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Subject: So the truth comes out! rss

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Mike Beiter
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True Colors has been one of my all time favorite games for years. Some of my friends have dubbed this game “Friendship Breaker” due to the honesty that it tends to bring to the table. To me True Colors is one half game, one half portal to self reflection.

OVERVIEW

True Colors is a surprisingly revealing game subtitled “Do you see yourself as others see you?”. In this game, players vote in secret on a series of questions that anonymously reveal what everyone thinks of each other. Points are accumulated by correctly guessing how frequently other players will vote for you on the various questions. After votes are revealed, the true fun of the game is in the conversation that ensues between the players when the votes do not turn out how some players expect.

GAME COMPONENTS

True Colors has a very simple set of components. It has 6 sets of voting cards and a matching colored mini clip to correspond to one of the sets of cards.
As a side note, I will say the clips are surprisingly fun in and of themselves. The point of the clip is to attach it to your clothing to denote which color you are so people can vote for you. But what we tend to do in my group is try to attach the clips in creative ways. We try hanging them from earlobes, clipping them in hair, or hanging them from jewelry etc.

In addition to the voting cards, the game has 1 voting box per player to hold one of many voting cards. The game has an ample supply of cards that ask many questions themed around “Of all the people here, who is the biggest ______?”.

GAMEPLAY

The rules for True Colors are very simple which adds to the ease and fun of play. Each player takes a stack of color cards, along with the matching clip and attaches the clip to them self in any manner they choose.
Then they distribute the stack of their colored voting cards equally to themselves and each other player for use when the voting round begins.
Each player also receives a voting box and takes a random question card and places it in their box.

Now the game is ready to begin.

Each player reads the question in their voting box privately to themselves and votes in one of 2 ways.

The first way is if you feel there is one person who is the obvious choice for the question hands down. You put in 2 votes matching their color.

The second way is if there is a split decision where you are torn between two people. You put in one card for each.
Note that you can vote for yourself.

Example: The question reads, “You walk into a new restaurant for the first time. Who is already on a first name basis with the manager?”
So now you think about who in this group of six friends is the connected socialite who knows everyone? You decide it is totally Maria so you put in two blue votes for her and pass the box to the player to your left.

Then you get the next vote box and continue to vote and pass to your left until all players vote on all categories and everyone has their original box in front of them.

Now one player reads their question out loud for all to hear, and each player now tries to predict how many votes they received.
The key factor to hold on to here is you are trying to predict what other people have voted, not what you think the truth is. You may not think of yourself as a well connected person, but the other friends playing may feel so, so you may be surprised that you got more votes than you expected.
Players get 3 options on how to vote.
MOST. This means you think you have received more votes than any other player.
NONE. You think no one gave you any votes what so ever.
SOME. You feel you have received at least one vote, but not the most.

Each player declares, some, none or most and a score keeper records their prediction on a piece of paper. This mode is also exciting because it almost becomes a contest or an ego battle when multiple players all vote most. You think what? But I am the well connected socialite!

After all players predictions are recorded, the votes are revealed. I like to do this one vote at a time to create suspense. One for Blue, two for blue, One for Yellow, One for Orange, Three for Blue, etc…

Then points are now tallied as so.
The person who guessed most and was correct, gets three points. The people who guessed none and were correct are also awarded three points. The people who guessed some, and were correct receive only one point because it is easy to get some votes as opposed to none or most.

Then continue this process for each voting box and tally up the scores! The game in theory ends when a player accumulates a specified number of points or you play for a certain number of rounds. But I can tell you from experience that the game ends when everyone feels it is time to stop. This game can go on for a long period of time because everyone enjoys playing it so much that they never seem to want to stop.

FRIENDSHIP BREAKER

As originally mentioned at the beginning of my review, my friends jokingly refer to this game as “Friendship Breaker” due to the fact honest opinions of people are brought to the table. And some times the topics bring about some startling revelations.
One of the questions asks who would head down stars with a baseball bat if they hear a burglar downstairs rummaging around. One person thinks they would get most and may not get any votes showing the game brings to the table that this person is perceived as a coward by their friends.

So in situations like this, there is usually some debate, a lot of laughs, but always a large helping of truth and revelations.

*Disclaimer, in my years of playing it, True Colors has not actually resulted in friendships being broken or in any way damaged.

HEALTHY DEBATING

Another quality of this game is the tendency it has to inspire debates about what the topics on the cards truly mean. One of our classic debates is over the question, “Who among your friends would be Yogi Bear?”
Does this mean the person is very greedy and will steal to get what they want?
Does it mean they are cunning and always coming up with plots?
Maybe you think it means the person is always getting into trouble?
Or maybe you think it is the person who likes bears or cartoons the best?

So when the votes are revealed, you may think you never get into trouble and are not Yogi Bear, so you vote NONE, yet the other players think you are greedy so they all voted for you. So you learn a lot about how your friends think about the questions and their answers.

PROS and CONS

This game is such a great social mechanism for healthy debate and dialogue among close friends.

The game is an eye opener for self reflection. If you are open to it.

