Youíve Been Sentenced! Review
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Players: 3-10 (ages 8+)
Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Youíve Been Sentenced! is an entirely unique game, in which each player has the opportunity to use their grammar skills, creativity, and debate skills. The objective of the game is to form a sensible, grammatically correct sentence out of any or all of the 10 cards in your hand. Each card is in the shape of a pentagon and has 5 different words on itóbut you can use only one word from each card. Each word is worth 0, 5, 10, or 20 points.

Each player is given the opportunity to object to another playerís sentence, if either itís not grammatically correct or it doesnít make sense. The player who created the sentence must defend it to the other player(s), who become the jury. If the jury rules that the sentence doesnít make sense or is not grammatically correct, the player does not receive any points. Bonus points can also be given to the first player to complete a hand. The player who uses all 10 cards in a sentence, without the sentence being rejected, can also receive bonus points. The first player to reach 200 points wins the game.

Some other versions of the game include:
  • Turbo Criminal Court rules (in which the first player to complete a sentence turns over the sand timer, and the other players must finish their sentences before the time runs out)
  • YBS 7 Card Stud (in which players wager that the sentence in their hand has the highest point total)
  • Five Spokes (in which players try to complete a 10-card sentence using a common card)
  • Storyteller (in which players add cards to a shared sentence)
I played this game with my adult friends, and I also used it as a teaching tool for elementary school students. The kids loved playing it, and I was able to teach grammar lessons from it. The adults, on the other hand, werenít so enthusiastic. It was difficult to defend the sentences that didnít make sense because we knew they didnít make sense. Players also didnít like being challenged on their grammar. Trying the other versions, however, made the game more interestingóespecially YBS 7 Card Stud.

Overall, I wouldnít rate Youíve Been Sentenced! as my favorite game, but itís definitely a hit with the kids, and it makes a great teaching tool.

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