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Relationship Tightrope
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Relationship Tightrope

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Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Family Card Game Nominee, 2005

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 30 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Publisher(s): Uberplay Entertainment

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Product Description

Any successful relationship requires "giving" and "taking". But just how much are you willing to "give" and "take" in your relationship? In this light-hearted game aimed at the comical foibles of men (blue) and women (pink), you must stay balanced on the Relationship Tightrope in order to come out the winner!

With this fun theme, you can expect some hilarious exchanges around the game table!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Family Card Game Nominee, 2005

Product Information


  • 9 relationship cards
  • 2 instant forgiveness cards
  • 50 bidding cards
  • 50 balancing sticks
  • 1 rule booklet
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.3 in 9 reviews

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A simple strategy game that's a bit out of balance
April 07, 2005

OK, first and foremost, the box for Relationship Tightrope is wrong. This is not a "hilarious" or "comical" game. Although seeing what each sex has done wrong on the cards is somewhat entertaining, you've already seen all 9 cards after one round (at this point there is nothing funny left).

This is pure strategy, not complicated or deep, but it's still strategy. Deciding which card to play, and deciding when you might actually want to play the highest or lowest card, is definitely interesting and makes for a good game mechanic.

I liked the game and enjoyed the strategy involved. Unfortunately, not everyone playing enjoyed the game quite as much. We will probably try again, and hopefully it will be more enjoyable if we heed Tom Vasel's advice and use the game variant of limiting the number of cards used.

Overall, although the game play is interesting, I can't recommend this game for what it is. I don't feel the theme is carried through very well. I also think the art and title make it appear to be a lighter game than it actually is.

Excellent filler, a theme many women will enjoy.
August 14, 2004

Uberplay games has burst into the game market this past year with more games than many game companies have produced in their history. In Korea, I havent really come across too many of their games, but I picked up several at Origins 04 and have really been impressed. Its always a pleasure to see another company producing quality designer games, and these are not an exception. When I first heard of Relationship Tightrope (Uberplay Games, 2004 - Reiner Knizia), the reviews were mixed. Most folk claimed that it was a fun, light game, but that the theme turned them off. Knowing Knizias penchant for themes is light to begin with, I didnt think the theme would deter me from the game.

Actually, I enjoyed the theme, finding it light hearted and humorous. Perhaps it was politically incorrect; but if so, it insulted both genders equally. The game was light and fun, and my first impressions were that the game was too light. However, one of the variants made the game a great deal more fun because it increased tactics. When using this variant, I enjoyed the game a great deal and found that female players enjoyed the game quite a bit. Relationship Tightrope is a light, fun card game that has a pleasant, funny theme; and one that is easy to learn and teach.

The game is composed of one round for each player in the game. At the beginning of each round, fifty bidding cards are shuffled, each with a value from one to fifty; and nine are dealt to each player. The remainder is removed from the game for that round. A stack of eleven relationship cards are shuffled and placed in a stack in the middle of the table, along with a pile of wooden rods - blue and pink. The dealer starts each round by turning over the top card of the relationship deck.

Each card in the relationship deck shows two sides - the male (blue side) and female (pink side). Nine of the cards show a number on each side, one through nine, with the same number on both sides of each card. When one of these cards is revealed, the starting player (dealer on first turn) plays one of the cards face up from their hand, with each player following by playing one of their cards. The player who plays the highest numbered card takes blue sticks equal to the number on the relationship card, and the chap with the lowest card takes pink sticks equal to that number. If a player already has pink or blue sticks and they receive sticks of the other color, one blue and pink stick cancel each other out; a player can only ever have sticks of one color. For example, if I have three blue sticks and receive six pink sticks, three sticks of each color cancel each other out; and I am left with three pink sticks. This shows (according to the theme) how much my relationship is out of balance.

If one of the two Instant Forgiveness cards is turned over, the next card is turned over also. The instant forgiveness card cancels one half of the next card, so that either the lowest or highest card means nothing. All cards played each turn are discarded, and whoever played the highest card begins the next turn. After the ninth turn, each player scores for that round, with their score equaling the amount of sticks they currently have. The cards are redealt, and the next round begins. If a player ever gets a score of zero in a round, they can cancel one of their scores from a previous round. After the final round, all scores are totaled; and the player with the lowest score is the winner!

Some comments on the game...

1.) Variants: I think this is crucial to game play. There are two variants to playing: one optional, the other necessary (IMO). The optional rule has all players play their cards simultaneously rather than one at a time each turn. This adds luck and bluffing to the game and, in my opinion, changes it too much. The other more important variant is using only the exact number of cards needed for the amount of players. For example, when playing with four players, only cards 1 through 36 would be used, with 37 - 50 excluded. This eliminates quite a bit of randomness and makes the game much more tactical. I wont play the game without this variant, as there is too much chaos otherwise.