This game can consume as much of the evening as you want with pleasant conversation and nostalgia and reminiscing as you talk about past stories when you cement your points over why someone is the most generous, loyal, most likely to eat bugs etc…



This is not a game for groups where some of the people do not know others very well. It is designed for a close group of friends who really know or THINK they know everyone else at the table. People who aren’t close or part of the group will find no one ever votes for them because they aren’t known well enough and they will be excluded from the stories and points.

This is not a game to play if your primary goal is points and winning. Too often a person votes none and gets a vote that ruins their score by a player who did not understand the question nor has what they may deem an inaccurate opinion of them.

CONCLUSION

I have to give this game a 10 for several reasons. I am a huge fan of social discussion games where friends can get closer to one another by playing. What is more rewarding than that?
The game is fun to play and full of laughs. It is great to see the looks on people’s faces and their reactions when the votes are revealed.

It is a timeless classic that always holds a place in my heart.
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Ben Lott
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MajaiofDreams wrote:
*Disclaimer, in my years of playing it, True Colors has not actually resulted in friendships being broken or in any way damaged.

I think this is the most important point in your review. I've heard a number of people say that they wouldn't want to play this game because they would be afraid it would hurt feelings, or they would be afraid to hear what their friends truly think of them. However, in my opinion, with the questions involved you'd need pretty thin skin for the answers to truly affect you in any way.

Thanks for a quality review of a quality game!
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Randy Cox
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I played this once, but don't recall, so maybe you can answer for me...

If I'm voting on six questions and want to put 2x blue in every box (because the blue player is the perfect answer for every one), are there 12 cards of each color for every player (that would be a lot of cards)? If not, you'd have a lot of "second best" or "third best" answer situations, right?
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Ben Lott
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Randy Cox wrote:
I played this once, but don't recall, so maybe you can answer for me...

If I'm voting on six questions and want to put 2x blue in every box (because the blue player is the perfect answer for every one), are there 12 cards of each color for every player (that would be a lot of cards)? If not, you'd have a lot of "second best" or "third best" answer situations, right?

Yes, each player has 2 cards of each other player's color. So you can put both votes in on the same person. In fact, if someone is the perfect answer to the question they probably will get 2 cards from each player. However, the trick is figuring out who that player will pick. Since that player can't vote for him/herself they will be voting for someone else.
 
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Randy Cox
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So if the first question is "Person most likely to watch Monk" and we all put in two cards in the color of Blott, then the next question is "Person most likely to get distressed by impatient players" what do we do? We need those two Blott-colored cards for this question, too.

Which leads to a deeper decision tree. OK, since the top pick for this is really Blott, what will most others who don't know his affinity for Monk choose for that question? But if they know about the Monk thing, who will they put in this box? Oh, the agony. :)
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Ben Lott
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Randy Cox wrote:
So if the first question is "Person most likely to watch Monk" and we all put in two cards in the color of Blott, then the next question is "Person most likely to get distressed by impatient players" what do we do? We need those two Blott-colored cards for this question, too.

You get back all your vote cards after each question.
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howl hollow howl
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Blott wrote:
However, in my opinion, with the questions involved you'd need pretty thin skin for the answers to truly affect you in any way.

I don't know whether the questions have changed in the past 20 years, but True Colors is the only game that as made me cry. I mean, total neurotic sobbing breakdown. But, as they say "the truth hurts". I knew I messed up in some ways, but thought I had a lot of positive qualities. When I was voted top choice in every negative category, and received no top choices in every positive category, it clearly revealed what parts of me my family chose to see. I've been 99% estranged from my immediately family since I left New York, but it's hard to say how much was the stuff exposed by True Colors versus other stuff.
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Randy Cox
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Blott wrote:
Randy Cox wrote:
So if the first question is "Person most likely to watch Monk" and we all put in two cards in the color of Blott, then the next question is "Person most likely to get distressed by impatient players" what do we do? We need those two Blott-colored cards for this question, too.

You get back all your vote cards after each question.
Ah, thanks. I remembered that somehow we were all loading a box (six players) and passing around simultaneously, so that we'd have six completed questions all at the same time.
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Randy Miranda
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Blott wrote:
MajaiofDreams wrote:
*Disclaimer, in my years of playing it, True Colors has not actually resulted in friendships being broken or in any way damaged.

I think this is the most important point in your review. I've heard a number of people say that they wouldn't want to play this game because they would be afraid it would hurt feelings, or they would be afraid to hear what their friends truly think of them. However, in my opinion, with the questions involved you'd need pretty thin skin for the answers to truly affect you in any way.

Thanks for a quality review of a quality game!


most people i've played with seem affected by this game. but maybe it's cuz i always use the nastiest questions

eg you are a high powered royal. who would you most likely have to taste your food to see if it's poisoned?

haha
 
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howl hollow howl
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Randy Cox wrote:
Blott wrote:
Randy Cox wrote:
So if the first question is "Person most likely to watch Monk" and we all put in two cards in the color of Blott, then the next question is "Person most likely to get distressed by impatient players" what do we do? We need those two Blott-colored cards for this question, too.

