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Andrew Simpkins
United States
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Guesstures is one of the better party games I've played, though it won't be for everyone. I enjoy the associative thinking required to come up with (and identify) creative pantomimes for obscure cards. Underneath that the game has a light system for strategic play and an appropriate level of competitiveness for a party game. And, of course, the occasional outrageous pantomiming can lead to lots of laughs.

I think the major drawback of the game is that certain people will not enjoy it because:

1. They aren't very good at making up and quickly expressing clues to more difficult cards.

2. They are simply uncomfortable pantomiming in front of other people.

So it's important to make sure that everyone in the group is up for this type of activity.

Everyone is split into two even teams. Each player takes turns pantomiming for the rest of his team. The other team just observes when it's not their turn. The player draws four cards. Each card has two words on it, an easy one and a harder one. The harder words give you more points than the easy words. The player must choose one of the words from each card and then place them in any order he likes. For example, he may choose all easy words or all hard words or any mix he feels comfortable with.

He activates the timer and starting at the beginning of his list he tries to get his teammates to guess each word. If too much time passes, the card will be sucked down and the team gets no points for that card. For each card guessed and grabbed out of the holder by the pantomimer, the team gets the corresponding number of points. Whichever team has the most points at the end wins.

The game is immediately appealing with the process of coming up with clues to obscure words and trying to avoid clues that will send your teammates on a tangent. But what really fills the game out is the light strategy present in selecting and placing your cards.

You obviously would like to get as many points as possible, but if you overreach then you might end up with nothing. A key aspect to this game is how the timer works. You have four cards and every five seconds one of the card slots is sucked down. However, this also means that if you get a card early you can carry over your time for the later cards. So the basic strategy is to pick one or two words that you believe your team can guess quickly and store up time for the difficult words at the end. You have to judge how quickly you'll be able to communicate each concept when determining your card order.

The easy/hard option on each card also helps this game scale well with players of different skill. A team can encourage weaker players to gather up sure points on easy words, while stronger players can make up lots of ground by selecting almost all hard words.
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