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Racing through the Deck of Fame, your team competes in 3 hilarious rounds to collect the most celebrities. Time is ticking... and you're scrambling to get your partner to identify the name on your card. They had at least 15 minutes of fame.... You have 30 seconds.... Do whatever it takes to get the most celebrities on your side before... TIME'S UP!
In his series The Dice Tower Audio Reviews, noted reviewer Tom Vasel provides short audio (mp3) reviews of both new and old games. Tom knows games, and these audio reviews are a great way to find out more!
Average Rating: 4.5 in 32 reviews
I bought Time's Up at least 5 years ago because I saw it listed as an award-winner on the Internet. I loved it immediately but seldom had opportunities to play it. Then I took it to a "game night" with a group of mostly retired teachers and it was the hit of the party. At the next gathering, it was the first game requested, and at the party after that, I disappointed everyone by not bringing it.
This is by far the best party game I have ever played. My friends like Apples to Apples, Balderdash, Wise and Otherwise... you get the idea... but I think this game has the most laughs of them all. The fast pacing adds to the fun and keeps everyone involved. One of the best things about the game is that it can be played with a large number of people - I think 6 to 12 is ideal, but even more can play if need be, and no one gets bored waiting for a turn.
In my experience, no game has gotten as many laughs as Time's Up. I guess that its biggest praise is that it is easily the most requested game in my collection as well as the fact that playing the game with us has caused several other people to go out and buy the game themselves. Time's Up is also my wife's favorite game.
Time's Up is a party game and, as such, will not cater to everyone. We play a large variety of games, including many of the more popular party games like Apples To Apples, Balderdash, Guesstures, Taboo, Cranium, , Headbandz, 25 Words Or Less, and more. We also play strategy games like Puerto Rico and El Grande (and like them a lot), but for some crowds, only a party game will do. Time's Up is the choice number one.
When I first heard about this game, I was a little skeptical whether I would actually enjoy it at all. I'm glad that I was convinced to try it out. I picked up my own copy shorty afterwards. Inside the box, I found the standard party game fare: One 30-second timer, score pad, rules sheet and several cards.
Each card contains 2 names of people -- either real or fictional. Only one of these names will be used in any single play. There are easily enough cards in the box to last several plays since you will only need 40 cards for each play. Even after exhausting the deck, memorizing the names of the cards will only help you if you find yourself playing with someone that has also previously played with that same card. If you do end up playing enough that this becomes an issue, there are two expansion packs jam packed with new names. There are also blank cards available so that you can create your own set of names.
The rules sheet doubles as a reference sheet that contains a list of every name used in the game, plus a description of who each person is. These pages are not actually referenced until the game is well underway, as I'll explain below.
The game starts by selecting which set of names will be used -- there is a yellow side and a blue side to every card -- and distributing 40 cards evenly amongst all the players. The rules state that everyone then gets an additional card and then they pick any one of their cards to be thrown out for the rest of the game. We like to play without using this particular rule because it's those names that get thrown out that are often the most fun to play with since nobody seems to know who the person is.
Once everyone has taken a good look at their cards, all the cards are collected into a single pile and shuffled together. Each team then takes a turn trying to get as many points as possible. In the first round, one of the team members give out clues to her teammates. Any clue is valid, as long as any word that is spoken does not contain a significant portion of the answer. Clues may include talking, miming, singing, humming, or anything else that you can think of. You can even use "rhymes with" clues, as long as you don't say the word that the answer actually sounds like. For example, if the name you are trying to get is 'Cable', then you cannot say "it rhymes with table". You can, however, say "it rhymes with the wooden furniture that you use to eat off of.".
In this first round, the giver has 30 seconds to get as many of the cards as they can. However, the team cannot pass, making things a lot more challenging. The most hilarious moments come when two partners just can't click. Everyone else in the room may know the answer based on the giver's clues, except the partner! Even funnier is when the giver thinks of the perfect clue and the partner guesses the correct person for the clue, but the person on the card is somebody entirely different!