You get back all your vote cards after each question.
Ah, thanks. I remembered that somehow we were all loading a box (six players) and passing around simultaneously, so that we'd have six completed questions all at the same time.

I think there are different versions out there. The True Colors page here has links to two different rules. The Pressman rules imply you vote on a question one at a time. The Hasbro rules have an example where in a 4 player game you get 9 cards of each color; each player has a question and they get passed around. After a round, you read/guess/reveal multiple questions at a time. This is how I remember playing as well.
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howl hollow howl
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Another note about bad feelings: A variant my family concocted after "the incident" was Celebrity True Colors. At the beginning of the game, each person secretly picks a real or fictional person (Martha Stewart, Homer Simpson, etc.), then plays the game as that person. Less surprises in the outcome, and all of the jokes are in the pairings of the question with the celebrity (so the snicker goes clockwise as the amusing one makes the circuit), but still fun without the hard feelings.
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fungamebob wrote:
Blott wrote:
MajaiofDreams wrote:
*Disclaimer, in my years of playing it, True Colors has not actually resulted in friendships being broken or in any way damaged.

I think this is the most important point in your review. I've heard a number of people say that they wouldn't want to play this game because they would be afraid it would hurt feelings, or they would be afraid to hear what their friends truly think of them. However, in my opinion, with the questions involved you'd need pretty thin skin for the answers to truly affect you in any way.

Thanks for a quality review of a quality game!


most people i've played with seem affected by this game. but maybe it's cuz i always use the nastiest questions

eg you are a high powered royal. who would you most likely have to taste your food to see if it's poisoned?

haha

Hm...I suppose if you believe that the people voting for you actually would wish you dead, I guess that could be a problem. My family never takes things said in a game that seriously.
 
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Blott wrote:
However, the trick is figuring out who that player will pick. Since that player can't vote for him/herself they will be voting for someone else.
??

As I remember the game, you certainly CAN vote for yourself....
 
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reapersaurus wrote:
Blott wrote:
However, the trick is figuring out who that player will pick. Since that player can't vote for him/herself they will be voting for someone else.
??

As I remember the game, you certainly CAN vote for yourself....

Not in the version that is on store shelves now. It comes with just enough vote cards so that each player will have 2 in every other player's color.
 
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Blott wrote:
reapersaurus wrote:
Blott wrote:
However, the trick is figuring out who that player will pick. Since that player can't vote for him/herself they will be voting for someone else.
??

As I remember the game, you certainly CAN vote for yourself....

Not in the version that is on store shelves now. It comes with just enough vote cards so that each player will have 2 in every other player's color.
I didn't know there was a current version. Glad I got mine on eBay last year (the old version).
 
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Mike Beiter
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I totally disagree with the logic of the new versions not being able to vote for yourself. If I have a chance to vote for myself when I think I am the prime candidate, I am going to vote for me.

What if the category does not apply to the other players? It will lead to inaccurate voting.
 
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Voting for yourself is against the spirit of the game, because you will mix up how you see yourself with how others see yourself. Most questions are worded so that you can only assume that you must name someone else, so regardless of available cards, it makes absolutely sense to disallow self-votes.



Regarding "dangerous" questions: The edition I own has the "bathtub question": With which player would you like most to sit in a bathtub.

(Americans may imagine wearing proper swim wear in the tub).

We have decided to remove this and similar questions from the game, because any sane person would only name their partner. So, the question is trivial and boring for couples and everyone knows which two cards must have been thrown in by the only person at the table not in a relationship. That may be a little more truth than you want to know.

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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Voting for yourself is against the spirit of the game, because you will mix up how you see yourself with how others see yourself. Most questions are worded so that you can only assume that you must name someone else, so regardless of available cards, it makes absolutely sense to disallow self-votes.



Regarding "dangerous" questions: The edition I own has the "bathtub question": With which player would you like most to sit in a bathtub.

(Americans may imagine wearing proper swim wear in the tub).

We have decided to remove this and similar questions from the game, because any sane person would only name their partner. So, the question is trivial and boring for couples and everyone knows which two cards must have been thrown in by the only person at the table not in a relationship. That may be a little more truth than you want to know.



I still have to respectfully disagree. There are way too many situations in the game where the choice is obvious. And if you can not vote for yourself, it will go against "honesty" which I think is what the spirit of the game is about. Otherwise you are being forced to vote for people who in no way fit, and this will deprive people of scoring their "NONE" points. Just because someone had to vote for someone other than themselves.

Here is an example:
The one question is about dancing to save the lives of your friends in front of a deadly tribe. You must vote for who you would trust to save your life. And in my group, we have a friend who is a professional dancer. She is amazing. And the rest of us are untrained and unimpressive on the dance floor. So when it is her turn to vote, she SHOULD vote for herself, and not be forced to vote for one of 3 horrible dancers.
Because when voting comes around, She would vote MOST, and the rest of us would all vote NONE. But with the no vote for yourself logic, she will have to give her votes and screw one or even two people out of their points.

The game is more fun when you can answer honestly without restriction. And it creates situations where a person can say why they voted for themself, and great dialogue ensues. Instead of someone getting annoyed and saying, "Why the heck did you vote for me?!?!?"
 
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