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
The Game For Your Whole Brain
Member Name: flodombey
Advantages: Fun, very inclusive, lots of different challenges, fairly simple to play
Disadvantages: Better for adults then small kids, quite expensive, needs everyone to fully engage.
Cranium is a board game which seems to me to be a mish mash of several other popular board games and traditional games, including elements similar to trivial pursuit, scattergories, charades, pictionary and scrabble. We had owned this game for some time but recently played it with another couple we are friends with for the first time in ages and we had forgotten how much we enjoyed it.
Basically, you play in teams and the aim is quite simple, to get around the board as quickly as possible by rolling a strange, 10 sided die which has colours on it (red, blue, yellow, green and purple - x2 of each). This determines which colour you land on and also which task you will perform to win your turn.
There are also two tracks you can follow, the slower outside one with far more steps on it or the speedier inside lane fast track which has less steps. The board is split into four quarters with a 'brain' symbol in between each section, when you get to each brain (represented by the purple colour on the die) you can then switch onto the quicker fast track by taking a challenge which is selected by the other team (so obviously they pick a category they think you are weak at).
The aim is to get all the way round the board and on to the large brain in the center and then to collect one card for each type of challenge. The four types of challenge are as follows:
Data Head (red): These are fact based questions, can be scientific in nature and generally have a specific right or wrong answer.
Word Worm (yellow): These questions are all about words, some ask you to spell a word, some ask you to spell it backwards (very hard after a few glasses of wine) and some will ask you for the meaning of the word (which is usually multiple choice).
Star Performer (Green): For these challenges you have to usually act something out, i.e. mime a film title a bit like charades or hum a tune for your team mates to guess. Sometimes it asks you to do an impression of a celebrity without saying certain words, a bit like scattergories. A very active challenge this one!
Creative Cat (Blue): The blue category is where the tub of clay provided comes into play! For this category you will either have to draw a word or phrase (much like pictionary) without speaking or mould an item out of clay for your team mates to guess.
All of these challenges are carried out against the clock and you have one minute on an egg timer to complete them. There is an individual box of challenge cards for each type of challenge and a place on the board marked where they should sit, you do need to remember to put cards you have used to the back. We have yet to come full circle on our challenge cards having played the game about 15 times fully.
Generally you will be only doing the challenge for your team but sometimes a 'Club Cranium' question comes up and this is a bit like an 'all play' in pictionary, i.e. both teams get a crack at it and if the opposing team wins you lose your right to move and they get an extra go.
We have lots of laughs playing this game and it is pretty fun to be involved in. Personally I think as long as you throw yourself into it and are prepared to look a bit of a fool in front of your playing buddies, everyone will enjoy it. It is well suited to adults rather than children as for under 10s it may seem a bit complicated, but it works well with any number of players between 4 and 16.
You can currently buy this board game through Amazon for £34.99, this may seem steep but you will get plenty of uses out of it and it can also then be extended simply by buying extra cards to use with the same board.
I like the fact that this utilises and brings together so many different 'best bits' from other games we all recognise and are familiar with and I think in that respect it is clever and something a bit different.
Apparently the ethos of the creators was to make a 'Game For Your Whole Brain' and in my opinion they have certainly done that, there is something for everyone within this game and it is very difficult not to have fun when you are playing it.
For us this is usually bought out mostly over christmas and I can virtually guarantee that at some point on xmas or boxing day I will be watching my mother in law, half cut on her annual glass of sherry, trying to 'act like' Beyonce Knowles. For the opportunities like this that Cranium provides, I simply have to award it 5 stars.
Summary: A great, fun game for playing with family and friends, perfect on christmas day after dinner.