During October and November, I will be reviewing a selection of new games ideal for families during the holiday season. Today’s pick is Reveal. All the games in this series are easy-to-learn, family-friendly, reasonably-priced, and a whole lot of fun, making them perfect for family get-togethers and playable by everyone from kids to your great-grandma. Check out the Games for the Holidays tag for more.
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What Is Reveal?
Reveal is a part roll and move, part trivia game for two to four players or teams aged eight and up whose tag line claims it has “no questions… Just answers”. Players move around the board and try to guess the titles of movies, TV shows, and songs from just their initial letters in order to win Medal Tokens. Players who collect 15 tokens race to the center of the board to guess a final title and win the game.
- 70 Double-Sided Movie title cards
- 70 Double-Sided TV show title cards
- 70 Double-Sided Song title cards
- 60 Medal Tokens
- Four Colored Player Tokens
- One Game Board
- One Card Sleeve
- One Six-Sided Die (Numbered up to Three)
Reveal is produced by Paul Lamond Games, who are behind a lot of the sort of mass-market games you’ll find in the toy aisle, so the components are not the high-quality wood and metal you might expect from many of the games we review. Instead, you’ll be getting standard plastic playing pieces, shiny cards, and cardboard medal tokens all housed in a standard plastic insert with a lot of wasted space. This is a shame because Reveal is a truly good game, but the mediocre quality of its components will likely put off more dedicated gamers and also because with a bit of extra effort this could have been produced and packed in a far more aesthetically pleasing (and environmentally-friendly) way.
How Do You Play Reveal?
Place the game board in the center of the playing area and place the Player Tokens into their respective marked starting spaces, one for each person or team in the game.
Shuffle each set of cards and place each deck into a pile at the side of the board, along with the pile of Medal Tokens. Pass the die to the starting player and you are ready to begin.
Reveal is played in turns with each player or team rolling the die, moving, and then attempting to correctly guess a card.
The first player rolls the die and moves their Player Token the indicated number of spaces around the track. The symbol on the square they land on indicates which type of title they need to guess:
- Blue Clapperboard: Movie Title
- Red Musical Note: Song Title
- Yellow TV Set: TV Show Title
- White Question Mark: Player’s Choice
Another player takes a card from the correct stack, makes a note of the title it shows, then slips it inside the card sleeve so that only the first column of letters (marked by the number three at the top) is visible.
The active player then attempts to guess the title hidden on the card; they may have two guesses or 30 seconds to do this. If they guess correctly, they are awarded three medal tokens. If not, the other player slides a little more of the card out of the sleeve so that now, columns three and two are both visible.
The active player then attempts to guess again, once more having to guesses or 30 seconds. If they guess correctly at this stage, they are awarded two medal tokens, and if not, the other player slides the card out one more time so that columns three, two, and one are all visible.
The active player now attempts to guess for the final time. If they can guess correctly, they awarded one medal token, but if not, the other player reveals the rest of the card and the correct answer. Play then moves on to the next player.
If the active player has won any medals during their turn, they place them into the spots in their corner of the player board. Each corner has fifteen medal spaces that need to be filled. Once a player has been awarded all fifteen medal tokens, they can begin moving toward the Winner’s Square at the center of the board.
Player’s reach the Winner’s Square by making their way around the board to the closest red carpet and up it to the center—they do not need to land there by exact count. When a player land’s on the Winner’s Square, the other players decide what kind of title they should guess. A card is selected at random, but instead of beginning with only column three on show, this card is pulled out to immediately show columns one and two. The active player again has two attempts or 30 seconds to guess the correct answer, but if they fail, they do not get to see column one. The answer is revealed and the player must wait on the Winner’s Square until their next turn to have another attempt at winning.
Once a player on the Winner’s Square correctly guesses a title card, they are declared the winner.
Should You Buy Reveal?
Reveal is a deceptively simple game with a premise that sounds much easier than it really is. I predict it is going to be the hit of the holiday season amongst the adults in our family, and the games we have played already have been a lot of fun with everyone laughing or groaning when they can’t remember something. There is little more frustrating than watching another player attempting to guess at a title you’re certain you know the answer to.
While the box suggests that the game is rated for aged eight and up, younger kids will almost certainly need to be in a team to stand a chance at winning. There aren’t too many eight-year-olds who would correctly guess that SPR is the initials of Saving Private Ryan or that HTSAL stands for “How to Save a Life”. That being said, there is a good mix of recent and classic titles in every category so younger team members might be vital to help older players out with titles like Hannah Montana and “Poker Face.”
There are definitely a few things I would like to see improved for the next version of the game. The cards are double-sided, and with no containers to keep the top card hidden from view, titles always need to be selected from the bottom of the pile so something to keep the card stacks hidden would be great, as would the simple addition of printing the artist on the song title cards. We spent a lot of the evening googling who sang the songs we were pulling out because not being able to remember was annoying us.
The biggest change I would make, however, is to the game’s end. While players are collecting medals, Reveal flows smoothly with each player taking their turn and guessing at a card, but once a player is awarded their final medal, this stops. The player now attempting to reach the Winner’s Square doesn’t answer questions until they get there, and should they have just passed the end of a red carpet and end up rolling a lot of ones (the die only includes numbers up to three, so you have a one in three chance of rolling a one every time) this can take a frustrating amount of time. We have also played games where a player slowly making their way to the Winner’s Square is overtaken by a player who started heading there much later but rolled better and ended up winning, a situation that always feels very unfair.
Instead, I would like to see Reveal end once a player has collected all their medals (perhaps ith an increased amount required) or perhaps have the player move immediately to the Winner’s Square after collecting their final medal and guess the final card on their next turn rather than wasting time slowly edging their way to the middle of the board while doing nothing else.
Aside from this, the guessing element of Reveal is a really great mechanic that will have you kicking yourself when a title is right on the tip of your tongue but you just cannot remember it. There’s a great mix of titles in the decks spanning a wide range of genres, so every age group will find titles they will know well (and probably others they have never heard of) which keeps the game relatively fair. The rules are about as simple as they come, too, and with very fast and simple setup, Reveal will be a great after-dinner game during the holidays when everyone is looking to rest up and let their turkey digest.
GeekMom received this item for review purposes.