The Bottom Line
- Fast-paced action
- Good game for teams
- Fosters language development
- Not suitable for kids younger than tweens
- Recommended for 18 and up
- Requires 3 AAA batteries
- Contains more than 10,000 words
- For 4 or more players
- Produced by Hasbro
- Available in a music edition
Guide Review - Catch Phrase: Word Game for Kids and Adults to Play Together
Catch Phrase is like charades in reverse on speed. Players are given a word or phrase and must get their team members to guess it. Instead of using pantomime, they use words, avoiding any forms of the word itself. A timer provides a quickening tick-tick-tick, and a buzzer goes off when the pace reaches a certain point. The team in play when the buzzer goes off loses a point.
I fell in love with Catch Phrase when I was a teacher and one of my students brought it to a class party. I bought the non-electronic version, which was all that was available at that time. We quickly learned that, although the manufacturer recommends it for ages 18 and up, younger kids can play. Kids younger than preteen, however, do not know many of the words and phrases. When we played it with a group of our grandparent friends, we also learned that some of us had trouble reading the words, which were in very small print, greatly hampering the fast pace of the game. The electronic version of the game remedies the second problem with larger, easier-to-read words. We worked around the difficulty with kids not knowing some of the terms by allowing them to advance past a word they didn't know until they reached a word they did know. That, of course, eats up some time and makes it more likely that the player will be caught by the buzzer, but it made it possible for us to play with our grandchildren all the way down to age 8.
Catch Phrase has provided hours of enjoyment for my family and friends. It's great fun to watch the panicked reactions of the players as the ticking quickens. Although the game is good language practice for kids, it's not always the people who are the best with language who are the best players. A large factor in the game is the ability to think under pressure. Cool heads and fast talkers usually prevail!