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Ages Play Time Players
13+ 60 minutes 4 or more

Designer(s): Richard Tait, Whit Alexander

Manufacturer(s): Cranium, Hasbro

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Product Description

Cranium is the hip, new, outrageously fun board game that brings friends together through a variety of activities celebrating your whole brain. Whether you're an aspiring actor, artist, data hound or wordsmith, Cranium gives you and your team a moment to shine. Each turn your team will harness its collective brain power to advance around the board. The first team to reach Cranium Central wins the game! You will not believe what your friends can do!

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Richard Tait, Whit Alexander

  • Manufacturer(s): Cranium, Hasbro

  • Year: 1998

  • Players: 4 or more

  • Time: 60 minutes

  • Ages: 13 and up

  • Weight: 1,848 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is a domestic item.

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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.6 in 16 reviews

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Time for something new
June 24, 2004

Cranium's pretty cool, but it's been around a while. I think the new game Rigamarole is a lot better for parties. It covers a lot of things Cranium doesn't and is much cooler. It has a blindfold and at the end of our game we had to fly paper airplanes, but it also has more intellectual cards.

Great Party Game!
April 28, 2004

This game is so much fun! I just played it for the first time about 2 months ago and now I'm addicted! The game gives people an opportunity to show out and just have a good time! Really fun at parties--and especially fun played in teams of 3-4 people each. Don't be bashful....let's play CRANIUM!!!

Everyone has a skill!
April 19, 2003

This game is a great gathering game that everyone will find fun, because it's like a combination of Pictionary, Claymania, Trivial Pursuit, Hangman, Charades, and much more. So if you're skilled in one area, but suck in another, it's okay! Everyone will get a chance to shine in this game. Because of it's combination-like play, if you only get one game in this decade, Cranium should be it.

by Terri
Everybody has at least one talent!
November 29, 2001

This is a great party or family game. Not everyone is good at trivia, drawing, or charades, but with this game, we all got a chance to show our strengths, even if it is something like spelling a word backwards or making something out of clay. The board itself isn't much, but the laughs we have playing it are great. Highly recommended.

A mixed bag, can be very fun in the ideal setting
April 03, 2006

This game can be very fun. The most enjoyable parts of the game in my opinion are the creative questions. You draw with your eyes closed, sculpt objects with the included clay, and play pictionary. The charade and 'act like a famous person' questions are also fun and can provide a lot of laughs.

However, there are a few drawbacks to the game. The trivia and word related questions can be very audience dependent. The data questions are made up of multiple choice, false/true, identify a picture, and short answer. The word questions are made up of unscramble, spelling backwards, and definitions. If your groups are made up of english and arts majors, these questions will likely seem very easy. I think the best solution is to have small groups, or groups mixed with kids, as some reviewers have stated before. Large groups can make this game too easy.

My biggest gripe with the game are the humming cards. These cards ask you to hum a "popular" tune. These are obviously aimed for the baby boomer generation, as many young people < 25 will have never heard of most of these songs. I don't get why they did this, as it seems this game is geared for younger people or families with younger people. Most of the time when playing, noone knows the song and you have to pass on it. Maybe that's just with the people I play with, but this shows how the game can be audience dependent.

Another issue is the way the board is setup. It's pretty easy for one team to get far ahead of the other, without any chance of the other team making a comeback. This happens because of the 'cranium space', where if you get the answer right on the first try you get to take a fast path. If you get it wrong, you have to take the slow path, which is twice as long and just compounds the advantage the other team gets. This poses a problem of the game being over too early and the other team giving up.

The final problem I have with the game is that it can get a bit slow paced, as all the other groups wait for the current team to go and have nothing to do in the interim. If not everyone is on the ball, people can get distracted waiting for their turn, making the game go longer than it should or not end.

So overall, this can be a very fun game with the ideal groups and if you don't mind passing on a few of the humming cards. Stick with small groups of 2/3 people, possibly mixing in someone young on each team.

Also, you may want to consider getting Turbo Cranium instead. It's essentially the same game, but at a much faster pace and the board is rearranged to prevent people from getting too much of an advantage. Definitely an improvement.

Great fun at a party
January 18, 2006
This game is even better than the sum of its parts. Charades has always been a great game, but I think it even gets better when you mix it with Pictionary (another all time great game) and a little bit of trivia (though I don't usually like trivia).

Part of why this game is so much fun is that it is played in teams, and you have to get to know your team to figure out who would be best in each of the categories. Any game which gets people interacting and getting to know each other is a good game in my book. Thank god there are still a few companies out there that try to make games that are actually fun to play. (I have been getting sick of these long, boring, complicated games that gamers are prone to liking).

High-Quality Party Fun
March 02, 2005

Cranium is the official game for everybody. Anyone who likes playing games will at least like part of Cranium. The variety of activities are what make it so appealing to so many people.

