Name the Emoticon, Image Sophie Brown, Background Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

‘Name the Emoticon’: An Ideal Card Game for Virtual Get-Togethers

Entertainment Games

What is Name the Emoticon?

Name the Emoticon is a simple flashcard style party game from Bubblegum Stuff—the team behind Weird Crushes. Each card shows a phrase, title, name, or something else that has been “written” using emojis. The other players simply have to guess what is on the card to score.

The game is suitable for two players or more and can take just a few minutes to play up to a few hours depending on how many decks you are playing with and how long you wish to play for. The age suitability will depend on the deck (naturally, the X-Rated edition should be reserved for adult only groups) and how well any young players know the subject.

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Name the Emoticon Components

Each deck contains 56 game cards with the questions printed on one side and the answers on the reverse.

Nine different themes are available so far and these are:

  • Original (Common and famous phrases)
  • Pop Culture (TV shows, films, music, celebs, websites, and sayings)
  • Travel (landmarks, travel phrases, holiday destinations, and flags)
  • Sports (famous sporting events, stars, stadiums, positions, and sayings)
  • Music (songs, record labels, and musical sayings)
  • TV (TV shows, actors/actresses, locations, and sayings from US and British TV)
  • Movie Edition (films, actors/actresses, locations, and sayings)
  • US TV Edition (TV shows, actors/actresses, locations, and sayings from US TV)
  • X-Rated Edition (sex positions, maneuvers, and famous sayings)

The cards themselves are made from thin but entirely standard quality card and are packed tightly into their boxes so there is no wasted space or packaging—in fact, they may actually be packed a little too tightly given how tricky it can be to extract them at times. The boxes themselves weren’t especially strong, you’ll probably notice some damage to the corners in the photo below that occurred when it was shipped to me. However, with a lightweight party game like this that is unlikely to see heavy use, I don’t feel like the lower quality is of much concern.

I was happy to see how large the emoticons are printed on the cards, and the same goes for the answer text on the back. This means that even players who struggle with their eyesight should have no difficulties in seeing what’s on the cards—even via a screen. However, it does mean that some of the emoji images can be rather fuzzy.

Name the Emoticon Boxes, Image Sophie Brown
Name the Emoticon Boxes, Image Sophie Brown

How to Play Name the Emoticon

Setup

Name the Emoticon is a very loosely structured game so setup will be determined by how you want to play. Whether or not you will be sticking with a single dealer throughout your game or passing the role of dealer around, have the first dealer remove all 56 cards from the box and shuffle them thoroughly, making sure all the cards are facing the same way.

The game is now ready to play.

Gameplay

Gameplay is about as simple as it comes in Name the Emoticon. The current dealer takes the top card from the deck and holds it up so that all other players can see the emojis on the card’s front. The other players then attempt to guess what the emojis are trying to represent.

Two Example Cards from the Music Deck, Image Sophie Brown
Two Example Cards from the Music Deck, Image Sophie Brown

Depending on the group’s preference, answers can either be shouted out, players can take it in turns to guess, or a “buzzer” could be brought in. Players could also choose to confer before making their guess. Either way, the players attempt to guess the answer on the back of the card and the dealer can give clues at their own discretion.

Whoever correctly guesses the answer on the card wins that card (assuming the group is playing competitively) and the player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. Should the group be playing remotely over Zoom or similar, the dealer can simply keep a tally of winners.

Verdict

Name the Emoticon is a simple, fast, easy to learn, and easy to understand game that will be ideal for family parties. With a little forethought, it can be played by groups with very different ages present from kids to grandparents, while groups of adult friends will also enjoy playing together.

Two Example Cards from the Movies Deck, Image Sophie Brown
Two Example Cards from the Movies Deck, Image Sophie Brown

One huge positive the game has going for it in 2020 is how easy it will be to play over a video chat like Zoom or Skype. The player who owns the deck can simply hold the cards up to their camera and the others can then either shout out answers or even all write them down then simultaneously hold up answers to their own cameras in response. With the likelihood increasing that many of us will be having virtual celebrations with our families this holiday season, games that can be played through a screen will be top of many to-buy lists over the next few weeks, and Name the Emoticon is an ideal choice.

One problem I have with the game is the same problem that I have with most similar trivia games, which is that once it’s been played a few times, players will begin to remember the answers. With only 56 questions per deck, that will happen quickly so this is more of a one-shot game than a long-term investment. Keeping that in mind, whether $15 per deck is too expensive is something individual families will need to decide for themselves based on their own circumstances.

There were also a few minor issues with the cards themselves. Some names were presented incorrectly such as Cold Play, Radio Head, and, most bizarrely, Iced Tea instead of Ice-T. Every deck had some truly odd choices included too. There were a few answers in each deck we reviewed (Movies, TV, and Music) that nobody had even heard of, mixed in with the blockbusters and chart-toppers.

Two Example Cards from the TV Deck, Image Sophie Brown
Two Example Cards from the TV Deck, Image Sophie Brown

Our final issue was with the inconsistency with how the emojis were used as clues. Some cards were more literal say-what-you-see type clues (“Eye of the Tiger” shows a pair of eyes and a tiger), others gave visual clues linked to the answers (the card for Friends shows a fountain, the Statue of Liberty, and six people—three male, three female) and others went for more thematic clues (The Wolf of Wall Street card features the American flag, a wolf, a stack of dollar bills with wings, and a green square with the Yen symbol and a graph line trending upwards). Because you never knew what type of card you were looking at, you could find yourself barking up entirely the wrong tree when trying to figure out an answer and relying on the dealer to give a useful clue.

All that being said, Name the Emoticon is a fun game that families will no doubt enjoy playing whether in person or through a screen. I would advise picking up multiple decks, if your budget extends that far, in order to mix and match subjects and also to allow for more choices if tailoring your selections to a certain crowd (grandma may not know “Hotline Bling” while little ones are unlikely to guess Casablanca either).

If you need a game to play remotely via Zoom, Skype, or your virtual platform of choice, then Name the Emoticon will be the perfect choice for you this holiday season.

GeekMom received a copy of these games for review purposes.

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