Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Welcome to the Game Zombies' realm!

Game Review

The game for your whole brain

Ages 12 and up
Game © 1998,2002 Cranium, Inc.
Date Reviewed:  12/01/2003
Uncle's Games link

4+ Players 30+ minutes


Perform activities as a guessing game -- including: humming, trivia questions, sculpting clay, and charades.


Players separate into teams of at least two -- each team receives a pawn for the board, paper and a pencil. Teams decide who plays first.

To start all players begin at a special space called a "planet cranium". On a "planet cranium" they may choose whichever topic they would like to try. If the team succeeds at the topic on their first try, they may choose to follow the "fast track" or the long path. There are four "planet craniums" in the game, so there are multiple chances to get on the fast track.

On a turn, an opposing team must draw a card from the topic that your team must play (based on the color of the space that the pawn sits). Often one player from the team is selected to perform, draw or sculpt while the rest of the team tries to guess the subject of the card. If successful, the team rolls the colored movement die and moves their pawn. If they aren't successful, their pawn must stay on the same space for the team to retry the topic (with a different card) the next turn.

The topics to choose from are:

  • Creative Cat: sculpting, drawing, drawing with eyes closed, etc.

  • Star Performer: charades, impressions, humming, singing, etc.

  • Data Head: Trivia questions, true/false questions, etc.

  • Word Worm: Spelling contests, fill in the blank, guess the definition of a word, etc.

Some topics have a special "club cranium" symbol which means that all teams attempt the task on the card. The winning team gets to move their pawn ahead extra.

Each topic card has the specific instructions on it, so there are very few rules that need to be rechecked.

When a team's pawn reaches the center of the board, they must succeed at one topic card from each of the four subjects. Only one attempt per turn is allowed, so other teams can catch up. After all four topics are completed, the game ends. The team that completed the four topics at the center of the board wins.

sculpt-it in action -- golf course

sample cards

Winning Conditions:

  • The first team that reaches the center of the board and successfully answers each of the four topics, wins.

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up!If you play a lot of board games (and we do!), especially party games, you'll be very familiar with most of what Cranium has to offer before you open the box. The description of the game essentially is a combination of most of the major party games: Pictionary, Outburst, Huggermugger, and Trivial Pursuit are some of the major influences -- not to mention Charades. The question is this: "Is this game unique enough to merit buying?" We think the answer is "yes."

This game distinguishes itself from its counterparts with specialized variants of known games. For instance, the variants of Pictionary include: drawing with your eyes closed and sculpting clay instead of drawing with paper and pencils. Charades variants include acting like someone without saying names or humming well known songs for your team to guess. For word puzzles, you get the opportunity to spell words aloud backwards and fill in the blank puzzles. We found that these variants are effective and refreshing additions to the more commonly known game fare.

The overall strategy of the game is this: take the fast track as often as possible if you want a short game, or the long path if you want to play for a longer time. Aside from that choice, it's a standard party game of get your pawn around the board first. But, strategy is not what this game is about... it is about making the players do mental gymnastics under time pressure and look silly all at the same time. One of the best examples of this was when I performed my version of Shirley Temple's "Good Ship Lollipop" including a quick dance -- my team got the answer immediately with little to no humiliation, save my wife falling out of her chair in a laughing fit. This is not a game for people with a sensitive self image -- your ego will get battered in a ticklish sort of way.

Cranium additionally has a helpful rule where each team only attempts one task each turn -- similar games allow a successful team to continue to play until they fail to correctly answer a question. Cranium wisely limits the turns to one attempt which allows more people the opportunity to play.

Cranium is a good combination of many of the other party games. Its unique in how it presented the party game material -- it's nice to play when you can't decide between other party games, because Cranium gives you a little of each with a twist.

If you find a copy of this game for less than $20, it's a steal...otherwise it's one of the more expensive party games -- but still worthwhile.

Where to buy:

Any local toy or game store, and we've seen them in Starbuck's coffee shops -- it cost about $40.

Uncle's Games link

Other Reviews
Zombie Main page