Published on January 18th, 2016 | by Nicole Jekich0
Like Pictionary, Charades? Try Concept!
Our Review of the Concept Party Game
One of the pleasures of hosting the annual New Year’s Eve celebration at our place is rounding up a lot of friends, drinking a bit too much and putting large capacity social party games to the test. This year’s runaway hit was Asmodee’s 2013 award-winner, Concept. This party game takes the traditional guessing games like charades, Pictionary, 21 Questions, etc and gives it an upgrade to be a more visually-engaging centerpiece.
No Drawing or Acting Skills Needed
If you can’t draw to save your life or really dislike making a fool of yourself, Concept is a party game for you. To play Concept a single player will draw a card and attempt to communicate the concept on the card to the other players using non-verbal clues by placing markers next to icons on the board. These icons are an array of generalized illustrations that players will use in combination with each other to give hints to the other players.
For example if the concept on my card was ‘The Hulk’, I would place the main concept question mark on the fictional/superhero icon and place additional green cubes to help expand that concept. I could put a green cube next to icons that represent strength, male and the color green and hopefully my teammate will guess the concept on those hints. If no one guesses the Hulk right away, I can place additional clues using the colored exclamation markers and matching colored cubes to give further hints. I could use additional hints to indicate that this character wears clothes on his legs that are purple. Get it?
Well here’s another example. In the image above, Luke was communicating that his main concept was an male animal or living creature. His secondary clues with the yellow exclamation point and subsequent cubes showed that this male animal is from both movies and books. At this point, I still didn’t guess the concept correctly. He then put another exclamation marker out to show that this character has a red clothing worn on his upper body. I was stumped and kicked myself when he revealed that the concept was none other than the lovable, chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff: Winnie the Pooh.
The Concept rulebook is mostly filled with examples on how to use the board to communicate ideas but players are free to use the icons however they choose to best represent their concept. I found this game was ridiculously easy to pick up through those examples and it doesn’t take long to be a pro at using the board to communicate your ideas. Not all the concepts on the cards are as easy as my previous examples. Each card has 9 concepts a player can choose from and they are divided into 3 tiers of difficulty-the hardest difficulty (located in the gray box) is recommended for only players who are well-acquainted with Concept.
But How Do I Win?!
Much like Pictionary and games of that sort, players are divided into teams and your team members need to correctly guess the concepts that come up to earn victory points. The victory points are the little light bulb tokens in 1 and 2 denominations. The rules recommend playing Concept until all the tokens are gone and the team with the most victory points wins!
Concept is a perfect pick-up game and players don’t have to follow the game end rules if they don’t wish. There are lots of opportunity for house rules like playing the game over a limited number of rounds, putting in time limits on guessing concepts, etc. I even found Concept to be an entertaining 2 player game even though it recommends 4 or more players. At dinner Luke and I took turns trying to communicate our concept to the other and tried to see how many we could guess from a single card, including trying the most difficult concepts in the gray boxes.
Traditionally Concept is made to be a team-based guessing game for a party setting. With all the information on the board and available for people to see at all times the usual noise and distractions from parties that would normally interrupt board games doesn’t halt the game at all. Often times Concept is such an engaging party game that I’ve seen people stop their conversations and party-doings to watch people play Concept or get involved in the guessing themselves. Concept is a fun and infectious game.
A Game with Longevity
I highly recommend this game to families and those that like an easy to learn game that is great for large social environments. The replayability value of Concept is very high. The game comes with 110 cards which means there are 990 concepts players can choose from in the game! Sure Concept’s replay value may diminish from people memorizing the cards but with nearly 1000 options this won’t be a problem for many, many years.