Catchphrase is one of my newest gaming obsessions. I got hooked on it by Jimmy Fallon of all people. He regularly plays various games on Late Night, and Catchphrase is one he’s played a few times. Watching a short video or two from the show will let you see exactly how the game is played:
Sometime he plays with guests:
And sometimes he grabs a couple members of the audience:
As you can see, the basic idea is to get your teammate(s) to say a word or phrase by saying anything that’s not part of the answer or by making any physical noise or gesture. There’s a timer ticking down, and whoever is holding the game when the buzzer goes off loses that round or point. The ticking countdown makes it totally intense (even to watch!) and keeps everyone on their toes. One of the many things I like about Catchphrase is that everyone has to pay attention at all times; you’re either giving clues, trying to guess, or staying on edge for your team’s next turn.
I totally love the game: it’s fun trying to think of creative, and yet simple, ways to convey the answer to your team. I like guessing too, but I think most people enjoy giving the clues more. Even if you have no idea who or what the clue is, you can often get there by “piecing” it together (e.g. if you don’t know who Teri Hatcher is you can start with something like “when a chicken comes out of an egg” and get to the answer from there).
I’m finding it’s a love-it or hate-it kind of game; I brought it to a game day last weekend and three of my friends were totally into it and two of them weren’t having it. I played with three other friends over the July 4th weekend and we got totally into it. We played so much Catchphrase we didn’t hardly play anything else. One great thing is that even as much as I’ve played it in the couple months I’ve had it I haven’t run into a single repeated clue yet! It apparently has a HUGE number of different answers available. Which reminds me, if you decide to pick one up (you should, it’s under $20!), be sure to get the new red version:
And not the older blue version:
Reviewers have complained that the old blue one starts duplicating answers quickly, but the red one has no such issue. It runs on two AA batteries and since it’s just a simple LED display those should last a good long time.
About the only possible problem is you have to have an even number of players to make the teams work out. But if you’ve got 4 or 6 or 258 people you’re set! Now get out there and start catching some phrases! Go!!!