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Name Burst» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Ups and Downs rss

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Gary Sonnenberg
United States
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Brief Summary

I don't usually provide a summary of gameplay, since that's normally been covered by other reviewers, but this is the first review of Nameburst posted here, so I'll oblige.

Nameburst plays best with 3 to 5 people. On 'your turn', you take one of the double-sided cards that contains a list of 10 people (or characters) on each side, slip it into the special 'decoder' gadget with one of those red plastic windows that allows you to see the otherwise-hidden names one at a time, and give clues to your partner-of-the-moment that will allow him to guess as many of the 10 names as possible before the sand timer runs out.

You each receive 1 point for each name guessed. Technically, you're only allowed to pass on one name before being penalized 1 point for each additional name you pass by. We have a house rule that states that that rule is to be ignored.

Clues can be almost anything except the too-literal type prohibited in most games of this sort. They don't have to be just one-word clues like in Password.

When the timer runs out and points have been awarded on the score pad provided, flip the card over in the 'decoder' gadget and pass it to the next person specified on the predetermined list also provided. This list assigns each person a number and cycles through all the possible pairs of players several times per game. There is a different list for each number of possible players from 3 through 10.

Up Here

Nameburst is a lot of fun with people you know well, people who know you well, people who know your relatives well, or people who know fairly prominent people well.

There are plenty of name cards provided, so you don't need to cycle through them too often.

It can be fun just listening in on the clues being given even when it's not 'your turn'. Can you figure out the answer before the real clue recipient? Usually, yes, because you're not under the gun.

The 'decoder' gadget is very well made; it will stand the test of time and abuse even though it has moving parts. They don't make 'em like that anymore. Well, not often enough anyway.

The scoring pad is nicely laid out. It has its own holder which also contains the 'turn' or 'round' mechanism. This gadget is just as sturdy as the 'decoder'.

Down There

In poor or dim light, I have a very difficult time reading the names through the 'decoder' window. Most people I've played with don't seem to have the same problem, but I think the contrast or color saturation could be changed for the better.

It can be an insurmountable challenge if there is a player who is too young to know the pop culture references that are often needed. There are ways around that sometimes, but it like taking the scenic route when you need to get there fast.

Five is stretching the upper limit of how many should play Nameburst. With more than that, the wait time in between turns is unbearable, as is the likelihood of having players who can't play at top speed.

If you're not paying attention, it can be easy to give points for a 'round' to the wrong player. Then you have to try to backtrack the pairs of points that were assigned hoping to find the mistake. It's harder than trying to find the buck-two-eighty-five that's throwing your checkbook out of balance.

Neither Here nor There

Some names show up multiple times in the deck of cards. We have a house rule that states that the answer to the clue, "The guy who's always in here," is Fatty Arbuckle.
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