Fun and challenging board game for 4 or more players. Each team moves around the board trying to reach the central 'Cranium' area and win the game. On each move, you land on a coloured square which corresponds to one of four types of challenge: Performer, Creative Cat, Data Head, and Word Worm. Performer challenges may be a mime, or humming a tune, Creative cat challenges include sculpting or drawing, Word Worm challenges include spelling long words backwards and Data Head challenges involve answering questions.

This game is fun because it reveals some hidden talents among you and your friends, I was surprised at myself when asked to mime JFK.

Cranium was published by Cranium, Inc. in 2002. This is, as the box says "The game for your whole brain", for 8 or more players.

The object of the game is to get to Cranium Central, which looks like a big purple brain with a red ring around it. To do this, you and your teammates must progress around a board that's shaped rather like a parcheesi board. There's 5 colors of spaces on this board, and there are four different types of challenges to undertake, with the fifth space (a small purple brain, called a Planet Cranium) being a "wild" space.

All 4 teams begin the game on Start, which is a Planet Cranium. The first team to start the game chooses a category (noted below), and the team that plays after them draws a card and reads it aloud to them.

Examples:

  • Data Head (Red):
  • Star Performer (Green):
    • Humdinger: To win this Humdinger, choose a performer from your team who can get you to guess the song on the back of this card by whistling or humming with no lyrics or gestures. I'll pass the card to the performer and then start the timer. James Bond Theme (Monty Norman & John Barry)
    • Copycat: To win this Copycat, choose a performer from your team who can get you to guess the answer by acting like the famous person on the back of this card. The performer can talk like the person but cannot say names of people or places. I'll pass the card to the performer and then start the timer. Porky Pig
    • Cameo: To win this Cameo, choose a performer from your team who can get you to guess the answer on the back of this card by acting out silent clues, just like charades. I'll read the hint aloud, pass the card to the performer, and then start the timer. Hint: Thing. Cocktail Dress
  • Word Worm (Yellow):
    • Spellbound: To win this Spellbound, choose a teammate who can correctly spell the word below on the first try without writing it down. I'll read the word to the speller and then start the timer. Broccoli
    • Zelpuz: To win this Zelpuz, your team must rearrange all the letters in the mixed-up puzzle below to find the answer. I'll read the hint and puzzle aloud, pass the card to you, and then start the timer. Hint: How evolution works. Puzzle: ancestral outline
    • Gnilleps: To win this Gnilleps, choose a teammate who can correctly spell the word below backwards on the first try without writing it down. I'll read the word to the speller and then start the timer. Snorkel
    • Lexicon: To win this Lexicon, your team must determine the correct definition of the word below. I'll read the word and definitions aloud, pass the card to you, and then start the timer. Flout
    • Blankout: To win this Blankout, your team must complete the puzzle below by filling in the blanks with the missing letters. I'll read the hint aloud, pass the card to you, and then start the timer. N _ R_ _ _ _ R _ _ M _
  • Creative Cat (Blue):
    • Sensosketch: To win this Sensosketch, choose an artist from your team who can get you to guess the answer on the back of this card by drawing clues on paper with no peeking, talking, letters, or symbols. The artist's eyes must stay closed. I'll read the hint aloud, pass the card to the artist, and then start the timer. Hint: animal. Pig
    • Sculptorades: To win this Sculptorades, choose an artist from your team who can get you to guess the answer on the back of this card by sculpting the subject in Cranium Clay with no talking or gestures. I'll read the hint aloud, pass the card to the artist, and then start the timer. Hint: place. Saturn
    • Cloodle: To win this Cloodle, choose an artist from your team who can get you to guess the answer on the back of this card by drawing clues on paper with no talking, letters, or symbols. I'll read the hint aloud, pass the card to the artist, and start the timer. Hint: action. Pole vault

The board consists of two tracks, shaped like a cross. The outer track has twice as many spaces as the first, and is called the Scenic Route. The inner route, the Fast Track has only four spaces in each side, and both tracks meet up at four Planet Craniums, spaced on each end of the cross.

The first square is a Planet Cranium. If your team wins a challenge of your choice, then you can roll the die and move to the next space in the Fast Track of that color. However, if your team fails, then you must wait and try again. If you pass on your second turn or later, then your team must take the slower Scenic Route. If the roll takes you past a Planet Cranium, you must stop at the Planet.

Once your team has been around the board, the team is in Cranium Central, where it must complete a challenge of each color, and then a challenge that is agreed upon by an enemy team. If the team completes it all, they win!

Despite what they may look like here, the challenges are very difficult in action. Together with the challenges and the size of the board, a game of Cranium can take only a few turns, but last an hour.

In my experience, yellow has always been the hardest challenge to undergo. (I can't spell "psychology" backwards.) However, the game was still great.

Cra"ni*um (kr?"n?-?m), n.; pl. E. Craniums (-mz), L. Crania (-). [NL., fr. Gr. ; akin to head.]

The skull of an animal; especially, that part of the skull, either cartilaginous or bony, which immediately incloses the brain; the brain case or brainpan. See Skull.

 

© Webster 1913.

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