Time’s Up

Games that we love are generally broken down in to two piles:
1. “Games that hurt our heads”
2. “Games that hurt our sides”

The first group is usually made up of the German Style ‘designer games.’ Puerto Rico, Euphrat and Tigris, and Power Grid come to mind. Abstract games like Chess, and Go fit here as well. These require lots of concentration and brainpower.

Then there are the games that hurt my sides…..from laughing too much. These would generally be called “party games”. Former Major Fun Award winners Apples To Apples, and Malarky would be included here along with ‘standards’ like Cranium, Taboo….get the picture?

Wednesday nights with the usual suspects are generally reserved for the brain-burning Euro variety. (I consider myself so lucky to have found my own little group of board game freaks….they’re fun to be with…..and they’re very competitive — like me, but smarter.) So when someone in the group suggested what looked like a party game, I was intrigued. What body part would this one hurt? My brain, my sides?

It would! It would!

Time’s Up from R&R Games hurt my sides and my head (I nearly fell off my chair from laughing too hard).

The game is played with partners, sitting opposite each other if possible. So you need an even number of players. But understand this. The fact that your numbers must be even does not preclude your ‘numbers’ from being odd. Time’s Up plays best with an ‘even’ number of ‘odd’ players. I’ll give you an example a bit later.

Inside the box:

1. A large assortment of cards with celebrities’ names on them. Figures out of history, sports, culture….from Michaelangelo to Michael Jordan, Elmer Gantry to Elmer Fudd. Each card has a blue name and a yellow name. Our group played the blues (insert favorite Muddy Waters joke here).

2. A timer….an evil little ’30-seconds-isn’t-nearly-enough’ timer!

3. A Score Pad

Grab a handful of cards and deal 7 to each player.Everyone looks the cards over and discards 2….not to be used for that game. (There are lots of cards and several expansion kits available from the publisher.)

Round 1:

All the remaining cards are gathered together and given to whoever’s unlucky enough to be going first. When player is ready, the timer’s turned. He looks at one card and can give any clues he wants to his partner as long as he doesn’t say the name or any part of it. This could include a definition, examples, sound effects, gestures, whatever. As soon as partner guesses correctly, the card is placed in front of player and he goes to the next card and does so again and again until the timer runs out. The clue giver also has the option to pass in this round if he feels he’s not getting anywhere. When Time’s Up, he then shuffles and passes all remaining cards to his left and the process starts all over again with that player reading to his partner. Round one continues until all (I said “ALL”!) of the names are guessed correctly by someone. Score is then tallied with teams being awarded one point for each card they have in front of them. All of the cards are then gathered back together and it’s time for:

Round 2:

The same process happens all over again with the very same cards but THIS time, only one-word clue is permitted for each card and no passing. So paying attention to all the keywords your oppos have been using will definitely come in handy. Round 2 ends when all the names have been guessed. More scoring. Cards are again gathered together for: (you guessed it) Round 3.

This time, players may not give any verbal clues. Only gestures 🙂 This round can get very, very funny. Especially if players haven’t been combining gestures with the words in earlier rounds.

OK. I told you I’d be defining ‘odd’. I laughed, during my first game of TU harder than I’d remembered laughing in a very long time. Right near the beginning of the game, I got a card with “Ann Frank” as the subject. My clue to partner Ernie: “Deaf, dumb and blind.” (“???”, you may ask. I had confused two very powerful Patty Duke roles……this was really going to mess up my partner…..) His answer (you won’t believe this) : “Ann Frank” (Ding, Ding, Ding!!!!!!!!) Apparently Ernie and I are on the same (very weird ) wavelength. Major Laughter ensued. (MAJOR!)

(About the gestures: One of our group who had played the game before kept warning us to use gestures in rounds 1 and 2 even though we were permitted to speak. He said it would come in handy later. Some of us didn’t pay attention (ME?) ……which made the third round a bit ‘longer’ than it should have been.

What you’re supposed to do in the first two rounds is work the gestures in with your verbal clues. That way, when you get to the “mum’s the word’ round, your partner already has some idea what you’re trying to convey when you pull your ears in opposite directions to get him to say “Prince Charles”. 🙂

Crossed – Cultures: There were a couple of players in our group who, being from another country, missed some of the cultural references, which in itself proved mighty funny….especially when Deb did a perfect Richard Nixon immitation and her partner (a young Asian who shall remain nameless….Myo!) couldn’t for the life of him get it.

You have to pay attention in TU even when it’s not your turn. Any questions unanswered will be passed around to either you or your partner eventually. So you’re remembering keywords that you think your partner will pick up on. It’s also important to watch for gestures…since they will all come in handy in the 3rd round Time’s Up was designed by Peter Sarrett, who’s the publisher of Game Report.

So what happens to a game that both hurts the brain and provides side-splitting fun? In Times like these Times, it’s Major FUN!

Marc Gilutin
Gamestaster

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