By Ward Batty
It was pointed out to me that I have neglected party games in this column so far. I like party games, sometimes a party game is just the thing, and so it is not through any prejudice on my part. One of the best party games is available at most department stores that carries games, Taboo by Brian Hersch and published by Hasbro. In Taboo, one player tries to get their partner to say a word on the card drawn, but not use any of the five words that one would commonly use that are also on the card. So, for example, a player must get their partner to say "diaper" without using the words smelly, cloth, disposable, baby or rash. A player from an opposing team can see the card and has a buzzer to sound if any word from the card is used in the descriptions. Taboo is fast and fun and can be played equally well by players of different ages and talents. I'm told the electronic version is also good but must admit to not having tried it.
Another great party game is Times Up! by Peter Sarrett and published by R&R Games. Based on the parlor game Celebrities, the game has hundreds of cards with names of famous actors, politicians, writers, and fictional characters. The game is played in partnerships and lasts three rounds. In the first round, players get their partner to name the person by describing the person and the partner must keep guessing until they get the answer. Players have a 30 second timer and collect the cards their partner successfully names. Using the same clues, the second round allows players to say only one word and the partner only one guess. The third round is played like charades, no words, only gestures and humming or sound effects. The game is always hilarious, especially as the people on the card get boiled down to a single name and gesture. Invariably, you'll get a weird combination of names that will create hilarity, like Lou Abbot and Stan Laurel.
Another great party game is Password. Not your idea of a typical party game, you say. It is important to note that Password can be played from any position, sitting, standing, and laying down... Of course, you don't need anything to play Charades or a favorite of mine, the dictionary game. Find a word in the dictionary that nobody knows the definition, then have folks writes down a made up definition and then everyone votes for their favorites. The person who looked up the word is the reader of fake definitions.
Author's note: This column will no longer be weekly.
Ward Batty is a long-time game-player who has been with the same weekly game group for over twenty years. "I understood there was a pension." is his excuse. He writes a monthly column on the business of board games for Comics & Game Retailer magazine and has written articles and reviews for The Games Journal, Scrye, Knucklebones and Games International.
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