Paired Up is a party game, like Taboo, Password, Catchphrase, etc., where you try to get your partner to guess, well, you guessed it, pairs of words, like “salt and pepper,” “rock and roll,” “song and dance.” A good premise for a party game. It gets people talking to each other. It’s a challenge. It’s for a small, party-like group of 3-6 people and your larger party-like groups can play in teams.
But what, you might ask, makes it so unique that it would merit the esteemed Major FUN Award? It’s not just the way the words are paired up. It’s the way the players are.
Included in the game are two, two-sided, write-on-wipe-off cards (for 3, 4, 5 or 6 players). The cards help determine who gives a clue to whom. There are 24 rounds, and in each round another combination of players is selected. For example, in the first round, the first player might be giving the clue to the second player. The next round, the third player to the fourth. The next round, the second to the third. Etc., etc., until every player has given or received a clue to or from every player, at least once. Though it sounds complicated, it’s actually quite elegant. And it solves a problem that has haunted many a game designer, because it gives every player an opportunity to play with every other player.
There’s a 45-second sand timer (I know, we don’t really love sand timers). And a very pretty little die that determines how much a round is worth, and you’ll swear is loaded until you realize that there are two 2’s and two 3’s. And a score pad. And 4 pencils, even. But the real treasure is how much fun the game is, and how well that pairing-up system works.