Articulate! is a family party-style word game that can be played whether you are learning English or reckon you have a lexicon to make Charles Dickins jealous. The simple rules of the game and team-based nature mean you can play this very accessible game with anywhere from four to twenty or more players!
Designed by Andrew Bryceson and published by Drumond Park, Articulate is loud, fast-paced & captivating. Everything a good party game should be. So, it is not a surprise that both Bryceson & Drumond specialise in family-friendly party games, such as Balderdash and The Logo Game, but we would say that Articulate is a strong contender for their best game.
The best way we can think to give you an idea of Articulate is to call it “verbal charades” but please do not let that put you off, like the Detective said to the Mime, “get out of that box and start talking!”
Synonyms, Similes & Sounds-Likes
Articulate is played in teams with each team using their turn to correctly guess as many words as they can. All the teams start on the same space, each team chooses their first “reader”, and you are set to play. The Articulate board is made up of 6 category spaces that circle around the board in order, think Trivial Pursuit.
The categories are the traditional affair: World, Person, Random, Nature, Object & Action, and there is also a spade category which is essentially the wildcard category. Whichever category your team is on will determine which word on the card your “reader” will attempt to describe to you.
The aim of the game is for the reader to get their team to correctly guess as many words as they can within thirty seconds. For each correct word, the team progresses one space around the board. The first team to reach the finish line, wins. Simple.
“Give us an example Dandy, woo us with your words.” Alright then, we will. The starting category is always Object and let us say the first card we draw says “Car”, the reader would say things like “you drive these” or “it has four wheels and doors.”
If they wanted to play hard mode they could say “it has glowing eyes, a horn & a charming summer hat?” As soon as the reader’s team guess the answer, the reader moves on to the next card and so on.
Articulate is an excellent family game because of the mix of words on the cards, some easy and some abstract, but never offensive/rude. That said, some of the “Person” cards might need to be changed out of our copy. Because of the simplicity of the rules, non-fluent speakers can compete with more fluent teams if the fluent team have a “no skipping” rule whilst the non-fluent team can search through the deck for a word they know.
Identifying Intrinsic Issues
To be totally honest, there are not many things we could point to in Articulate and say “that’s a flaw” because the game is very good at being what it is, a party game. Articulate can be played in teams of two but we would say teams of 3 are the minimum and the game really does work best with larger numbers.
Otherwise, the only real hang-up we have for Articulate is that there is nothing for teams to do when it is not their turn other than sit and listen. But that can be really fun, watching one friend desperately try to describe “apathy” to 3 other friends who haven’t a clue can be extremely giggle worthy.
We did mention earlier that Articulate is great for learning/practising English, and we have seen this first hand with our friend’s children as well as our friends for whom English is a second language. However, as with most educational things, the fun can be a limitation if you are trying to learn at the same time. Players with a weaker grasp of English will very likely benefit from this game but may not find the same enjoyment if they are the only non-English speaker playing.
Riotous, Rip-roaring & Replayable
In summary for Articulate, both Dom & Andy would always recommend this as a party game. It makes both an excellent icebreaker for new groups but also a brilliant way to end a dinner party. Dom got his first copy a long while back for a Christmas present, played it the same day and has loved it ever since.
If you are looking for an accessible and immensely enjoyable party style game that you can play over & over, we would strongly recommend giving Articulate a try!