[Note: I received a free copy of this game in exchange for a fair, unbiased review. Due diligence, full disclosure, and all that.]
There are a lot of puzzly games where wordplay is key. In Scrabble, Bananagrams, or Words with Friends, it’s all about forming words and fitting them into grids. In Taboo, it’s all about communicating without using certain words. In Balderdash, it’s all about crafting the perfect definition, either to mislead other players or to demonstrate your mastery of language and vocabulary.
Mad Libs: The Game follows in that grand tradition of wordplay, but instead of forming words, avoiding them, or defining them, this game is about using them to their utmost in order to entertain your fellow players.
Each player starts with 7 Word cards. Each card depicts a word in noun, verb, adjective, or adverb form (or multiple forms, for adaptable words), and these cards are the ingredients for cooking up funny, weird, entertaining sentences in the game.
But what do you do with those cards? Easy! Just like the original fill-in-the-blank stories, you’re going to use those cards to conjure up the best ways to fill the blanks in our Sentence cards.
So each round begins with a new Sentence card and the players choosing Word cards from their hand in order to come up with the most entertaining words to fill in the blanks for this round’s Sentence card. Then everyone reads their completed sentence aloud, and a vote is held where players point to the player with the best completed sentence. That player then wins a point.
The first player to earn three points wins.
Now, this style of gameplay won’t seem revolutionary to anyone who has played with magnetic poetry or indulged in the much-raunchier Cards Against Humanity or one of the many other games in that vein.
But whereas those games tend to traffic in shock value for their humor, Mad Libs: The Game is all about silliness. This is a game that encourages that same level of creativity, wordplay, and surprise, but in a way that’s appropriate for family gameplay. For example, unlike the very adult themes found in CAH, the harshest words in this game are more along the lines of “pierce” or “heartless,” nothing that would raise a parent’s eyebrow.
[Example of a completed sentence:
“Puppies may make the world go ’round,
but it’s flower girls that pay the bills.”]
This is a terrific gateway game for younger puzzlers to get them to not only think about words, but to explore how to use them effectively. It combines humor, storytelling, silliness, and craft to make a good, clean, and most importantly, fun time.
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