2.) Components: I really enjoy the box size - slightly long but small enough to easily store and carry. There is a nice plastic insert that holds the cards and sticks well. Speaking of sticks, theyre basically the same size and quality of the roads in Setters of Catan; but half of them are pink, a color not often seen in games. The card quality is top notch, and the artwork on the cards produces a very cartooned and gentle humored effect.

3.) Art and Theme: I really enjoy the theme of balancing a relationship; a lot of the stereotypes really made my wife and I laugh (although I dont think Id ever forget our anniversary!) If you have a thin skin, generalizations about the different genders may annoy you; but I think its cute and funny. The artwork, done by Alvin Madden, really helps push this across; and I found that more women seem to like the game than men. In a society (American), where the gaming community is dominated by men, its pleasant to see a game geared to the fairer sex (forgive my political incorrectness.)

4.) Rules: The rule booklet is seven pages long, but the rules are so simple that they could have been condensed into one page; Im sure. Im glad; however, that full- colored illustrations accompany the rules with many examples - weve never had a problem with the game rules. The game was fairly simple to teach; although I usually play through a couple of rounds, because I found that some new folk have a hard time grasping how the different colored sticks cancel each other out. After a couple of turns; however, everyone catches on.

5.) Run-away Leader: Many German games have a tendency to have a run-away leader, someone who claims the lowest score early on in the game, holds the lowest score, and stays that way until the game is over. The mechanic by which a player who scores 0 in one round, allowing them to cancel a previous score, is an ingenious one. If I have a horrible round, and score 15 - Ive seen it happen; I dont have to lose hope, because a future round could erase that score, conceivably winning the game. This makes the game very enjoyable, and no one ever feels like they are out of the running.

6.) Strategy and Fun Factor: A player who can count cards will naturally do well at this game; but the game is simple, and although it seems fairly light, there are some strategies to be found when playing. Ive seen some folk (me!) consistently win game after game, and Id like to think that it isnt all luck. When you play with the variant, and you receive a 1 or a 45 (with five players), you know that youll win sticks for one hand. Knowing when to play those extremely high and low numbers is key to winning the game. Playing the right card, when a Forgiveness card is revealed, is also very important. Sometimes taking a lot of sticks is a good thing, as long as you know that you can get rid of them all. We had a lot of fun, and even those who lost miserably wanted to play a second game.

I have had some gamers who prefer heavy strategy games to not be totally enamored with this game. They found it to be too light and fluffy for their tastes. Others, especially non-gaming women, really enjoyed the game, and Ive had it asked for by several folk. Its an excellent filler game; and the funny theme, decent mechanics, and hint of strategy (as long as the variant is used) really make it a keeper. I recommend it, especially to families and young couples who will get a laugh out of this sort of thing.

The 'Chick Flick' of Gaming
July 04, 2004

This could be an interesting game, depending on the attitude of your players. It wasn't for us.

The game mechanics were easy enough: turn up a relationship card and play your bid cards (you get nine in the range 1-50) to claim the relationship points (1-9). Whoever plays the highest bid card gets the points in blue, and the lowest gets the points in pink. Equal numbers of the two colors cancel each other, so (for example) if you have 5 blue and earn 4 pink, you reduce to 1 blue. You then score your total point of either color at the end of the round. If you manage to score zero, you can cancel the highest score from a previous round.

You play one round for each player, scoring each separately. The dealer bids first on the first card, and the blue winner bids first on the next card. The 'instant forgiveness' cards (one blue, one pink) make the next relationship card worth zero on that side. The lowest total at the end of all the rounds is the winner.

Our regular Friday night gaming group played this with two couples plus a single. The game itself was 'cute' in concept, but annoying in game play. Too often players were 'stuck' taking a bid, either because you had extreme cards or others could play the central values to avoid points. The luck of the deal was a big factor here.

In fairness, we decided to play it out the full five rounds, but really we wanted to stop after two. Since most of us were past 30-something, it might be that we're just a bit too cynical about the whole thing.

A younger crowd might like it better. It also seemed a bit too much like a 'Men from Mars, Women from Venus' theme. Unfortunately, the actual game play did not utilize the theme at all. For example, it might have been more interesting if the men had to add one point to their card while the women had to subtract one, or something to that effect.

Overall, it was 'okay' to play once, but not something I would recommend for repeat gaming.

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