Never has a game so simple caused so much commotion.
Tomy‘s Articulate is a mixture of charades and trivia condensed into an exciting game for a minimum of four players and a maximum of 20. Designed for players ages 12 and up, this fast-talking, guessing game is straightforward. Participants are dispersed into groups with two types of players: describers and guessers. For my personal game, we played in groups of two. One person in each group was the describer and the other was the guesser.
As one player moves the colored, plastic cone through the circular, pie-sliced board, the describer picks up a card. The deck includes cards across six categories: action, person, world, object, nature, and random. The game board features colored slices marked with the same categories.
The describer’s job is to prompt the guesser to say certain words using descriptions or mannerisms to give the guesser hints. For example, when I played as the describer, I got “musical horn” on my card more than once, so I did my best air clarinet and mock saxophone to guide my partner to guess the instrument correctly. The more cards the guesser gets right, the more they advance around the board, and the first player to go fully around the board wins.
Only one guesser speaks at a time, unless they land on a spade symbol instead of a category. In that case, anyone can yell out the answer. To make it more challenging, many of the words on the cards have more than one meaning. For example, say Tesla comes up in the random category. Does the describer say it’s a car or an inventor? It’s up to the describer to predict how the guesser will know the word best.
The guesser’s job is to retain and know as much as possible when attempting to solve the answer. The game is easier to play when they are knowledgeable about the topics and the game works best when both the guesser and the describer are on the same wavelength. The guesser is under a lot of pressure thanks to an hourglass timer that runs for 45 seconds. My advice is to shout out the first thing that comes to your mind: It’s surprising how many you will get right that way.
The cards’ subjects vary from simple, everyday actions and items to niche people and events from modern times. From presidents to social media CEOs, there’s a chance that everyone will know some of the answers while also learning something new. When I played, the random and action categories were big standouts in my game due to the ambiguous nature of the random answers and the way in which players overacted the action prompts. Teams that know their geography and animals would likely excel in the world and nature categories.
It takes less than five minutes to set up and take down the game and the game itself goes by so fast that it is impossible to play just one round. With four players, each game lasts about 30 minutes. As players answer questions correctly, they can move their cone the number of spots equal to the amount of cards they got right. If they land on an orange or red space, they get to spin the middle of the board for a chance to move a few bonus spots, depending on the color it lands on.
The group dynamic is what makes Articulate so much fun, so the game is best played during a large gathering. Getting someone else to understand what you’re saying in under 45 seconds is so stressful that it usually ends in a significant breakout of laughter. The rules are simple enough and with more than 400 cards in the deck, everyone will know something; and who doesn’t want to yell at their friends or family for not knowing what a tank is?