Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2016 Games
Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Gamewright
Price: $14.99

There are seemingly infinite board game adaptations of the game of charades -- players know a secret word or phrase and need their audience to guess the secret. The game Imagine, from Gamewright, is in this classic vein and adds a worthy contribution to the genre. Imagine players have to illustrate the secret (termed an "enigma" in the instructions) using transparent image cards; a successful guess by another player leads to a point each for the illustrator and the guesser, and the player with the highest point total at the end of the game wins it.

The 61 image cards bear standard (or occasionally less standard, even slightly bizarre) graphics -- for example, human figures in various poses, different types of transportation, a "no" sign, basic geometric shapes, an alien head, a sword, etc. Players can layer the cards imaginatively, adding dimension or motion to animate the image where that may help. In practice, the game requires extensive imagination on both the part of the illustrator and the other players, since somehow the perfect card never presents itself; invariably, the incomplete or baffling images lead to hilarity!

The game is recommended for groups of three to eight players. Two players (or more, if so desired) can play in a non-competitive mode; the game is fun and silly enough that the scoring is hardly necessary. However, for a truly competitive game, and one that does not end too quickly, a larger group works best.

The set includes 65 cards with 16 enigma prompts each, so players could play many rounds without ever hitting a repeat. The themes on the prompts also vary widely: from place, song, movie, vehicle, or job; to bad luck, "things that shake you up," "it doesn't happen every day," "not your typical job," all suggesting a real sense of humor on the part of the developers. The game designers recommend branching out from the enigma cards into further imaginative territory, using favorite topics and activities for inspiration -- even inside jokes!

This game has already seen many rounds of play in our testing, and it has earned a permanent place at our game night table.

Emily Crawford   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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