Now as you may know we are massive game fans in this house. Our shelves are heaving with board and card games of all varieties. Chiswick Daddy loves strategy games best, whereas I have a penchant for word games and family board games. And Chiswick Boy loves chess and mah jong. Plus we know dozens of parlour games that only need pen and paper. Most nights have dinner we'll have a round of a game.
And what we all love as well (and where we agree) is fun, giggly games that we can play as a family. Particularly that we can bring out for a large group at Christmas, or on holiday. Or… well any time really.
So when the makers of a new game, Randomise, asked me to try it out I was uber happy! They sent us a free game to play around with.
If you asked me to describe it in a sentence I'd say it's a mixture of pictionary, charades and taboo, in a deck.
Can you mime an anxious penguin juggling?
One thing I like about this game is that it's a grassroots game, and an example of what people that love games can do if they put their mind to it.
It was “born on a cold winter commute from Brighton to London” and Hazel Reynolds and her husband Chris funded the first run with a kickstarter campaign.
How often have any of us had great ideas for games, and then left the ideas to wilt slowly away? I love the fact that Hazel and Chris had a great idea, and then made it happen.
Can you draw a cold clown climbing a tree?
So you want to know what the game's actually like don't you?
Like a lot of good games it's a pretty simple concept. Three sets of cards: One with actions, one with nouns and one with adverbs/adjectives.
You draw three cards meaning you end up with a random combination: A Nervous Monkey Tapdancing; or a Scared Penguin Climbing a Tree.
Once you have your combination you then either mime it out; describe it or draw it.
You're meant to roll a die to decide whether you mime, describe or draw, but we keep it simple by letting people just choose what they want to do.
Oh, and each card has easy and hard options, which makes it more kid friendly.
Can you describe an Enormous Snail Gardening?
Look – here's a definitely non-Pinterest-ready shot of Chiswick Boy acting out a speedy bird dancing — to the best of my knowledge anyway, it all got a bit blurry as we ended up playing for ages.
And yes, normal people would tidy up before shooting photos to go with a review. Or at least move the weekend papers, and the dirty plate.
Hey – what can I say? We'd much rather play games than tidy up any day…ahem.
What I like about this game is that we often dig out the cards from Taboo, or play give us a clue, at Christmas when we have lots of relations.
We go round the room taking turns, but there's always someone who says 'oh, skip me' because they can't be bothered to get up and act it out.
Randomise caters for all age ranges and tiredness levels, as you can get up and leap about, or just stay sitting on the sofa and describe it. Basically – noone has an excuse to join in. No, not even Uncle Kevin who's had a few too many roast potatoes and is falling asleep on the armchair.
Above is my attempt to draw an Anxious Detective Making Popcorn. And below is goodness knows. I THINK it was a happy lizard getting married. What do you mean you can't tell from my drawing…
Our verdict: simple concept, fits easily in an overnight or travel bag. Good for whipping out on a rainy day in a pub, or after dinner. Great present, if you're buying a family a game for Christmas or a birthday.
Yes, at a push you could just grab the cards out of taboo, or pictionary and make up a similiar sort of game, or just write down some options on bits of paper and stick them in a hat. But isn't it nice to have something well printed, and well presented, that is all in one set.
Thumbs up from us.
Please note, we were sent a free pack of Randomise to try out and review. The rambling thoughts are my own. The cat's ours too.