Originally published on Casual Game Revolution - December 2nd, 2022
Convey a noun, verb, or phrase with the use of 40 game pieces of various shapes and sizes, while the timer ticks down from 60 seconds!
Published by Big G Creative, Glyphics is a party game for three or more players. It was designed by math teacher Eric Olsen, a first-time game designer who had an idea during COVID lockdowns (you can read his fascinating story here).
Each player takes a card. Each card has four nouns, one verb, and one phrase. Each round, every player will take turns being the clue giver one time. The clue giver will choose one of the unguessed words on his card. He then tells the other players if it is a noun, verb, or phrase; if it is a noun he also says if it is a person, place, or thing. He will then start a 60-second timer and use as many of the game pieces as he wants to try to get the other players to guess his word.
He may move pieces to help indicate actions or nod or point at a player to indicate that they are close or on the right track. He can even switch mid-turn to a different word while the timer ticks down. He cannot use the pieces to spell out any words, and cannot give any verbal hints.
If another player guesses the word, both he and the clue giver earn one point if it was a noun or verb, or two points if it was a phrase. If no one guesses the word, he can choose to try again with that word on a future round or leave it. In every game, there will always be at least one word on your card that you did not use on a turn as clue giver.
After five rounds, the player with the most points wins.
Glyphics is an enjoyable party game that shares some gameplay with other games but pulls it all together into an enjoyable game that feels worth owning in its own right. The pieces you are using bring their own unique challenges and communication options to the game, ensuring that it still feels fresh.
The range of shapes in the game pieces gives you a lot of room for creativity when giving clues. There is even a stand that you can slide another piece into to give your clue some 3D perspective. This flexibility with the shapes helps you convey more complex ideas, which in turn means that there can be a wider range of words on the cards.
We liked that you have some control over which words you’ll be working on while acting as clue giver. There’s a really nice range and the game keeps upkeep simple by giving each player a card that stays with them for the whole game. It also makes it easier to know which cards you’ve already played with.
Game time will also vary significantly based on player count, since each player will add roughly five minutes to the game, meaning that the 30-minute time estimate on the box isn’t necessarily accurate. It can be as fast as 15 minutes if playing with three players, and possibly even shorter as you’re unlikely to always take up your entire 60 seconds each turn as clue giver. We also wish that a timer was included in the game box, since it’s necessary for play.
There is no downtime in this game, which is a nice touch, as you’re either guessing or the clue giver. This is the type of game, however, where the gameplay itself is where you’re really engaged and the score and who is currently winning feel less important.
You might have some similar games in your collection, such as Concept or Imagine, but we’ve also found that we’ve gone through all the cards for both of those. Glyphics introduces a fresh communication system, as the mixture of images and movement you can imply with those images is unique. It is also quite easy to teach, and addictive once you start!
Pros: Easy to separate which cards you’ve already played with, game pieces offer a creative communication system
Cons: There are similar games out there, no timer included in the box, game length can vary from what's printed on the box
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