Game review: R&R Games releases 3 fun-packed choices for holiday parties

Posted November 8, 2016

There's nothing like the holidays that bring families together to try some fun, new party games. Three great releases from R&R Games, Hashtag Me!, Ultimate Showdown and Smarty Party, will keep families engaged, laughing and having fun all season long.

Hashtag Me! is an interactive storytelling game for three or more players ages 12 and up. For families who like to tell stories, this is a game to take a look at. One player is designated the storyteller and is given a prompt card. All other players are dealt six hashtag cards.

The storyteller reads the prompt card and starts to tell an anecdote. For example, the prompt card might read, "Talk about a purchase you made that you deeply regretted." As the story unfolds, other players play a hashtag card such as #Lame or #sosad to match the theme of the story.

If a hashtag card is played that is deemed inappropriate, the storyteller issues a challenge and all players vote whether or not it will be allowed. When the story is complete, the storyteller chooses one hashtag card as the best and points are scored. Points are called "followers."

Three followers are awarded to the player who played the best hashtag card. Two followers are given to each player who played an accepted hashtag card. And the storyteller earns a follower for each hashtag card he or she accepts. After the game ends, the player with the most followers wins.

This is a quick, easy to learn game that generates interest simply from the stories people tell. Good storytellers make this game much more interesting. Older folks may have a hard time understanding the concept of a hashtag and how to play their hashtag cards. Younger players should pick this game up easily and enjoy the silly fun.

Ultimate Showdown is a party game for up to eight players about famous people and characters pitted against each other in a battle to decide who will be best at a given challenge. For example, the challenge might be, "Who would make the best boss?" Contenders for best boss are the tooth fairy, Yoda, Genghis Khan, Mickey Mouse and Ben Franklin. Players must decide who would make the best boss.

To start, all players are given a set of betting chips and four contender cards. Over five rounds, players will select a challenge, provide contenders for the challenge, make predictions on the outcome, decide matches and score.

For example, two challenges are drawn. "Who would make the best babysitter?" or "Who would make the worst driver?" Players look at their contender cards and try to figure out which challenge best fits their own cards. Players then cast a vote. The votes come in and "Who would make the best babysitter?" is chosen as the current challenge.

Players then play contender cards from their hand thinking about who would be most likely to win the challenge. After all players have contributed, the matchups are announced. For example: Genghis Khan against Scooby Doo, Luke Skywalker against Yoda, Gandhi against the Tooth Fairy and Medusa against Little Red Riding Hood.

The next step is to try to figure out who will survive to the final round by betting on those contenders who a player thinks will advance past the first match, the semifinals and then the final match. Votes are cast secretly.

Now the individual matches are decided, and every player gets one vote. For best babysitter, Little Red Riding Hood gets four votes and Medusa gets one. Little Red Riding Hood wins and moves on to the semifinals. This continues for each matchup. From those winners, there is a final match. It's a blast to see who comes out victorious. The results can be very surprising.

After a champion is crowned, it's time to score. Remember the betting action a while back? Four points are scored if a player chose the champion. Three points are scored if the contender voted for makes it to the first or second rank. Two points are awarded if a contender won at least one match and a bonus of three points are scored if a player actually played the contender that was crowned champion. The person with the most points after five rounds is the winner.

Ultimate Showdown is awesome. Things can get heated as players try to convince each other why a certain character should win a match. And it feels great for the player who provides the contender that makes it all the way to the final round and wins. This is a game families likely will love and laugh about the whole time while playing it. It is very unique and innovative. Check it out.

Several interesting game mechanics are at play in the game Smarty Party for three to eight players ages 13 and up. Overall, players are trying to answer a trivia question when it's their turn. Right answers will get you a pair of rubber smarty pants to wear and protection from moving forward on the board. Wrong answers propel a players pawn to end of the game.

A board with spaces from start to finish is placed on the table. All players place a pawn of their color on the start space and play begins. One unique goal of this game is to keep your pawn from progressing to the finish. The person closest to the starting space of the game wins.

One player is the reader and reads a trivia question from a card. The card shows the question, how many correct answers are possible and the wager number (the number of correct answers the players must give before the turn ends). The reader can bet for or against the other players' ability to reach the wager number for a positive or negative point.

For example, the question is "Name the most popular ice cream flavors." There are 12 possible answers and the wager number is seven. The readers bets that the other players can easily guess seven flavors of ice cream from the card so he or she bets for the other players.

Play begins by each player, in turn, giving a guess. A correct answer gives a player safety from movement on the board while a misstep awards a player with a penalty chip point (forward movement on the game board). There are seven penalty chips each turn, and when they run out, the round is over. The round can also end if players guess all of the answers correctly.

A timer is included if a player tries to stall when giving an answer. And players can receive multiple penalty chip points. For each penalty point at the end of the round, a player must move his or her pawn forward on the game track to the finish line. The person who last correctly answered a question gets the rubber smarty pants, which can cancel out the highest penalty chip that player has at the end of the round.

Smarty Pants is another innovative and fun party trivia game by R&R Games. The unique way to win the game, the fun rubber smarty pants and the way players play together is exciting and different than most trivia games on the market. There's nothing like taking the smarty pants our for a walk. It's an excellent game for the holidays.



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