Admittedly, this first round can be intimidating for people who are not used to party games. I have had more than a handful of players throw up their hands and exclaim "I can't do this". In every instance, those players quickly got the hang of the game and had as much fun as the rest of us.
When a receiver correctly guesses the name on the card, that team gets to keep the card. Any card that they did not get goes back into the pile. The pile is shuffled and moved on to the next team. That means that, eventually, the same names will pop up again. Sometimes, over and over again. Fortunately, by the time the name has appeared a few times, somebody has memorized it and some associated clue and will guess correctly, even if they have no idea who the person actually is!
After all 40 cards are guessed, everyone pauses to slow down the laughter. Each team scores one point for each card in their possession. Of course, the fun is just beginning. First of all, we need to find out who exactly Henry Wadsworth Longfellow happens to be. The rules/reference sheet tells us who everyone is and, armed with the new knowledge, everyone is ready for the second round. All the cards are collected into one common pile and shuffled together once again.
In the second round, the team with the lowest score starts. This time, the giver may only use one single word as a clue. She is still allowed to perform any charades or hum a tune, but a second word defaults the current card. The giver still only has 30 seconds to get as many cards as possible. However, this time, she is allowed to pass. Not only that, but the guesser can only make one guess per card. This leads to a mad flurry of cards flying out of the way in search of some name with an obvious clue. That is, until all the 'easy' cards have been guessed and we are left frantically miming Placido Domingo, Fats Domino and Minnesota Fats. This round plays surprisingly fast, thanks to the one word clue, and the fact that everyone has already seen the names on the cards at least once.
At the end of the round, everyone counts their points again and we collect the cards to start the third round. This time, referencing the names sheet is not allowed but laughing at all the ridiculous miming and humming is encouraged.
For the third round, you are allowed to pass but you are not allowed to say a single word. This plays much like charades -- plus humming -- but with cards that you already know! This means that you can fly through 8 or 9 cards if you get on a roll, but you can get stuck with your partner consistently yelling the wrong name if Barney The Dinosaur, Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone are all in there! Since only one guess is allowed per card, you are forced to pass and move on to the next card.
After three rounds, everyone counts up their last batch of cards. The winning team is the one with the most cumulative cards collected in all three rounds. Of course, by this point, hardly anybody cares about the score. Everyone is usually laughing and rearing to play again.
We have played the game with as few as 4 and as many as 16 people. I find that 6 is probably the best number. With more than 8, you'll want to start grouping people in more than two per team. We like to partner people up who are the least familiar with each other. Generally, the game seems more fun when partners have completely different interests.
Time's Up is the most fun that I have ever had with a party game.
To the one-star review - pleeeeeease give Time's Up another try, if you did indeed misunderstand the rules the first time. Here's the beauty of the game: It's less about charades or knowing famous names, and more about remembering the clues your fellow players invent. It doesn't matter if those clues were right or wrong. In fact, a failed, "messed-up," or convoluted clue in the first round will, quite often, become the memorable key to winning in the third.This also applies to those names that need to be "sounded out." They make take two or three trips around the table, but part of the fun is when you've seen a card go by, and you suddenly "get" what another player is trying to do with it, and how you can build on their idea if it comes back around to you. This dynamic keeps everyone in the game and paying attention. Though the game might sound daunting to some, it's easier than you think, and scales well to the various skill levels in a group. It's also packed with laughs and surprise; a definite hit with our group!
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Quick! Pass a deck of 40 randomly chosen celebrity name cards from team to team. The clue-giver has a mere 30 seconds to communicate the identities of as many cards as possible, using words, pantomime, and sound effects. The round continues until all names have been guessed. Give each team a point for each card they've won, then take all the cards back--you'll need them for the next two rounds. In the second round, you're only allowed to say one word per name card, and in the third and final round you must make do with no words at all. The team with the highest total of all three rounds wins. A good memory and rudimentary acting ability will bring you success, and the 864 name cards assure you many merry moments.