Tabletop 101

Guessing board games guide

by Rossy, Quartermaster @ The Guild Hall

January 28 2020

Pantomime, drawing, talking, or using various shapes – they all have in common one thing. You are trying to make someone guess a word as fast as you can while being limited to a specific medium. We’ve all played these types of games at one time or another. They are fun because they require you to be creative, communicate effectively, and they are usually light party games.

We’re coming to you today with a list of 8 guessing board games that are sure to make your next game night a hit with your friends!

1. Activity

When someone asks you about guessing games, the first thing that comes to mind is probably Activity – a game about effective verbal and nonverbal communication.

If you are good at pantomime, explaining and drawing, you will surely win this game. If you are not good at either, it will be even more fun for all the other players (and probably for you too). Activity is a team game in which creativity and efficiency are the most important, with players having a short time to guess or explain words of different levels of difficulty.

Reviews from The Guild Hall team:

“The game incorporates three elements: drawing, explaining, and pantomime. If you like the idea of ​​working in a team and you want to explain the rules in 5 minutes, Activity is the right game for you ”- Vlad

“Activity presents the perfect combination of elements for a fun-filled evening. The fact that you play in a team motivates you to be an excellent speaker, to become a master at drawing, or be the best silent actor – in the shortest amount of time. It’s a very dynamic and fun game, suitable for an evening with friends.” – Rossy

2. Decrypto

Decrypto is a team game where the purpose is to find out the other team’s code before they discover yours. This is a really smart game where the person giving clues has to find a balance between saying something clear that their teammates will understand, but at the same time not too specific that the other team will understand them and find out their code. The first team to guess the other’s code twice wins the game. But there’s a catch, if your clues are not good enough and your team misinterprets them, you lose a point, and 2 lost points lose you the entire game.
Reviews from The Guild Hall team:

“Decrypto is an intelligent team-based game where people will try to give vague hints to the opposing team in an attempt to conceal the nature of the code words they have been assigned. So you will try to help the enemy team guess your code words… incorrectly. Very easy to play but also very smart.” – Raul

“Decrypto is a smart game that keeps you at the edge of your seat because any mistake can cause you the game. This is a great teambuilding game that really makes you work as hard as you can for your team to succeed.” – Rossy

3. Imagine

A man, a book, a flame, a glass turned upside down and a few waves – sounds like a mess of meaningless elements. However, in Imagine, if you put them together, they can represent the Statue of Liberty (or a man reading a book in flames while lost at sea). Players have to use transparent cards with abstract drawings on them to express an idea and make the others guess it.
Some opinions from The Guild Hall team:

“You will find many games on the market that have as their central mechanic the idea of ​​making people guess words or expressions. Well, Imagine is probably the most creative of them when it comes to expressing ideas and concepts using only shapes and symbols. The other players will surely feel very satisfied when they manage to guess a complicated expression. ” – Raul

“In Imagine everything can be represented through very simplified concepts. The difficulty and the fun comes from the fact that you cannot speak when you try to explain the words to the other players.” – Vlad

4. Dexplicații

This is a dynamic team game that has 3 main rounds: one where you explain the word to your teammates, one where you say just a one-word clue, and one where you have to perform a pantomime. Sounds similar to Activity? Well, yes and no. In Dexplicații you have to make your team guess the most words you can in one minute, so speed is key here.

A round goes like this: one player from a team takes all the words face down and, when the timer starts, he picks one and starts explaining it. When someone from his team guesses the word, he goes to the next one. After the minute is up, the other team does the same thing. A round finishes when all the words are guessed.
After that, the teams count their points and round 2 starts where, using the same words, players have to give one-word clues to the team. And finally, in round 3 they have to pantomime those same words. The winning team is the one that manages to gather the most points throughout the 3 rounds.

Some opinions from The Guild Hall team:

“Dexplicatii is a really fast-paced and fun game that gets your blood pumping. The fact that you have to play all 3 rounds with the same words makes you pay attention to the other team as well, so there is no actual downtime to the game.” – Rossy

5. Pikto

Pikto is a different kind of guessing game, one all about drawing! Here, only one person guesses and the other players draw the explanation for the same word. You don’t need to draw beautifully or faster than your opponents, but your drawing has to be efficient and expressive!

