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Game Review

The Game of Verbal Explosions

Ages 12 and up
Game © 1988,1986 Hersch & Company
game scoreboard
Uncle's Games link

4+ Players30+ minutes


Players are given a topic -- in one minute they must name all ten items related to that topic that are on the card.


Players separate into two teams. A representative from each team rolls a die to determine which team starts first.

To begin a turn, a member of the non-playing team draws a topic card -- the topic is announced to both teams. The playing team then decides whether they want to use this topic card or "pass" the topic to the opponents. If they pass, the topic is set aside and a new topic is chosen, which the playing team MUST use.

To play a topic, the non-playing team places the topic card inside the viewer. The playing team rolls two dice -- one die specifies the number of one of the ten answers that will yield bonus points, and the other die designates the number of bonus points. Then, a the one minute timer is started. The playing team says aloud as many guesses of the related topics as possible. They must match as many of the 10 topics on the card as possible. The opposing team tallies the correct matches. At the end of a minute, the team receives points for their answers: one point per correct match -- and if they guessed the topic that matched the bonus die roll, then they receive the bonus points as well.

If a team passed a topic, then when the opposing team takes their next turn, the opponents must play the passed topic. After playing this topic, they play their regular topic -- with a chance to pass as well.

Turns alternate between teams until one team reaches 60 points.

topic card in view screen
some topics

Winning Conditions:

  • The team who reaches 60 points first wins.

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up!Outburst is a game that lives up to its name. It is loud and boisterous -- potentially rowdy, and good fun when you have an extroverted group playing.

The rules and scoring are simple. The easiest strategy is "never pass a topic." Passing only gives extra points to your opponents. Anyone can play this game if they are familiar with American trivia and slang.

There are two frustrating points to the game -- sometimes the topics are so vague, players have thousands of possible answers that are valid, but not on the card. As per the rules, if the answer isn't on the card, it doesn't count. The other problem is that you need at least 4 people or more to play. This game requires a crowd to be fun. Two people could try the game, but to truly appreciate this game you need a large crowd.

This is an excellent party game. It's a great mixer and ice-breaker. If you have large groups over for the holidays, this is a great selection. If you are a quiet loner -- avoid this's all about noisy fun crowds!

Where to buy:

Any local toy store -- Our copy was bought used from a garage sale -- normally it costs about $30.

Uncle's Games link

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