Tic Talk: Will It Replace Taboo On Your Game Shelf?

Tic Talk is a party game by Dave Yearick. It works with four to 10 players ages 10 and up and lasts about a half-hour.

Published by Asmodee Editions, Tic Talk has a suggested price of $19.99 but can be found for about $13 online.

If you’ve played Taboo, Tic Talk will seem familiar. But it has some twists, too.

How it works:

The players divide up into two teams, orange and purple. Each team takes the timer of its corresponding color, as well as five clue sheets and a pencil.

Each team chooses a writer. The whole team can help the writer, but they need to be quiet, since the other team will be guessing the words written down, a bit like Scattergories.

Someone rolls five dice, which have letters on them and are each a different color.

The colors correspond with squares on the clue sheet in either the position of the first, second, or third letter of a word.

The writers fill in the squares with the letter from the die.

The both teams flip their timers and the writer fills in words, using the letter in its appropriate position. They get 60 seconds to write five words, but if they finish early, the turn the timer to its side. (It’s designed so it won’t roll.)

Once both teams are finished or have run out of time, the writers trade lists and become the clue givers. One team is chosen to go first. They flip the other team’s timer and describe the words the other team wrote down. They have as much time as the other team took to write. There are rules for the types of clues you can give, but almost anything except forms of the word and rhyming words are allowed. The team gets a point for each word guessed during the time limit, as well as any blanks the other team left.

Then the other team guesses.

At the end of five rounds, the team with the most points wins.

Why you might buy Tic Talk:

If you like Taboo, you’ll like Tic Talk. The games are similar, but there is enough difference to make Tic Talk worth getting.

It also fixes a couple of problems you might have with Taboo, particularly if you’ve played it a lot.

One of Taboo’s best features is the list of words you can’t say. But it can also cause problems when you’ve got a clue giver who just can’t seem not to say the words.

With Taboo, you’ll also eventually get to know the cards, which gives an advantage to people who have played a lot, especially if they’ve played with each other.

Tic Talk, on the other hand, doesn’t have any forbidden words, but the clock creates the same tension. That makes it a bit more accessible for people who aren’t as comfortable with word games.

It also has an interesting social dimension, since the teams are creating the problem for each other.

There’s an advantage in writing the first thing that comes to your head, since you can stop the clock. But there’s also an advantage in trying to think of difficult words, since they’re harder to guess.

The price is great for what you get.

Why you might not buy Tic Talk:

You need at least four people to play, and it shines at six or eight players.

People who don’t like to play against a clock will be frustrated, and there’s no way to mitigate that.

People with more extensive vocabularies will have a huge advantage in the game, both as writers and clue givers, so you’ll need to make sure your teams are balanced to keep the game from being lopsided.

If you — or the people you play with — hate word games, Tic Talk won’t be the game for you.

My conclusions:

I’m really good at Taboo (I don’t say that about most games), but I sometimes feel bad because if I play with people who aren’t naturally good at it, I can dominate. I don’t like doing that in any game, and in a word game, it can feel like I’m showing off.

Tic Talk has a bit of that problem, but since it’s also based on what other people write and the timer is short, some of that evens out, which I really like.

I love that unless you’re playing with really uninspired people, the words are going to be different every game.

With the right crowd, Tic Talk is really fun. And you’re likely to know who that crowd is, so you can avoid bringing it out with people who won’t have a good time.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of Tic Talk from Asmodee Editions. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.

Consumer Expert Teresa Jackson

I'm a journalist living in Central Oregon. I have two little kids, which for me has meant staying home. And playing board games.

Lots of board games.

I'm also an avid reader and a theology nerd.

You can follow all of my interests and personal quirks on Twitter @teresawjackson and at www.tablebyteresa.com.