The Catch Phrase game combines elements of charades, Taboo, Pass the Bomb and Pass Word, to create a fun party or family board game. The rules are simple and few, the play is fast paced, and it can be played almost anywhere.
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A Little About Catch Phrase
Catch Phrase is a Hasbro game and has strong similarities to their Taboo word game.
A television version of the game aired briefly in 1986 in which the Catch Phrase was an animated puzzle that contestants had to figure out as parts of the puzzle was revealed one at a time.
The board game, however, consists of words or phrases, a board, a disc, in which the 16 double sided word cards fit, and a timer.
There is also an electronic version offering categories and 10,000 words or phrases to be guessed, and an online version of the game designed much like the old television show, with a picture representing the Catch Phrase or word.
Skills Need To Play The Game
While this game is designed for ages 12 and up, it is quite possible that 10 year olds with reasonable vocabularies can do quite well also. It helps to have some knowledge of common catch phrases that have been popular at one time or another, and be able to give clues in rapid succession.
How To Play The Catch Phrase Game (Board Version)
In order to play Catch Phrase you need at least four people, divided into two evenly numbered teams. Each team gets a disc with a disc card. The board is set in the middle of the table. (Many people forgo the board and keep score on paper.)
The disc cards are inserted into the disc and the first person to start giving clues is selected.
That person then turns on the timer and begins giving clues. He can use words, pantomimes, or sounds to get his team to guess the Catch Phrase. However, he cannot give the first letter of a word, any part of the phrase, or any rhyming words in the clues. If he does, the round ends and the other team automatically scores one point.
If no illegal clues are given, the player continues to give clues until his team guesses the catch phrase or time runs out. If his team guesses the catch phrase he then passes the timer to a member of the other team and the other team then tries to guess the new catch phrase their teammate gives clues to before the timer runs out.
The team holding the timer when it runs out loses that round and other team scores a point. In addition, if the team guessing the catch phrase did not guess the phrase before time ran out, the opposing team has one chance to guess the catch phrase and if they do so, they score a bonus point. If not, play resumes with the team who lost the round starting the new round.
Play continues until one team scores 7 points.
Electronic Version of the Catch Phrase Game
The electronic version of the game is played pretty much like the board game version, with the exception that the players are allowed to choose the categories from which they give their clues.
The electronic Catch Phrase game ends when one team scores 10 points rather than 7. Also the clue disc and buzzer is all one unit so that you pass the entire thing around the table. The combined unit makes this game completely portable allowing you to take it almost anywhere.
Some of the categories included in the electronic version are: transportation, History buff, around the house, families, and geography. So having a general knowledge in several fields will help your score considerably providing your teammates also have general knowledge as well.
Tips For Playing Catch Phrase
While there really are no playing strategies that will give you an advantage, as this is a team game and will therefore be played with different team members each time the game is played, there are a couple of tips that will help keep the playing field even.
Don't place long time spouses or siblings on the same team as they probably are better at determining how their partner, brother or sister thinks, and will be able to give clues that are easy for that teammate to guess.
If you are playing with a wide age span you are also going to want to separate players of the same generation as they will understand one another better in most circumstances.
Because of the ticking of the timer, you might try practicing giving clues to random words while the timer is on, simply to help you feel less pressure during actual play. It's not easy thinking under time pressure to begin with, but to try to do so with a ticking timer in your hand and the worry that you are running out of time makes it more difficult to think.
The moment your team says the phrase, pass the timer or the electronic game, because he who hesitates in this game loses the point even if they correctly answer.
If you prefer playing word games alone or with just one or two other people Catch Phrase may not be the game for you. However, if you are looking for a quick paced, exciting and fun party game then the Catch Phrase game may well be ideal.