No. 5 Wordsy
Compared to Word Slam, Wordsy does require a much larger vocabulary and it is also more competitive.
Each round, players study the 8 letters (always consonants) on the board in real time. Players who could write down the word which includes more of these letters could get a higher score. Time is also important. The fastest player in each round would be given a bonus. The game ends after seven rounds. Players add the scores their best 5 words, plus their bonuses. The player with the most points wins!
Reason for recommendation:
Not like traditional word games, Wordsy encourages creative thinking. It is quick to learn and play with almost any number. It can be both challenging and entertaining with its special mechanic so discerning players and children could have excellent game experience.
No. 4 CrossTalk
CrossTalk is the party game of subtle conversation in which two teams race to guess secret keywords.
Each round, teams select a clue-giver, and those clue-givers are given knowledge of the same secret keyword. The goal of the clue-givers is to help their teammates guess this keyword before the other team.
The round begins with both clue-givers writing a one-word clue to give their team in private. Then, clue-givers will alternate providing one-word public clues to everyone — but there is a catch! After your team gives a public clue, the other team — and only the other team — may attempt to guess the keyword. Clue-givers will need to use their private clue to provide context for the future. This will allow them to slip public clues by the other team.
The round ends when one team correctly guesses the keyword or both teams run out of guesses. Each correct guess is worth 1 point, and the first team to earn 5 points wins.
Reason for recommendation:
You might think Crosstalk has the similar mechanics to Codenames but one little change of the rules makes it a totally different game. After the clue-giver gives the public clue to both teams, only the players from the other team can guess the keyword, which limits the selection of the public clue. It cannot be too obvious, otherwise the other team would get the keyword easily and it cannot also be too vague to make it difficult for your own teammate.
The other advantage that the change brings is both teams are engaged in the game all the time. When we (Board Game Master) play Codenames, B team is more likely to space out or just watching the other team when A team is trying to guess the keyword. However, it never happens in Crosstalk and all the players are trying to figure out the connection between two public clues and their own private clues during the whole game, which enhance the participation.
No. 3 Outlawed
Overwhelmed by the stress of the hooligan hootenanny that's overrunning the bustling town of Bandit Bluff, the resident deputy has up and left his post! Sheriff Croc Holliday is shuffling and hustling to find his next deputy. Looking to fill the vacancy, Croc has decided to put a pool of new recruits to work helping clean up some of Bandit Bluff's most wanted outlaws and will choose the most dedicated to be the new deputy! A little lying, some stealthy scheming, and the sense to know a good time to tell the truth might just help give a leg up over the rest of the herd. Who will out-law the other applicants to become the new deputy?
Each player has an identical set of eleven outlaw cards imagined as animals escaped from the zoo somewhere in the wild, wild west. Over a series of rounds, players take turns playing a card face down and making a claim about which character card they played. Players are free to tell the truth about the character played or to make a bold-faced lie! After players have played cards and made their claims, all the characters are revealed and each player assesses whether or not they have met their outlaw's "apprehend if" condition. Players who were successful add their outlaws to their jail pile while all other players place the card back in their hand.
Once a player fills up their jail, everyone compares their total reward value of apprehended cards to see who has earned the most rewards and gets to fill the vacant position as deputy of Bandit Bluff.
Reason for recommendation:
Outlawed is a unique game in the list because it is nothing to do with word and deduction. It does require players of good bluffing and card management skills, which makes it a strategic party game. You will be addicted to this game as soon as you are familiar with the game and this mechanic. After several games, you may feel like you are playing Love Letter but the game is more tense and players are more engaged for its cowboy and outlaw theme. Also, the small game box is perfect to be a travel companion.
No. 2 Muse
Where will your muse guide you?
Lead your teammates to inspiration using cryptic clues and surreal imagery in Muse, a beautiful party game with over one hundred fully-illustrated cards.
Players are divided into two teams and the selected muse in each team needs to give some descriptions as clues to help your teammates figure out which masterpiece card is the correct one as described.
The clues must follow the instructions printed on the inspiration card which might be ‘no more than 5 words’, ‘number only’ and ‘noun only’, etc.
If correct, your team claims that card as your Masterpiece; if incorrect, the team to your left claims that card instead!
The first team to claim 5 Masterpieces wins.
Reason for recommendation:
We have just introduced Crosstalk as an updated version of Codenames. Muse could be considered as an updated version of Dixit but with much smaller box. First have a look at the magnificent fully-illustrated cards, how can you not be attracted by such stunning pictures. Also the introduction of inspiration cards makes the muse not only new requirements for the clues, also new challenges and more humor for the game.
No.1 When I Dream
The night has fallen and your mind is floating in the magical world of dreams. But the Dream Spirits want to have some fun tonight! They are giving their best and the dreams become strange and surreal. Become the dreamer, put on your sleeping mask and try to figure out your dream and which spirits are the Naughty ones. Become a good spirit and help the Dreamer by giving him clues about the dream before the naughty spirits mess it up. Close your eyes and dive in!
At the beginning of each round of When I Dream one player takes the role of the Dreamer and "falls asleep", wearing a cloth mask. The other players are secretly dealt their role cards determining what kind of spirits they are "good" or "naughty" or if they are just "tricksters" changing sides as the game goes by.
The whole round lasts 120 seconds in which the spirits are drawing "Dream" cards depicting a specific element of the dream, trying to describe them to the dreamer using one word each. The dreamer can guess what the element of the Dream is at any time, placing the card to the good spirits team side if the guess was correct and in the naughty spirits pile if it was not.
At the end of the round the Dreamer and the good spirits get a point for every card in the good spirits pile, when the naughty spirits get one point for every card in the naughty spirits pile. The tricksters get points according to how well balanced the two teams were at the end of the round, gaining extra points if they managed to equally balance the two piles.
At the end of the round, the dreamer must use the words he guessed and story-tell his dream for extra points before he opens his eyes.
Reasons for recommendation:
Muse divides players into three different sides, which make the game more entertaining. It is difficult to take the lead throughout the game because tricksters would always join the side which falls behind in the game. The dreamer need to find out who is helping with the dream telling, which make this game feel like the combination of dixit and Resistance: Avalon. In addition, the dreamer has to remember as many correct keywords as possible in order to re-tell the dream before he opens his eyes so this game also tests players’ memory and strength of association. Four key mechanics (memory, storytelling, partnership and role-playing) make Muse No. 1 in the highly recommended party games list by Board Game Master.