Product Type: other board games
Newest Review: ... 12 year olds know who Billy Connelly is, for example? BUT it has to be played in teams, so as long as the teams are arranged with this in... more
Game that challenges all areas of your cranium!
Member Name: SophieRainbow
Advantages: Varied, wide appeal, fun
Disadvantages: Requires 4+ players, can last a long time, heavy
Cranium is a comical, colourful boardgame in which 2 or more teams of 2 or more players attempt to complete activities (e.g. charades, spelling backwards, drawing like in pictionary) as they travel around a board.
There are 4 categories of activity, each associated with a fun character, which both people in the team take part in: "Creative Cat" involves drawing, drawing blindfold or making sculptures out of clay for the other team member to guess. "Word Worm" contains annagrams, spelling challenges and cryptic fill-in games. "Data Head" (by far the most difficult) involves general knowledge and true or false questions. "Star Performer" tasks include humming a tune, charades and acting as a famous person. All of these categories are enjoyable, though most people are biased towards certain ones as they discover their talents.
To complete the game, a team must go around the board, winning the challenges to roll a die. Sometimes the team may choose their category, other times it is given to them and the option of "Fast Track" quicker lanes open up throughout the game. To finish, the team must win challenges in all 4 categories.
This game is obviously well made. It looks attractive, with a fantastic colour scheme, fun characters and cool fonts, right down to the funky 10-sided die and people-shaped counters. The variety of activities makes it a more complex and enduring game than its most similar competitor, Pictionary, and also allows it to appeal to more people (especially men who in my experience prefer the general knowledge style activities to creative ones). The game is substantial but not overly long and dull, usually lasting 11/2 hours. There is a good balance between the amount of skill and knowledge required and the elements of chance.
The activities are challenging but not too difficult. The sculpture making task seems to be restricted by the timer, but generally the timescale is realistic. More reserved people may find the performance tasks particularly hard to complete, but this can be good for bringing people together or breaking the ice. There are around 200 cards for each category, so there are plenty of hours of gameplay to be had. Booster boxes of 800 more cards can also be purchased.
Though Cranium is at the more expensive price range for boardgames (£30-£40), this is because of the quantity and quality of the contents (including a solid board, 4 headed pads of paper, 4 pencils, 1 10-sided die, 4 plastic counters, 4 boxes of 200 category cards, sand timer and graphic instructions), the originality of the game and its design. Overall it is worth the price.
Summary: A real family favourite
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