Guesstures (Electronic Version) Review
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Players: 4+, in teams
Playing Time: 30-60 minutes

As a wannabe actress, one of my favorite games growing up was the original version of Guesstures. I haven’t played it in years, but when I came across the updated, electronic version of the game, I couldn’t resist challenging my family to a fast game of pseudo-charades.

It only takes a minute or two to understand the rules of Guesstures. Players split into two teams (they don’t have to be evenly matched). The first team to play selects one player to be the “actor.” That person presses the button on the top of the electronic game console and proceeds to act out the first word the game provides, while the other teammates try to guess the word being acted. If the team guesses correctly, the actor presses the top button again and then has to decide if he wants to try another word in the time remaining.

Here’s the catch: each round only lasts thirty seconds, and if the buzzer sounds while a player is still acting out a word, the team loses all the points they’ve earned in that round. So the actor has to be conscious of how much time is remaining (and how good the other players are at guessing!) before trying out another word. When the time runs out, the game tallies the points, and the other team gets their turn.

While acting, there are a couple of things you’re not allowed to do: you can’t talk, and you can’t write out the word you’re trying to act out. You can “mouth” words, as long as they’re not the ones your team is trying to guess (for example, you can mouth “help” if you’re trying to act out “drowning”). Everything else is fair game. You can use props, and if the word is an object in the room, you can point to it.

Each correctly guessed word earns your team one point. At the end of the round, the other team can challenge if they think the playing team has broken a rule. The first team to earn 15 points wins the game.

The new electronic version of Guesstures was just as much fun as the old version. I did have a couple of problems with it, though. First of all, there’s no option to pass on a word, so if you can’t figure out a way to act it out, you’re screwed. Secondly, I wish there was a way to pause a round in the event that a rule is broken. Sure, the other team can challenge at the end of the round, but if a rule is blatantly being broken, it’s hard to keep yourself from yelling out, “Hey! No talking!” If that happens, it inevitably starts an argument and a look at the rule book—but, in the meantime, the clock is still ticking on the playing team’s round.

Other than those two minor complaints, though, I really had a blast with this game. It’s a good one to break out if you’re having a lot of drama kings and queens over for a party.

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