UNPLUGGED, VOL. II: Board Games to Combat Winter Boredom
Laura Hatton, MS, LLP
When the weather outside becomes frightful, there’s no better way to beat the winter doldrums than with an engaging board game. This post will discuss a great family/party game: CONCEPT by Asmodee.
The basic idea behind CONCEPT is that you take turns placing different markers on a board filled with dozens of icons in an attempt to get your friends or family members to guess a target something—it could be a person, place, thing or idea. Here’s a glimpse of what the board actually looks like:
The official instructions specify that a team of two neighboring players choose a word or phrase and take turns putting the different markers on the board; however, when I’ve played this game, we typically take turns being the sole “clue giver.” The game comes with rules for scoring, but this is optional—in fact, we’ve never kept score the several times I’ve played. Choosing to leave out the scoring mechanic can be helpful in situations where you want to minimize bad feelings between players, such as during a family game night or team building exercise. The experience of the game itself is what makes it fun; people working together to solve the clues—and in this way, everyone wins.
What I like about the game is that it challenges you to think abstractly. While some of the clues are simple (such as what is a small, yellow and black, flying creature? That’s right…a bee), getting someone to guess a proverb such as “A stitch in time saves nine” can be quite challenging. Further, each icon has several possible meanings. For example, one icon may represent a person, family or a group. This requires flexibility in thinking and the ability to change your strategy if your interpretation of the symbols is not leading you to the correct answer. Also, after each item has been guessed (or not guessed, as the case may be), players can share how they may have placed the clues differently to arrive at the answer, giving players a way to see how different people think. This “talking it through” step can be particularly helpful when a particular item was not guessed, as it can further develop critical thinking skills. Finally, CONCEPT is just plain fun! It was quick to learn and easy to play.
Overall, CONCEPT is a creative, entertaining game that offers a visually appealing, thoughtful, highly interactive experience with high replay value. While currently there are no expansions to this game, if you become overly familiar with all of the item cards, you can always make up your own clues. The possibilities are virtually limitless!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
AVERAGE RATING: «««« ½ (based on 71 Amazon.com user ratings)
NUMBER OR PLAYERS: 4-12+
GAME LENGTH: 40 minutes, or however long you want to play!
COST: MSRP $39.99, but price varies based on seller [$31.39 online at Amazon.com]
LANGUAGE DEMANDS: Significant use of text (reading), which can be minimized if you create your own items
DIFFICULTY: Easy to learn; varying levels of difficulty built-in to game play