Password from Endless Games brings the classic word-association gameshow to the table at home for those who want a serious test of their communication skills. Password is swiftly approaching its sixtieth anniversary for television and remains a thought-provoking challenge to unravel a puzzle with as few clues as possible. Many party games rely on a ticking clock to make players scramble for points, but Password is all about the strategizing.
In a game of Password, players are split up into two teams. For each team, one player serves as a clue-giver while the others give responses trying to guess the one-word password listed on the card. A red-filmed card holder decodes the password on the card, preventing anyone from sneaking a peek. The first team’s clue-giver provides a single-word clue such as “laugh” if the password were “cackle.” The team’s players try to come up with the answer; if they do, they receive a full ten points. If they cannot, the score indicator is moved down a point, and then the opposing team gets a chance with their own clue-giver adding another clue, such as “witch.” The back-and-forth challenge continues until one team correctly guesses the password or the score indicator drops to zero. The team with the most points after five passwords, the fifth counting for double points, wins the game.
The cleverness in Password comes with assembling the meaning of the password from the clues. Choosing a synonym is a good strategy like “cook” for the password “grill,” but it may not work out since the English language is packed with similar words. Some players may strategize by giving broad definitions with more specificity as they add more clues, like “nut” and then “oak” to define “acorn.” Doing so will cost more points as each clue comes out as well as giving information to the opposing team for their guesses. However players choose their clues, the trick is to communicate as the guessers think to unravel the puzzle from their shoes.
Alternative rules for a three-player game incorporates speed. Two players sit as the guessers while one player gives out the clues. After each clue, the guessers race to give a response or pass to get another clue, which drops the scoring indicator by a point. Ties are treated with each player getting points, making the best race if both can win. After five passwords, the player with the most points wins. Players who like the challenge of direct competition might add in more than just two guessers for maximum energy and shouting.
Password is a social game for three or more players aged ten and up. Games are quick, with each one taking roughly ten to twenty minutes, though particularly thoughtful players might mull over their guesses for a good amount of time. Replayability is high with 1,000 passwords on the cards and such quick rounds that players can easily face off for a rematch. Either as a race of thinking speed acting on the same clues or a test of wit pairing down the answer from the minimum number of clues, Password is a blast of a mental exercise.