Cranium is ideally suited for large groups of players because the larger your team is, the greater variety of knowledge and skills you will have. That way if you hate charades, you can have other teammates handle that part, and you can offer your expertise in areas you enjoy.

I purchased this game many years ago, in fact we introduced most of our friends to the game long before you could find it in most stores. We were amazed from the very beginning at how everyone liked this game. It has things that appeal to everyone.

For a game to play in large groups and with a variety of personalities, Cranium is a must- have. I have never had any negative comments about Cranium, and we can play it countless times without getting tired of it.

The buzz is real... One of the best party games ever.
January 24, 2005
Granted with this game you really needs players who are willing to make exobitionists of themselves but if you've got that kind of a group together you've got quite a fun game on your hands. What makes this game special is it's diversity. You have many different types of tasks to accomplish, from sketching with your eyes closed and clay modeling, to humming the tune to a song and famous charades. Of course there's the obligatory trivia section as well, but the questions written are typically pretty entertaining themselves. There's plenty of other activities I left out but let it be known all sorts of weird things come out of this game. Weird but definitely fun.
It's fun with small groups...
February 25, 2003

I think this game is very fun with the right group of friends who don't mind acting like idiots. Yes, some of the questions were simple, but with groups of one two people its rare to get them all correct.

I really enjoyed this game, I haven't laughed so hard at some of my friends in a long time...

Nice game for kids & adults
February 01, 2003

As far as party games go, I've always been a fan of Pictionary. I like Cranium because it is partially Pictionary...and then some: drawing with your eyes closed, spelling a word backword, answering a trivia question, sculpting something, etc. I agree that some questions are easy, but when I play with friends & family, we generally try not to have more than 2 people per team. This makes it less likely that all our brain power together will know everything (as compared with 4 brains, for example).

This is a great game for me to play with my parents, who certainly are not gamers. I've also played with 11-year-olds. In certain situations (ie., family gatherings) it's nice to have a game that's super easy to explain to everyone, and almost always a blast to play.

Good game, but it is just a mix of other good games.
October 19, 2005
Although I enjoy this game, I feel like I wasted my money on it because I already have all of the other games that it was based on. Worse yet, I find the questions and activities in this game very easy which means that we hardly ever miss something in the alloted time. I think this game is made for families with younger kids and that it does not play very well with older educated people.
A little of everything
April 26, 2004

Cranium is a gateway game. It leads to other, more fulfilling games. Cranium is a hodgepodge of better contests. That's not supposed to be a dig. I just think that in each category, there's a better version somewhere else.

It reminds me of an activity my family does where we take every Trivial Pursuit box we have and combine them into one game. Cranium has some pictionary and some trivia and some creativity in lighter doses than better defined games.

by A Gamer
Not much challenge for the mind
March 01, 2005
The concept of this game is fantastic...we loved the challenges, particularly the clay. But we found the clues to be much too easy, and the dice make much more difference than the skill of the players. Perhaps the booster boxes offer more challenge, but the base set is very very easy.
by TP
Great concept... but poor execution
February 09, 2003

I was very excited to receive this game as a gift. Sounded wonderful.

Then we played it.


The clues are far too easy, esepcially if you have teams of 3 or more.

Granted, myself and my freinds are all 'intellectual/bohemian-types', many of whom are multiple degree holders actively involved in the arts - and that may be some of the problem - it seems the game was designed to be a challenge for those _without_ the skills the game divides into.

Drawing challenge? The artist takes it.

Wordplay? The voracious reader/english major.

You get the idea.

I started volunteering to tackle challenges in my _weakest_ area to make it more interesting -- which was more entertaining, but the 'game' was still too easy.

Perhaps a good game for children or an inhebriated group, or maybe a group that is filled with people are aren't comfortable performing or being artsy or verbally clever.

by Owen
Something's missing
August 11, 2002

Great idea, poor execution. This game should be fun because of the variety, but it isn't. The questions are uninteresting and game play is boring. The worst is when you get stuck on a space and everyone else is trying new things. Winning is mostly about the role of the die. I wish some one would come up with something more interesting!

Too darned easy
December 31, 2000

'Cranium' is a cute game with a nice concept--allowing players to use all sorts of skills, not just their knowledge of trivia or ability to sing, etc.

Unfortunately, the questions are so basic, so stupid, that it doesn't make for a very good game. We played at a party with 16 people, and there was one wrong answer to a question. One, in the entire game!

I want games--even party games--to be much more challenging than this. I would rather play a challenging game that focuses on one skill (such as 25 Words or Less, Scattergories, Pictionary, even plain old [page scan/se=0061/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Trivial Pursuit)--even if I'm not very good at it--than a 'jack of all trades' game that's so easy it's boring.

Cranium is a nice try, but not a very good game. Don't waste your money--there are much better party games out there.

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