Catch Phrase: Review

OVERVIEW

Our Rating:

Think you have a quick enough wit to think of clues for your teammates to catch the phrase on the spot? Catch Phrase! might be the game for you! You must race against the timer to get your team to decipher the answer, if they guess the next team has to do the same thing. Can't get the answer? Time runs out and the other team scores a point. Test your wit and calmness with a frenzied game of Catch Phrase!

Catch Phrase! recently made one of our favorites lists, check out
Best Party Board Games

RYAN'S REVIEW

My Rating:

Likes

  • Fast set-up. 
  • Randomness of the timer.
  • Easy to learn.
  • Brings good energy to the gathering.

Dislikes

  • Answers could get stale if you play it too much.
  • Not an all-night game, or a game you would plan your gathering around.

Intro/First Impressions

I believe I saw this game on a TV commercial years ago (see below), thought it looked kind of fun, but might be a bit childish. It looked like a game some kids or nerdy people might play when they couldn’t think of anything else to do.

It was brought out with our regular group of board gamers so I thought I would give it a fair shot. The excitement level and fun this game brought were pleasantly higher than I was anticipating! We played a few games of it that night and many since, so I figure I better do a full review of Catch Phrase for our readers.

Thoughts

As mentioned I was pleasantly surprised by this game. Thinking about it now, it is a glorified version of Hot Potato that we used to play as a kid, but makes you use your brain power as well. I did enjoy Hot Potato as a kid, so I guess I still do.

This party board game is super quick to set up and get start which is nice. We play a lot of games, including party games, that can take a while to get going, and you chance losing a beginner player or someone without a good attention span.

As you would expect, this game brings a high intensity with it. There is something about the time crunch that makes people very frantic and excitable. We have had games where people are yelling and screaming, a quality you look for in a good party game. We’ve even had beverages knocked over and all sorts of stuff go flying. Almost always a hilarious consequence.

The game pushes you to think on the spot and train your brain to become a quicker thinker, especially under pressure. I really enjoy that aspect of the game. If your clue doesn’t generate the right answer from your team you must dig into the recesses of your mind to think of something else that will work.

Game play of Catch Phrase

If you didn’t know, this game has a random timer element to it. Some rounds could be 15 seconds some could be 30 seconds (I don’t know the actual range of the timer). It also has a beeping noise it makes. The beeps start slow and then get increasingly faster as you get close to the buzzer ringing, yet still not knowing exactly when it will ring.

It is pretty funny to watch people freak out when that beeping starts going faster. Some people are clearly better than others at this skill, so the game may make some people self-conscious to play it, but in reality it should be used to help overcome that fear.

The rest of the gameplay is pretty straight forward. Get your answer and pass it on. We have had some arguments about who was in possession of the device when the timer went, but it would be games night if some arguing didn’t occur! Being slow to reach out and grab the device can (and has) backfire on you though as it leaves you with less time to give clues.

Is electronic or non-electronic Catch Phrase better?

Electronic Catch Phrase

We have played both the electronic version and the non-electronic version. Both are great. If I was forced to make a choice on which one is better, I would go with electronic if you are going to be taking it places, since you wouldn’t have to worry about cards or the score board or any of that stuff. However, if you are always playing at home, then the regular one is cheaper and works great. In fact, overall I might prefer this one since you could always make more cards if your current ones were stale.

Flaws of Catch Phrase

If you played this game every night, or for a long time per session, you could burn through all the answers/clues fairly quickly. For us, we played it to start or end the night for a couple months straight and eventually repeated some answers. We didn’t find that it was frequent though. So muchtime had passed between playing the same card again that we didn’t know what was coming next and definitely didn’t remember the answers.

We simply moved on to a different game for a while and were good to go again on Catch phrase after that.

Conclusion

This is a good simple party game that you can bring out with any group. The concept and gameplay are very easy to understand and quick to get going with. Obviously there isn’t a lot of strategy to this board game, so if that is what you are looking for you should move on. This will bring some good energy and excitement to your group, and is a perfect starter or ender to your night. We have played this with many different groups and people always ask to play it again. I recommend this one for sure.

About the author

Ryan

I love playing board games with my family and friends when I am not busy playing sports or working away. Check out my full Bio on the About Us page!

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