Party games normally don’t make an appearance during our gaming sessions, but Paul & Jennifer requested Squint, an Out of the Box release. Gail was eager to play, too, so Rhonda and I joined the group forming pictures using little symbol cards.
Squint has been described as “Pictionary for folks who can’t draw”. While that comparison does have some merit, I actually think Squint is more difficult. Players are forced to “draw” a picture of an item by assembling various symbols so that their fellow players will recognize and identify the resulting creation. This isn’t easy, especially when forming the more difficult words. The proceedings are made even more difficult by the presence of a timer, which always seems to expire just before someone shouts the correct answer.
Dozens of small, plastic tiles are scattered face-up on the table. Each tile contains lines or various shapes. Each round, players alternate rolling a die depicting values 1 – 3, then consulting the corresponding word or phrase listed on a card. The higher the number rolled, the more difficult the phrase is to form using the symbols. A timer is inverted, and the player scrambles to gather the tiles needed to form the phrase listed on the card.
The rules are quite simple. The active player cannot speak, save replying “yes” or “no” to guesses or inquiries from his fellow players. Nor can the player perform charades in attempts to elicit responses from the other players. While the player can animate or move the tiles, they must maintain contact with the table. These rules are easy to understand, but it is difficult to resist the temptation to make grunting noises or frantically waving your arms while trying to convey the picture to your companions.
If a picture is correctly guessed, both the active player and the player giving the correct response receive chips equal to the difficulty level of the puzzle (1, 2 or 3). This exact procedure is repeated until each player has assembled tiles a set number of times, after which the player with the most chips is victorious.
The game is a decent party game, as it does involve every player on every turn. However, I just find it doesn’t measure up to Pictionary. Many of the phrases are simply too difficult to convey with the symbols provided, and the frustration level rises as a steady stream of incorrect guesses are spewed forth. The free-style drawing inherent in Pictionary allows for much more freedom and creativity, and less frustration. Squint isn’t bad, it just isn’t the game I’d reach for at a party.