And there’s one more catch! You can only use straight lines, circles, and dots in your drawing, and your goal is to use the fewest elements as possible.

Some opinions from The Guild Hall team:

“Pikto is a fun game where you have to be very careful what you draw and how many elements you use. You win if you’re the player who has the least amount of elements being first to show the drawing to the guesser. The fact that you’re limited to drawing lines, circles and dots make everything even more complicated and ridiculous. Especially when you have to draw a square Kinder egg or a hotel, where you hope that 2 windows will be enough to express what you drew. ”- Rossy

“Pikto is a cool party game where you don’t need drawing skills, just a little imagination. The weirder the drawings come out, the more fun the game will be. ”- Noemi

6. Concept

For those who want to test their ability to guess a word or phrase by putting together several abstract concepts – Concept is a guessing game all about general ideas. Here, instead of talking or performing a pantomime, one player will use the general concepts present on the game board and, with the help of cubes, will try to outline an idea that others can guess. There is no time limit in this game, so it’s perfect for a chill night, and it’s more focused on logic.
Some opinions from The Guild Hall team:

“Other games from this category limit you through various methods to make the game more interesting. Concept, on the other hand, offers you a whole box of tools to use to express very complicated ideas. It’s fascinating to see how difficult it is to express a word or expression by using only very general concepts.”- Raul

“Concept is the kind of game you put on the table when you want to test your logic, but not be under the pressure of a time limit. The player whose turn it is to explain must figure out how to express the chosen word as logical and concrete as possible, choosing the most relevant concepts on the game board. ”- Rossy

7. Codenames

Another team game makes it to this list, but this time, each team has a leader that knows all the words or images and he alone has to give one-word clues to his side. The key to winning this game is trying to provide a hint that matches as many of your team’s words as possible, so they can be the first ones to finish guessing all their words.
Some opinions from The Guild Hall team:

“Codenames is one of the few games from this list, where you have to work together with your team to win. It’s a party game that is equally fun to play with old or new friends or with your colleagues from work on a teambuilding. You’re guaranteed that you’re gonna have a great time and get to know how their twisted mind. 🙂 ” – Noemi

“Codenames is a light party game that turns you into a spymaster. The mechanics of the game revolve around you protecting your agents by being able to give out clues that are clear enough for your team to understand, yet vague enough for the enemy team to identify. The quick setup time and short rules make this into a game that’s easy to put on the table, while also being surprisingly hard and strategic. All in all, it’s a fun experience that your entire gaming group can enjoy.” – Tudy

8. Paranormal Detectives

In Paranormal Detectives, you play the role of a detective or the ghost of the victim of a mysterious crime. Detectives are trying to guess how, where and why the victim died. They have to find out who killed them and with what weapon. They will ask the ghost questions and the ghost, in return, will give them clues in very creative ways. He can do this by drawing with a player’s hand, performing a pantomime, using an Ouija board to deliver a coded message, drawing on the back of a player, etc. Players gather clues throughout the game, and when it is their turn, they can try to guess the story of the victim’s death. If they don’t guess correctly and completely, then the game continues.
Some opinions from The Guild Hall team:

“It’s such a fun and interesting game because the clues are all coded. The players ask questions and the ghost answers them by either using tarot cards, drawing with the detective’s hand, miming, using an Ouija board, drawing on the detective’s back just to name a couple more fun and silly options. The detective has to figure out how to ask relevant questions and pick the right type of answer to find out the story before their opponents.” – Rossy

“Everybody heard about Cluedo and Mysterium. Paranormal Detectives takes the same basic idea of having to guess the details of a crime based on deduction but introduces a most wonderful mechanism of looking for clues by using a series of charming mini-games like making the ghost whisper or use pieces of wire to create the outline of an object or use tarot cards. It’s a fantastic game and the best take on this genre this far in my humble opinion.” – Raul

If you want to try out any of these games, you can find them in our in-store collection or on our shelves ready for purchase.

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