Sitting down with people is difficult to do. Who likes to talk anymore? Too hard. In today’s world people need something to ease the awkwardness of social interaction, and while there are many options both legal and otherwise, I’d say the smartest comes down to a party game. You may have read my previous review of Scattergories, but there is another game that gets the job done just as well: Cranium.
Cranium is the answer to the unanswerable question of “Hey, what game do we play?” where everyone has a different answer. Cranium is what happens when Hasbro sneezes and all sorts of games come out in a spray of randomness. You have some Pictionary, some Charades, some Trivial Pursuit, and some word puzzles to appeal to just about any and all skill groups.
I Know This Game, Right?
The basis of Cranium revolves around teams of players taking turns rolling the die, moving around the board, and completing challenges based on four different categories which are: Creative Cat (drawing or sculpting), Data Head (trivia and fact-based questions), Word Worm (word puzzles), and Star Performer (performance-based). A good team obviously needs to have people adept in at least one of the four categories, if not more.
Richard Tait created the game in 1992 (oh by the way, history time), when he played some games with another family and decided there needed to be a game that appealed to multiple player-types. He pulled in Whit Alexander, a friend of his, to join in on creating what we now know as Cranium. A few deals with Hasbro later and you can pick up Cranium for $24.99 wherever board games are sold.
Basically what you have here is a way to please everyone at a social gathering. While some people would be embarrassed to pantomime a famous actor, others would be more than willing. The same goes for individuals better with word puzzles. Everyone is able to get something out of the game.
There are multiple versions to choose from, though nothing like Monopoly’s edition-fest (when will we see the Monopoly Edition of Monopoly?), but mostly what you’ll see are spin-offs from the main game. There are editions geared towards kids, computer game versions, and of course refill packs when you’ve played so much that you’re out of cards to choose from.
Which version is right for you? That’s something I can’t answer, though I’d recommend the standard edition to get you going. If you haven’t played, it’s time to start. If you’ve already played, then you know all too well what I’m talking about.