(To see this and other reviews in all their image-filled glory, visit www.aboardgameaday.com. This review adapted from one originally published in 2011)
Game: Channel Surfing
Manufacturer: Milton Bradley
Channel Surfing was found at an Amvets thrift store for 99 cents. I like the idea of games that require you to interact with something in an unexpected way. This game used your TV as part of regular gameplay, and so that appealed to me.
Also appealing to me was the photo on the back of the box. It's practically a rainbow of emotion! Starting with the woman in the green sweater and moving clockwise we have: Surprise, Rage, Pleasure, Confusion, Frustration and Disgust! Certainly any game which can elicit all those emotions in one single photographable instant is worth 99 cents!
The black card rack that comes with the game is made with some pretty flimsy plastic, and so of course my copy was warped. It's not a big deal, but there are certain parts of the tray I can't put cards in, lest they fall over.
Everything was included though, and in general it's in good shape.
Players form two teams. The first team takes twelve cards from the card box and places them in the plastic tray. The opposite team grabs the scorecard, and starts the timer. The team in play has until the timer buzzes to flip around on the television and find examples of the twelve things written on the cards.
For example, you might find a slug on TV and declare it for the card that says "slimy", or you might find a cast member of the Jersey Shore on TV and likewise call him or her "slimy".
There's a good ability to play around with your interpretations of the words, and unless you're playing against a real ass there shouldn't be any real debate about whether your find counts. The rules have a solution for disputes though, which is basically "whatever the point-keeping team says goes."
That clearly falls in the "what goes around, comes around" category, and since a game is three rounds, there can be plenty of that.
You get a point per item you find, and whoever has the most after three rounds wins. There are also rules for "solo" play, but that seemed too sad to try.
So How Is It?:
It's best to play this game with people who aren't really into watching TV. Essentially this is a game of scavenger hunt. Some amount of knowing what's on what channel is helpful, but you will spend most of the time frantically flipping around, really only lingering for a couple seconds on each channel. This sort of gameplay can grind to a halt when the person manning the remote is a TV fan, and they flip to a show they like.
The Final Verdict:
This game falls somewhat short of my expectations. The idea seemed solid enough, but it felt more like work than fun by the third round. I may have to play it a couple more times and revisit this review, but for now I'll give it a rating of 3, or "Average".