Take Charades. Now put it on a board. This is the gist of Concept. Players will take turns trying to communicate through figures, cubes and a board that features dozens of icons while the others try to guess what’s being conveyed. This may not sound all that interesting, though it’s more entertaining than its three-second pitch makes it sound.
Play begins with one person drawing a card from the deck. Each card features a series of words and phrases with different point values. Of course, the higher the point value, the harder it is to communicate. With 990 words total, there’s a lot of material to work with.
Once that player has decided on a word, they’ll use the board and accompanying set of cubes and figures to try and communicate their concept. Featuring dozens of icons that communicate such things as phrases, people, shapes, animals and more, you’ll use different pieces to highlight the icons that are relevant to your word or phrase. One of these pieces is a green question mark, which is used to highlight what the primary concept you’re trying to communicate. You’ll also have access to exclamation point figures and cubes of different colours to better convey your concept.
One of the first concepts I got was “The Pink Panther”. For my primary concept, I highlighted the animals icon with the green question mark. Then I used the blue exclamation point to highlight movies and film. Finally, I used a green and blue cube on the pink swatch. Others debated after the fact that there were better ways to communicate my point, but it was guessed way quicker than my wild attempt at “Luke, I am your father”.
After a series of rounds, the player with the most points at the end of the game wins. You can either play this as individuals facing off against each other, or team up when more people are at the table. In both cases, it’s fun to try and piece together the cryptic messages that others are trying to say.
As an alternative to Charades, I really like Concept. Having the board and pieces makes the encoding process much easier to perform for those that may suffer from stage fright. That said, it’s still mostly just Charades, so this is not the meatiest of tabletop gaming experiences. It also might be kind of pricey for this style of game. Still, if you have a desire to try this out, Concept probably won’t disappoint.