clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wavelength is one of the best party games we’ve ever played

How well can you think like your friends?

If you buy something from a Polygon link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Clayton Ashley , senior video editor, has been producing and editing videos for Polygon since 2016. He is the lead producer of the tabletop gaming series Overboard.

Party games are a surprisingly hard genre to get right. Of course party games need to be entertaining, yet also quick to learn. Replayability is critical, lest the party guests who’ve played before shoot down the game before it starts. Speaking of guests, it also needs to be playable by large groups while keeping everyone involved.

That’s why Wavelength might be one of the best party games we’ve played. True story, we kept right on playing even after one of our teams was victorious.

The crux of the game is simple. One player, the psychic, gives a clue that exists somewhere between two concepts: rough/smooth, nerd/jock, pop icon/one-hit wonder. Then their team tries to guess where that clue sits on that spectrum.

Wavelength works so well thanks to its special, custom device. The device allows the psychic player to randomly place a target, take a peak at its position, and then hide it. Then their team uses a dial to indicate where they think the clue sits between the two concepts. Placing the dial all the way to the left indicates the most extreme example for the left concept, while turning the dial all the way to the right is the most extreme example of the right concept.

Where it gets tricky is in all the spaces in between. What’s halfway between a ‘sad song’ and a ‘happy song’? How do you give a clue for 75% ‘evil’ on a good-evil scale? While the psychic must remain silent, the other team is free to weigh in. Once the psychic’s team has made their guess, the opposing team also gets a chance guess if their opponents over shot or under shot their guess, so everyone stays involved.

Every round ends dramatically, with the psychic revealing the location of the target. It makes nailing a bullseye an exceptionally satisfying experience. Thanks to the randomization of the target, the hefty deck of concept cards, and the literally limitless amount of clues, the game also stays fresh.

Give our video a watch to see just how much fun we had playing Wavelength. If you enjoy this episode, make sure you subscribe to Polygon’s YouTube channel for more great videos. You can also watch previous episodes of Overboard here.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.