Guessing games have always been a rich source of group entertainment. Charades and Pictionary are approachable enough that just about anyone can play, but that doesn’t mean everyone always has a good time playing. With very little structure or knowledge of how someone else thinks, it can get downright undignified. That’s exactly the result Concept is trying to avoid by refreshing and updating the classic guessing game. We had a fantastic time playing the game on the latest episode of Overboard with our special guest (and colleague at Eater) Jaya Saxena.
Concept’s changes to the typical guessing game formula start right away. Instead of a single clue giver, two players join forces to dole out clues to everyone else. This makes the game less reliant on figuring out a single person’s way of thinking. You can even draft a third player onto the team if people are struggling to guess the prompt.
The team can’t talk once they’ve drawn their prompt. Instead, they must convey their clues using the game board and Concept pawns. The board is full of simple iconography representing categories like “real person” or “mythological being,” or more conceptual ideas like “fast.”
The clue givers first place the unique “main concept” pawn on the icon that best represents their prompt. For instance, if their prompt is “T-rex,” they’d put the pawn on the Animal icon. But if their prompt is “Jurassic Park,” they’d categorize it as a Movie (or Book). Next, they flesh out their main concept with cubes of the same color to provide more specific information. So for T-rex, they might add Big and Old.
If those details aren’t enough, they can add a “sub-concept” pawn. This represents something that is related to the main concept, but is not the specific thing the team is trying to get the players to guess. So, continuing with the T-rex prompt, the team could place a sub-concept pawn on Mouth, and add details like Sharp/Pointy and Weapon.
Most of the icons on Concept’s board are vague enough that misinterpretations are guaranteed to happen, but the game isn’t rigidly structured. There are no penalties for the team removing or changing the clues they’ve laid out, and the rest of the players can guess as many times as they’d like.
Points are awarded to the team when their clue is guessed, as well as to the player who guesses correctly, but points aren’t really the... point here. Concept is at its most entertaining when attempting a tough prompt — quotes and aphorisms are especially fun to figure out, as you’ll see in our episode above. If you enjoy it, be sure to check out the rest of Overboard on our YouTube channel, and subscribe for more!