Name That! is my favorite tabletop game, but I admit to being a little biased, as I’m one of the designers. Creating Name That! was a family project that we pursued over many years, tweaking this simple game until we reached perfection. We then entered into a licensing agreement with the folks at Intex Syndicate, who have done a wonderful job manufacturing the game and marketing it worldwide. Name That! is now a global phenomenon, having been translated into multiple languages and sold in over a dozen different countries. Here’s what makes this game so great.
It’s easy to learn.
Sometimes learning the rules to a complicated game is a drag. Name That! is simple. The game consists of a deck of cards. Each card has a letter and a category. The deck is placed face up. The dealer reads the category on the top card, and then pulls it away to reveal the next card. The players all try to think of something in the category from the first card, starting with the letter on the second card. Whoever shouts out an acceptable answer first wins, and the card that was just drawn goes to them. You keep playing until all except the last card has been won, and whoever has the most cards wins. It’s very simple, but it’s also a new game every time you play, because after a shuffle, different categories will match up with different letters.
It’s fun for kids and grown-ups.
We created Name That! for grown-ups, but along the way we discovered that it is a great game for kids as well. It’s G-rated (or at least as G-rated as the players’ imaginations allow). Some categories are easier and some are harder, but you can play with the cards that are appropriate for the age group.
It’s creative and educational.
Some rounds of Name That! are lightning-fast, and whoever is quickest will win the card. Other categories and letters are harder, and knowledge and creativity are rewarded. And yes, Name That! is a great way to learn your ABCs.
It leads to fun discussions. (Arguments?)
In the video above, Intex demonstrates Name That! at a toy fair. One of the answers given suggests one of the most fun aspects of the game: the discussions — some would say arguments — that arise when someone tries to skate by with a questionable answer. In the demonstration video, they let it slide, but what do you think? Is Zaxxon an object in space?
It’s travel size.
Name That! fits in your pocket, and it can be played on the move!
An odd number of people can play.
There are lots of games that require two people, or four people, or even teams. Name That! can be played with two, three, four, five or more people. And it’s easy for people to join in mid-game. No long explanation of the rules needed!
Even people who don’t like games like this game.
One of my favorite things to watch is what happens with the person who doesn’t like games when Name That! is being played nearby. When everyone is stuck on a certain letter, suddenly a voice is heard in the silence. People can’t resist shouting out an answer when they know it. Next thing they know, they’re playing. The universal appeal, $10 price, and the fact that they fit perfectly in a stocking makes Name That! a great gift.