Sync Up!

The category is “hotels.” You’re playing with Rocky. Everybody has already voted on how many of the four questions you’ll answer correctly. The first question is: “a motel with a number in its name.” You and Rocky count off: “one, two, three Sync Up!” You say “Motel 6,” Rocky says “Supper 8.” No points. So you’re on to the next question. “A luxury hotel.” Ready? “One, two, three, Sync Up!” And you both answer “The Four Seasons.” Fantastic! Four Seasons? How could you both come up with something so relatively obscure? What about Napa Valley’s Auberge de Soliel, for gosh sakes? So, anyway, congratulations. You get two points. Ready for the next question?

The game you’re playing is called Sync Up! And the fun you’re having is Major. It’s a party game for 3-6 teen-age and aboves. You play it in rounds. A round involves as many turns as it takes for each of you to get to play with a different partner. By the time you’ve played all the rounds, everybody has had one turn to play with everyone else. It could get confusing, which explains why you also get a special, erasable, Turn Tracker, with a special erasable marker with a special marker eraser on top.

Even though the play is highly cooperative, the game itself is competitive. Ultimately, despite your concerted efforts to be in “sync” with your partner, you win because of your individual score. Your score is determined by two things: how many questions you and your partner pro temp give the same answer to, and how precisely you can predict the number of questions a pair of players will answer the same. This keeps you involved when it’s not your turn to answer questions. You keep score by moving your pawns around and around a spiral track. For a tad bit more drama, some spaces on the track instruct you to keep your eyes closed when working with your partner.

In addition to the score board, the 6 pawns of 6 different colors, the erasable Turn Tracker and marker, and the 30 Make a Bet! cards, you also get the real treasure of the game – 226 double-sided category cards, each side with another category and 4 questions.

It’s the category cards that are key to the fun – so much so that you can have significant fun playing Sync Up! with nothing else but. In fact, if you and your friend both have Skype, you can play online! Our recommended approach: use both video and chat. The person with the category cards (let’s call her the “emcee”) offers a selection of 5 categories. Once a category is chosen, the emcee reads the first question, both players write their answers in the chat window (without hitting return). Then, when both are ready, they both hit return and reveal their answers. No, it’s not the entire, or even the real game. But it’s great fun.

Sync-Up was designed by Brian S. Spence, Garrett J. Donner, and Michael S. Steer; and published by USAopoly, Sync Up! Major Fun congratulations and gratitude to all.

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