Time’s Up! – Our Favorite Party Game
Tim and I used to play a lot of party games… and cards when we lived in San Diego. That’s before we were introduced to designer board games. You know, modern board games like Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Castles of Burgundy and a slew of others that have the names of the designers written on the cover like the author of a book.
Despite its debut in 1999, we didn’t discover Time’s Up! until September 2010 at That Board Game Thing in Raleigh, North Carolina. I should say I discovered it, ’cause I was the one who played it first then finally convinced Tim and our guests to try it one Game Night three years later. Yes, three years later! I don’t know why they resisted so long. Tim was hooked then as were a lot of the other gamers who played it that night.
There isn’t much to the components of Time’s Up! – just a timer; a scorepad; a bunch of double-sided cards featuring the names of over 1000 famous people, both fictional and real; and a rulebook with a glossary that tells you who all those people are in case you don’t recognize some of them. You probably won’t know who some of them are. I sadly know who more of the fictional people are than the real ones.
To setup the game, divide into teams, pull 40 cards out of the box and divvy them up among the players so everyone knows the names on a few of the cards. Also decide whether you’re going to be using the Blue side or the Yellow side.
All player’s – passing the same deck around – take turns trying to get their team to guess the names on the cards over three rounds:
- 1st Round, you can say almost anything! Hint: it’s a good idea to use a gesture, too, if you can think of one. Your teammates can guess repeatedly, but you can’t pass. Don’t worry if you don’t know who someone is, try to find other ways to get your team to guess.
- 2nd Round, you can only give a single one-word clue, but you can gesture all you want and make sounds. Your teammates only get one guess and you can pass if you want.
- 3rd Round, you can’t say any words at all. Just act it out! Your teammates get one guess and you can pass on cards you don’t want to waste time on.
At the end of the first round, after all 40 cards have been guessed, review them with the group to make sure everyone knows who each person is before playing Round 2. Yes, there’s a memory component to the game, too!
It’s important to listen to and, particularly, to watch what clues the other teams are giving so you can use them, too!
Time’s Up! is hilarious fun. I recommend three teams of three or more, but you can play with as few as 4 players. There were only four of us playing in my first game of Time’s Up!
If you prefer guessing the titles of books, movies, television shows, songs, albums, plays, musicals, paintings, and sculptures instead of people, check out Time’s Up! Title Recall. The game play is exactly the same, you’re just guessing different kinds of stuff. I find Time’s Up! Title Recall easier than Time’s Up! Tim prefers the original.
Either game you play, time is ticking in these interactive, modern Charades-style party games.
Time’s Up! Deluxe supports 4+ players, ages 13 and up. Playtime is about 90 minutes.