BOARD GAME RUMBLE with James and Mike
Board Games are awesome. Unfortunately though, there has yet to be a game invented that perfectly satisfies the tastes of all board gamers. That being said, there are many, many wonderful games that some people will love while others may want to stay away from them. In this review, James and Mike discuss their experiences in a way that attempts to allow readers to view a game through different lenses in order to help them decide if it may (or may not) be a perfect game for them.
In this review James and Mike discuss Time’s Up!: Title Recall.
James: I recently had a big family Christmas and was excitedly preparing my #boardgamebackpack when I suddenly felt an enormous amount of pressure. Last Christmas I had finally gotten my extended family to play one of my board games and it was a huge success. However, after playing it at the last couple of family get-togethers, I knew they were ready for something new. I needed something for at least 8 players that would be simple and fun, but still challenging. Something that would make my family realize that one game wasn’t just a flash in the pan, but that there is a whole world of games for them to embrace and explore. So, what do I pack? What game did I have that would be equal to the task? Which one of my little cardboard soldiers could I trust to carry out this mission? What…
Mike: Got it! You needed a game that your family would like. So what did you go with?
J: Time’s Up!: Title Recall.
M: I’m assuming you’re going to wait to tell me how it went until the final thoughts?
J: The game consists of a bunch of cards, a timer and a score pad. Nothing incredible about the components, but they serve their purpose.
M: Yeah, I actually just bought a couple of the expansion packs and then use a phone for the rest. I like that each card has 2 titles on it, which essentially doubles the replay value.
J: The game is all about, well, titles! Books, movies, TV shows, songs…
M: There’s a pretty good range of older classics mixed with more modern titles. I’ve actually found that there was a lot of stuff in there that I have never heard of.
J: That’s part of the fun isn’t it? There are certain titles that only Grandma will have heard of, but then there’s other ones where you’ll need to turn to your 12 year-old niece. With such a wide variety of titles, there’s a greater chance that everyone gets to feel involved and important to the team, rather than nerdy Uncle Joe taking over the game and giving all the answers.
J: It’s just so fun! The game ramps up the fun factor as you’re playing as well. The first round kind of eases you into it with being able to say just about anything, then before you know it, you’re in the final round and your shy Aunt Sue is stomping around the living room like a dinosaur from Jurassic Park while the rest of the family roars with laughter.
M: I’m glad your Aunt Sue was able to come out of her shell, but I feel like for other introverts, being the clue giver could be a pretty daunting experience. Especially if the person right before you gets a bunch of right answers and you’re only able to scrape together 1 or 2. No one likes to feel like they’re costing their team the game, especially someone new to the group.
J: Yeah, I have witnessed that and it sucks. I’ve learned from that though and came up with a couple solutions. First, instead of randomly choosing the cards, I give each person a set of cards that they choose from to decide which ones we play with. That way, for every card, at least one person around the table knows it’s there. Second, I just remind people that passing is not merely a way out, but an excellent strategic option. That way you don’t have that awkward moment of witnessing someone self-destruct when they pick a difficult title. There’s also been times when someone agreed to join the game only as a “guesser”, but more often than not they want to try being the clue giver by the second or third round.
M: I was skeptical about using the same set of cards for all 3 rounds, but it works really well doesn’t it?
J: That’s a huge part of what makes this game awesome. The first round is difficult because you have no idea what the titles are. The third round is challenging because you’re forced to become more creative with your clue-giving. The second round is a little mix of both. So the game remains challenging throughout, but the laughter and silliness grows as the game progresses. It happens at a rate that’s not too uncomfortable for most people that may be too shy to jump right in to a game of charades.
J: Obviously this game is designed to be played with a group.
M: Yes, for me I would say the optimal player count for this would be between 6 and 10, or 3-5 people per team. Any less and you don’t have enough guessers for the clues, any more and there’s just too many people shouting answers.
J: I have actually played this with smaller player counts though. I’ve done a few with 4 or 5 where we did a cooperative variant. I also did a 2-player game once. While not as fun and ridiculous as with a big group, there were still some laughs and enjoyment in both cases. Not sure I’d buy it for lower player counts though.
J: In the introduction, I mentioned that I packed this game for my family Christmas. Well, I’m happy to report that it was a huge hit. Everyone had a fantastic time either playing, or by the second and especially third rounds, watching us play this game. Time’s Up!: Title recall is without a doubt firmly standing on my party game podium.
M: Most people I’ve played this game with have had a great time as well. However, while Codenames will forever have a place in my #boardgamebackpack, Time’s Up! will only come out on occasion. With the right group of people though, it will be an occasion that will have us mimicking James’ Aunt Sue’s dinosaur walk for years to come.
I'm curious what other people take in their #boardgamebackpack?