It took me quite a long time to get enough people together to actually play a teamed version of Scrabble Catchphrase, but I played with the game quite a bit to get a feel for it. I immediately thought the the electronic version was harder to play than it should be. It just involves too many buttons pushes. When my friend and I took a look after drinking, it was almost impossible!
So, this is similar to Taboo in that you have a word that you must describe to teammates in hopes that they’ll guess. You cannot do a couple things:
- Can’t rhyme
- Can’t use the parts of the phrase in your description
- Can’t use words that start with the same letter
I like this type of game. I’m pretty good at describing words. Actually, I’m much worse at guessing them. ;) But it’s very similar to Taboo, so Idon’t know if I’d recommend it. It’s better for traveling, that’s for sure. Scrabble Catchphrase might be better for younger people because there’s fewer rules, but my 9 year-old sister had a really hard time with it. She didn’t like it at all, while the adults all really liked it.
The device is electronic. There’s a button to wake it up, but there’s no power button. I found this to be a problem at several different times. The game doesn’t shut off, it just times out. If you bump that button, the game turns back on, so travel and storage is an issue. If you could easily pop out the batteries, this might be a non-issue, but you need a screwdriver, and no batteries are included, either.
The other buttons are one that cycles through categories, so you can pick the one you like best. If you’re feeling generous, tell your teammates what the category is. They include:
- Fun and Games
- Everyday Life
- The World
There might be more, to be honest. I think the categories are kind of odd, but they all seem to have quite a few entries. I played with for a good two hours and only repeated a word once. Not bad.
The other buttons are buttons to give points to teams and a “next” button to skip words. This one will make more sense as I play games.
Once you find your category, you press the “go/stop” button. A word appears on the LED screen and the countdown timer begins ticking. If your teammate guesses the word, you press “next” and go on to the next word. You can skip the word, too, if they don’t guess. When the timer runs up, you can press the Team 1 or Team 2 button to add points. Once you get 7 points, you win the round. If you’re a good team, this might only take a single turn. I’ve misplaced the directions so I’m not sure how long the timer takes, but it’s probably about 2-3 minutes.
If you want to stop after a single word, you have to press “Stop” in order to give the team points. If you mess up a word, you can’t restart it, which would be nice. You simply have to skip to the next word or press “stop” and restart the category altogether. Like I said: a lot of button pressing.
I’ve seen a lot of different words. Some are popular cliches and phrases. Sports teams were common. Household items showed up, as well as movies and celebrities. Interestingly enough, both McCain and Romney were listed. McCain felt a bit dated, and although I described him as the losing presidential candidate of 2008 who ran with Palin, no one could remember his name.
Which brings me to my last complaint. There’s a limited number of words, and eventually I’m going to see them all. As an electronic game, there’s no way for me to download more, which would be nice. There’s no software update, and in five years Scrabble Catchphrase will seem incredibly dated. I really like the concept, but the actual mechanics leave a little something to be desired.