being my single most memorable event of the con.  And this was a damn good con.

We played the Time's Up!  Title Recall! version of the game, the game is same as the standard version except the cards were book, song, and movie titles, along with character names.  The game is very simple--players are broken into even teams (we played two games, with two teams of 8 and then three teams of 3), then 40 cards plus two per player are dealt out.  Each player has to discard two cards, and then all the remaining cards are dealt out and shuffled, and this entire stack passed to the first player.  Team members are seated such that they are evenly distributed around the table (ie, in our 8-player game, every other person was on a team).  In turn each player has 30 seconds to get their team members to guess what is written on the card, keeping the correctly guessed cards and passing the rest of the stack to the next player.  When all the cards are correctly guessed, points are tallied at one point per card, and then the cards are shuffled for the next round.

"You use the same cards for the second round?"  Super simple, and you'd think it would get easier, right?  Well...the game goes three rounds, and in the first round you can say, sing, hum, gesticulate, whatever you want (besides outright reading the card) to get your team to guess the card--but you can't skip past cards even if they're difficult.  The second round you can only say one word, but still may pantomime or hum or make noises as in the first round--though you may skip past a card if you're stuck.  In the third round you may not speak, and must get your team to guess the card using only humming, sounds, and pantomime.

A little memory element, so simple and yet so critical in this game, and that's what makes it work.  In our game Mark W. made a point of adding some gesture to even the simplest cards, with the hopes that his team would remember in the later rounds.  The funniest in-jokes are created in this game, such as Janna's "Sexy Deer" (the card was Deer Hunter) when she gestured shooting a rifle and then swished her hair upward in an attempt to put antlers on her head.  Or the phrase "Squatting in the place where I fish" (for Sitting on the dock of the Bay), which became "Squatting!" and then an actual squat in later rounds.  And the phrase, "Brrrrrrrr, Nice" in round two...I'll let you guess what that clue was for.

So, yes, the game was excellent, due in large part to the group we played with.  I would highly recommend this game if you have friends and family willing to act a little goofy.


That's it for today; I'm hoping to get a few extra posts up during the next two weeks as I'll have a little time off for the holidays, but I'm always playing it by ear. 

Happy Holidays, everyone.


  1. Great description. I am looking forward to playing this game.

  2. You and Wendy are the first two Jackie thought of after we played this.