Head’s Up [App]

Date Fri, December 29 2017

While looking for the name and rules of another game (Blind Man’s Bluff/Indian Poker), I came across the Head’s Up app. Were I a more religious watcher of Ellen, I might have recognized the game from the segment on her show. Regardless, it looked fun, and I put it aside until I had time to play it. That time came on Christmas day.

Head’s Up is a game in which you hold up your phone so that your team members can see it. They must try to describe the word or phrase on the screen without using any of the words in the phrase or rhyming. It’s an awful lot like Taboo or similar games; although, putting on a device requires a lot less setup and fewer items.

We tuned in to the Christmas theme and also tried Cat Week and animals. There were about half a dozen categories we could play for free. After a few rounds, we experienced a couple repeated words, but I think you could get a fair amount of play out of the free app.

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That brings me to my first qualm with Head’s Up: while it’s free on Android, it’s not on iOS for some reason?

My second qualm is with the gestures. Tilting your phone enables you to pass the word or to accept it when you’ve guessed it correctly. It’s just a bit finicky. We would occasionally skip two words at a time, and someone would invariably tilt it the wrong way. This didn’t really detract from play, but it meant that we had to manually count correct guesses. Head’s Up as an app doesn’t really work for scorekeeping.

This is only further exacerbated by the fact that you cannot specify the number of teams or rounds. Every round acts like it’s own game, and you can’t really compete the way you would in Taboo.

The emphasis of Head’s Up is clearly having fun, which makes this a quick and easy party game to break out.  With options such as using accents or acting it out, Head’s Up encourages silliness in a way that similar board games perhaps do not.

My final issue is with a feature that sounds fun: the front camera will record the room and the ensuing hilarity. But the Head’s Up app tells me that nothing can be recorded because my phone lacks a front-facing camera. This isn’t the case.

It seems these issues are fairly common if you read the reviews on Google Play. Despite having issues, I also had some fun with Head’s Up. I don’t know if I would play it all the time, but I would break it out from time to time to break up the silence.

Get Head’s Up from iTunes for $.99 or for free on Google Play.

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