Time's Up: Title Recall Review

Time's Up Title Recall

Occasionally you stop playing a type of game.  Maybe it's because of friends, maybe it's because you grew tired of that style of game, maybe it's something else.  Then, you encounter a new game, and that genre that you had given up on suddenly becomes a regular part of your gaming experience. Time's Up: Title Recall has recently done that for me by making me reconsider how often I should be playing party games.

In Time's Up: Title Recall, each player starts the game with a handful of cards - each representing a song, TV show, movie, book, etc.  Of these cards, they select two to be discarded, and the rest of them go into a pile of 40 cards.  This pile represents the cards that you will play with each game.  Now, the game is played over three rounds.  In the first round, you can say anything, except any part of the name on the card, in order to get your teammates to guess the answer.  During this round, you cannot pass a card, and so if you encounter a difficult clue, you might get stuck for a bit.  Play alternates around the table until all of the cards have been guessed.  After this round, someone goes through all of the answers and reads them aloud.  In the second round, you use the same cards, but this time you only get one word in order to get your teammates to guess the answers.  (You can also act things out in any round.)  However, you can pass as often as you want.  But, your teammates only get a single guess on each card.  The final round works exactly like the second round, except you don't get a word - you must act out the answers.  Once all of the answers have been guessed in the final round, players tally up their scores, and whichever team has gotten the most answers wins the game!

Time's Up: Title Recall - what's in the box
Most of the components are cards and a timer
My first pro for Time's Up is that the game builds on itself.  The different aspects of the game can be fun independently - the first part of the game is similar to Taboo, and the last part of the game is charades.  These games are enjoyable enough that people will play them as standalone games.  However, Time's Up is very fun (and very fast paced) because you use the same cards repeatedly.  Sometimes a clue that is given in the first round will be acted out in the final round - and sometimes it isn't even relevant to the answer itself!  For example, in one game that I played, the answer was The Goonies.  Well, one of the actors in The Goonies also played Rudy.  So, some of the clues given in the first round mentioned this fact.  In the last round, the player was actually miming throwing a football as the clue for The Goonies!!  Something that would have been completely nonsensical unless you had also seen the first round of the game!

The next pro that I have for Time's Up is that it allows people to make fools of themselves, but completely willingly.  There are many party games that simply tell you to do something stupid.  I played one in which everyone was given a card to represent some weird quirk that they were supposed to act out - like whenever someone mentions a "key" to you, you yell about a dog, or something.  I don't like that kind of game.  (I am admittedly somewhat shy and easily grow self conscious.)  However, Time's Up does not instruct you on how to act like a fool, but since you are timed and only have acting available, your competitiveness will quite likely kick in and you will start acting out things that you would be terribly embarrassed about outside of the game!  (For example, one of the cards I've seen is the 40 Year Old Virgin.  I'm sure you can imagine some of the ways this has been acted out.)

My third pro for Time's Up is that it is (relatively) flexible with number of players.  Granted, there are a few numbers (like 7) that really don't work very well for it, as you can't divide easily into even teams.  However, it is a party game that can be fun with as few as 4 players, and can easily accommodate 12 - or more!  Granted, some people will prefer the smaller games, as they enjoy giving clues.  But, there are very few games that can be played with both small groups and large ones, while keeping everyone actively engaged - but Time's Up does this very well.

Pile of TIme's Up cards
Better give clues fast!
My main con for Time's Up is that sometimes there will be cards placed in the deck that you know absolutely nothing about.  The Title Recall version of this is not quite as brutal when this happens - you can generally get your team to get the different pieces of the title, and then fit them together for the full answer.  However, I have played one game in which one of the answers was Achtung Baby.  I had never heard of Achtung Baby, and I still have no idea what it is.  Additionally, "achtung" is not a word in my vocabulary, and so you will never get me to guess this term.  So, when our team drew this card in the first round, we were basically stopped completely.  Granted, much of this is mitigated by the fact that you get to select which cards you play with at the start of the game - but people come from different backgrounds, and just because you are familiar with something does not mean that I am.

Overall, I give Time's Up: Title Recall a 9.5/10.  It has managed to get me to play a genre of games that I had basically given up on, and I have been amazed at how often I have wanted to play it over any of my more strategic options.

If you're looking for more party games, you might also read about Crappy Birthday, Say Anything, and The Resistance (which isn't a traditional party game).

I would like to thank R&R Games for providing me with a review copy of Time's Up: Title Recall.

1 comment:

  1. Last syllable of the president's first name! Pink thing in your mouth!

    (I actually think I put in that card myself...)