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Looking for a hilarious party game that everyone can play? Then whip out you Thingamajig! Press the Thingamajig's button and it reveals your secret Thingamaword. Everyone wants to know what it is... and you've got to clue them in... except you really don't want everyone to know...
It's a fresh, fast moving game where you've gotta bluff a little, stretch the truth a tad, make it sound like it's probably this, but maybe it's that. The Thingamajig comes with its own Thingamabrain containing thousands of words so you can play with your Thingamajig over and over again. It's portable, so you can take your Thingamajig everywhere -- makes an awesome travel game!
When I first saw Thingamajig (R & R Games, 2003 - Aaron Weissblum), I had high hopes for it, since R & R Games first party game Times Up is still the greatest party game of all time (in my opinion.) I read the concept of Thingamajig on the internet, and thought that it was simple, easy, and fun - something I think is crucial for a party game. I picked up a copy of the game, and after prying it open (wasnt easy), tried it out.
And yet another party game has been added to my regular rotation of party games. The basic premise of the game is a very clever idea; and although it can be broken in some situations, the game is fun, moves quickly, and everyone Ive taught it to has enjoyed it. One big drawing factor to Thingamajig is that Ive seen a huge variety of people play the game, including a few people who I never thought Id get to play a game and enjoy it. Some party games like Times Up and Talkin Tango really need good personalities to make them shine; but Thingamajig can be played by all types of people - including quiet, reserved types - and the game is still interesting and fun.
A pile of red chips is placed in the middle of the table, with the amount determined by the amount of players, which can range from three to any amount (although more than eight can be fairly awkward.) Each player receives a pencil and piece of paper. The Thingamajig, a plastic electronic device that generates random words is given to the youngest player. This player starts the first round, and then play passes clockwise around the table.
On a turn the person with the Thingamajig presses the button on the device, receiving a random word. They then give clues to the other players as to what the word is. The clue-giving player may talk at great length, be cryptic, or pretty much do whatever they want when giving clues. All other players write on their paper their guess as to what the word is. After everyone has guessed, the word is revealed, and scoring occurs. Each player who guessed correctly gets one chip, and the definer gets one chip for each correct guesser; UNLESS everyone guess correctly, in which case they get nothing. Play continues until all the chips are gone from the center of the table. At that time, whichever player has the most chips is declared the winner!
Some comments on the game...
1.) Components: The box, which is very brightly colored (typical of R & R Games), is extremely sturdy and fits together rather tightly, which can be good (doesnt fall apart easily) and bad (its a pain to open). The chips are basically tiddly winks, but are functional and easy to count and move around. Pencils and paper are included, as should be in all party games. The Thingamajig, of course, is the major component of the game, and seems to work fairly well. I had some problems with mine, however. When I first used it, it did not randomly generate words, but rather gave them out in alphabetical fashion. I took the batteries out to reset it, but in doing so accidentally broke the little spring holding the watch-type batteries in it. I was able to get someone to jury-rig them into place (dont know if Ill ever be able to change them), and it works fine; but it seems awfully fragile. My story could be one-in-a-million; however, and all other components were top notch.
2.) Rules: There isnt much to say here, since the rules were so small they could practically have been printed on a business card. The game is extremely easy to teach and learn, more so than almost any other game.
3.) Variants: If you go to the R & R website, http://www.rnrgames.com/content/news/Thingamajig-alternate.php, you can find variants to the game, as well as totally different games that can be played utilizing the Thingamajig. Of course, a random word generator could probably be used as the basis for many games. I prefer the one that came in the box with the device.
4.) Fun Factor and Players: The game box lists no upper limit of players, but I think it would be quite awkward with over eight players. My game of eight players was enjoyable, but ended very quickly. I found that five or six was more of an optimal number. Game play was a lot of fun, with people groaning in agony over how hard it was to think of cryptic clues, and laughing at others for the strange clues or answers they gave.
5.) Clue-giving and One Problem: Its an interesting task to try to give a clue that everyone but one person will guess, optimizing your points. However, its not quite so hard when there is one child or someone from another culture in the game (both Ive experienced). Since English is not that persons native language (or theyre still learning it), there is a good chance that clues that are easy for everyone but that player can often be given. This may be fun for everyone but that one person. This isnt a huge problem, but I would recommend a different game if one person in a group is at a different understanding level than the other players.
But all in all, Thingamajig is a fantastic little party game. Its the kind of idea that makes you slap your head, and wonder why no one else thought of it. My biggest admiration of the game is that it seamlessly combines crazy players and serious players, where they all have fun, and no one has a real advantage. Its not the best party game Ive played (Times Up still holds that honor), but it is in the top ten; and one that I would recommend to any group, for almost any situation.
Real men play board games.
If you like games like Password, Wicked Words, or Taboo, then you will probably like this game.
Had fun playing this with both strangers and close friends and a combination of both. Best in a friendly-type environment rather than a ultra-competitive-type environment. Everyone plays in every round, which is also a plus.
Basic concept of the game is one person gives a clue for a common word (such as table), a famous name (such as Edison), or a brand name (such as Colgate), by giving as much or as little information as you want to. There really isn't any limitation on the information you give. The clue-giver rotates around the table.
You want most players to guess the word, but not every player. If all players guess the word, they each score 1 thingamachip, and you score none. If at least one player does not guess the word correctly, then you get 1 thingamachip for each player that guessed correctly, and each player that guessed correctly gets 1 thingamachip. Also, when you are a guesser, you have the option of betting 1 thingamachip, in order to score 2 if you get it right, or lose the chip you bet if you get it wrong.
If the group you play with is a very competitive type group, then this may not be as much of a hit, because it can be very easy to exclude 1 person in the group from understanding your clue. (For example, 1 person in our group was not very familiar with Harry Potter, so when words such as broom, witch, and chess came up, it was easy to come up with a clue that not everyone would get.)
The concept is a very simple one, so you could use other games (like Password or Wicked Words) to get the word list to use, but the Thingamajig is a cute little gadget. And the box also includes the scoring chips, pencils and paper.
I knew it was going to be a hit with our friends when I heard the comment - 'I hate this game, let's play again!'
The best description I've heard for this game is reverse Balderdash. Essentially, the clue giver uses the cool word device (aka Thingamajig) which produces a random word. The cluegiver's goal is to give a definition that most people, but not everyone will use to guess the word. For everyone that guesses correctly, the cluegiver and guesser get a point (tallyed with chips). However, if everyone gets it right, the cluegiver gets nothing.
I was really surprised by this game at Great Lakes Games this past weekend. When someone described the game to me I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but 2 minutes into the game I was hooked. I played it 3 or 4 times and will be buying a copy with my next game order. This game is accessable to any crowd, from a casual family get-together to a group of serious board gamers looking for a break from their normal grind.
The concept seems nice and the gadget is cool, but there really isn't much going on here.
The big problem is this: Unless you really know everyone you're playing with intimately, there's only luck and vague guessing to make sure that one and only one player doesn't get the question right.
If you suspect one player really knows nothing about sports, then you could make sure your clue is sports-based.
Other than that, it all felt very random, and my game group bailed after 15-20 minutes.
I recommend you try playing the game by randomly picking words from the dictionary. Then, if you enjoy it, you can run out and buy the nifty Thingamajig word generator.