Today’s Major FUN Award goes to Hoopla, a guessing game that combines Pictionary (“Cloodle”), Charades (“Soundstage”) with two original guessing game formats to create a challenging, collaborative, and high-gigglewatts experience of party-perfect fun – even for a party of two.

The two original guessing games are Tongue-Tied, where you have to use clues starting with the same letter, and Tweener, where your clues must be in the format: “It’s bigger than….but smaller than….” Each is fun in itself. Each more effective depending on what you’re trying to get everyone else to guess.

The things that you’re trying to get each other to guess are determined by the cards drawn from a deck of 285 cards, each illustrated with a color photo. The category (an essential clue) is written on the back of each card. The game you play is decided by the toss of a novel ten-sided die. The fifth choice is called “Wild Hoopla” where you determine which of the four guessing formats you’re going to use. Contrary to expectations, this choice can burn many delightfully agonizing seconds while you figure out which format is most appropriate to, say, “Microbrew” or “Elton John” or “PEZ.”

Then there’s a really well-designed mechanical timer that ticks the time away quietly, but thunderously enough to keep the pace, and players, well-nigh unto frantic. You start and stop the timer by hitting it – which, depending on the difficulty of the card, can prove a most satisfying vehicle for self-expression.

Given my bias towards cooperation, I was especially happy to discover that Hoopla is, in fact, a “Pointless” game. No scores are kept. The objective is for everyone to get everyone else to guess all the cards drawn in the alloted time – which is just short enough to make victory most definitely sweet.

All in all, from design and manufacture to playing the game, Hoopla proves itself a most Major Fun-worthy game.

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