In the first of three reviews of board games from Drumond Park I take a look at Articulate! (Your Life!) which is a new variation on the original Articulate game. Will it make the original formal better, or do the new additions complicate matters? Read on to find out....
For those who’ve never played Articulate before (which was me too) it’s a word game that challenges you to explain a word to other players in the hope they can guess it within a time limit. The challenge is that you can’t say the word itself, any derivatives (e.g if the word is ‘Post’ you can’t say ‘Postage’), or other major clues such as naming the letter the word starts with. Other than that you can mime, act or talk to give clues.
It’s a simple concept and one that remains unchanged for this game. What is new is the addition of a random timer which can either be 27, 32 or 37 seconds. This added a good element of risk when we tested the game, and meant a player didn’t quite know the exact amount of time they had. As you need to try and answer as many words as possible in the time limit, this is a good tool for suspense. It also had a loud tick tock when the countdown is almost over, ramping the tension up more.
As you’ve got to get a lot of answers in a short time, the words you’ll need to describe are quite simple and cover items that should appeal to a wide range of ages. You can pass twice a turn as well so if you get stuck it’s easy to grab another card. Examples include Sacha Baron Cohen, MP3 Player, Tennis Elbow and Greasy Spoon and there are 3,000 entries in all so it’s a very generous game in terms of repeatability.
There’s a board included as well which adds a little bit of structure, giving a natural end point to the game and awarding extra moves to players for getting set numbers of questions right. You also land on spaces with categories that yield extra moves if you get them right, stopping people from picking the same categories over and over. We opted to not use the board, as picking questions and guessing them was faster paced, but the board is there if you want a more traditional board game experience.
Not that there’s much traditional about the game. It’s about blagging it and coming up with unique ways of describing common items. It’s a game for people who like to tell tales, and use their imagination, or for those who want a word game workout without relying on preset tiles of letters.
In short Articulate! (Your Life!) is about having fun, making stuff up and seeing what barmy suggestions your friends come up with. At a maximum of 37 seconds a go it’s not for those who want a steady pace, but it is ideal for anyone looking to find a quick fire quiz game with lots of variety.