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Party Game Review: ‘Imagine’ from Gamewright

Imagine from Gamewright takes the time-tested guessing mechanic from countless party games into a whole new direction as players must build an image they are trying to have others guess out of simple symbols and icons. It's one thing to draw an object from scratch, or describe a term without saying it directly, but here players will have to be especially clever with problem-solving and synthesis to assemble pieces into something recognizable. Imagine comes with two decks of cards, one made transparent plastic marked with symbols and the other an Enigma deck with words in different categories that other players must guess.…

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90/100

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Imagine from Gamewright takes the time-tested guessing mechanic from countless party games into a whole new direction as players must build an image they are trying to have others guess out of simple symbols and icons. It’s one thing to draw an object from scratch, or describe a term without saying it directly, but here players will have to be especially clever with problem-solving and synthesis to assemble pieces into something recognizable.

imaginegameImagine comes with two decks of cards, one made transparent plastic marked with symbols and the other an Enigma deck with words in different categories that other players must guess. Players arrange 61 transparent cards in a circle around a central play area. Each of those cards bears a unique symbol, such as stick figure people, location icons, punctuation marks, and shapes ranging from stars to submarines. Points tokens keep track of everyone’s score, and play continues until each player has had two Enigmas correctly guessed.

On a player’s turn, he or she draws an Enigma card and has someone call out a number from one to eight. This will prompt a category Clue that the player may say, such as “Movie,” “Scary Thing,” “Job,” or “Phrase/Expression.” Then the player must be silent and create a representation of the Enigma on the card without spelling or miming the answer, be it “Dances with Wolves,” “Blackout,” “Stuntman,” or “Head over Heels.” With 65 double-sided cards, each bearing eight Enigmas, there will be many games before a player repeats a previous choice.

Players will have to be especially creative and thoughtful to build an image out of the symbols available, making Imagine a game for those who really like to think. There is also no single right way to show the Enigma. One player might take the half-circle and the flag cards and combine them to create a sailboat, while another would place the triangle and pill shapes above the wavy line. Players may even animate their figures by rotating cards, such as displaying the Enigma “Jump” by moving the running stick figure up and over a barrier symbol made from other cards.

When someone correctly guesses the Enigma, both the guesser and the player who created the representation gain a point. That encourages the rest of the players to guess as much and as quickly as possible, giving Imagine an especially high energy without the divisiveness of having to create teams. Expanded rules in the “Unlimited Imagination” version add a personal touch, as players may give clues like “my favorite television show” or “where we have always wanted to go on vacation” to let players have fun sharing on a deeper level.

Imagine is a party game for three to eight players aged 12 and up. The length for games is flexible: Some may like to set a time limit to keep the party rolling, while others may thrive on the challenge of identifying complex images. With its versatile symbol set and expansive list of cards for guessing, Imagine is a good time that will have players returning again and again.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.