Consensus®

Consensus® is a party game – the kind of party game to which you will eventually be comparing all other party games. If your kids are old enough, it’s just that kind of family game – the kind you’d want your family to play. It’s a game that makes people laugh, think, talk and listen to each other. Most of all, it’s the kind of game that brings people together and keeps them together.

It’s what you might call a “voting game,” where “right” answer is the answer that receives the majority of votes. This shifts the focus from being “correct” to learning about the people you are playing with. Since players end up focusing on each other more so than on the actual content of the game, it creates the kind of fun that unites people, regardless of who wins or loses.

There are currently two versions of Consensus®, both of which function the same way.

In the Movie Edition, (the one we would recommend for adult groups) a “Movie Question Card” is read aloud. For example: “Which of the following movies best conveys the concept of: “Anything’s Possible?” Ten “movie cards” are then arranged on the playing board, in the spaces numbered 1-10. For example: (Field of Dreams, Jurassic Park, Braveheart, Pretty Woman, Rocky, Back to the Future, The Shawshank Redemption, The Ten Commandments, E.T., The 40-Year-Old Virgin.) Using the “Voting Cards,” each player privately votes for the movie title which he/she feels best answers the movie question. After all private votes are cast, the players reveal their answers. The majority answer is deemed the “correct” answer, and all players who chose that answer advance their pawns one space. The player who advances to the end of the scoring track first is the winner and is crowned “The Greatest Mind.”

There are a total of 11 spaces to move before you can get crowned, so the game can take a while to play – especially if you’re playing with the full complement of eight lovingly argumentative players. The game can be played with as few as three, but it’s one of those definitely more-the-merrier kinds of party games.

The Original Edition (the one we would recommend for a broader audience, 12-Adult) uses the same mechanics as the Movie Edition, but the subject matter is far more generic. Here you try to select the “Noun Card” that most closely satisfies the “Adjective Card.” And although Consensus® may share some aspects with the ever-so-deservedly popular Apples to Apples, you’d really be comparing apples to oranges here. Consensus® is a voting game. There are no judges. It’s the majority that rules.

The Original Edition proves to be as much fun as the Movie Edition, and because the subject matter is even more subjective, so to speak, and more accessible, the game proves equally inviting to your pre-teens, who have probably watched even fewer movies than you, unless you’re talking about cartoons, which, thankfully, the Movie Edition doesn’t. Furthermore, in Consensus® each player is voting from a common set of nouns, which allows player to compare answers in a more discussion-worthy way.

There are many subtle aspects of the game play. The rules for determining what constitutes a Consensus (you don’t score if everyone votes for the same or if everyone votes differently, or if there is a tie) encourage players to learn more about each other so they can better anticipate who might vote for what the next round. The “movie cards” or “noun cards” that receive no votes remain on the board for the next round. This accomplishes at least several goals: it keeps more cards available for subsequent rounds, it keeps good, but neglected possibilities still possible; and it gives players fewer new things to think about and more opportunity focus on the real fun of the game: each other.

All in all, our Tasters’ consensus was that Consensus®, the game, is Major FUN.

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