Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Turing was a great man. An English Mathematician and Scientist. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and AI, Artificial Intelligence. During The Second World War, Turing helped to decipher German codes and since his death, Turing has had roads, bridges, and now a game named after him.
From designer Glenn Ford (Man O’Kent games), the man behind WBG deck-building favourite Moonflight, Turing hits Kickstarter summer 2021. You can find more information here. We were lucky enough to get a pre-Kickstarter copy to play with and we have had a blast with it.
Turning is such a clever game. It has so many little cogs and gears whirling in the background, for what is essentially just a collection of cards. I feel like Turing himself would be proud of his association to this. And the concept of this, well, it totally absorbed me!
“If a human engages in a conversation with a machine and is convinced the machine is in fact human, then that machine can be said to have exhibited intelligence.” This, as the preview rule book explains, is the basic formulation of the Turing test of AI. It goes on to ask, “what then of the human that fails to convince someone else that they are not a machine over the same test?” The test was introduced by Turing in a 1950 paper and opens with the following, "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?” What a question! And it is one that Turing the game tries to answer. Well, sort of! Welcome to Turing!
The game works very simply. Split into two teams or pick one person to be the responder first. I found it helped to work in teams with younger players and on people’s first turn. One side will be the Interrogator. The other will be the Responder. Place the R and L voting cards onto either side of the table and separate the two teams with the box lid stood up. The team playing as the Responder then takes their voting cards, shuffles them and draws one. This will indicate the ‘Machines’ card, either right or left. They will then flip the top ‘Response’ card which will act as the Guide in this game.
The Responder then draws four Response cards (less for a harder game or more for an easy one) and sets them in a face up row behind the box shield. The card on either the further right or left will be chosen as the ‘Machines’ card as indicated by the card they chose earlier. They then choose one card from the remaining options as their card. They are looking for the card that best represents the Guide card. Either in colour, shape or whatever it is their human brain can find association with!
The other cards are discarded leaving two cards. One chosen by the human player, the other selected at random by the ‘Machine.’ They are given in order to the Interrogator(s) who places the top card they receive next to their own ‘L’ card, and the other next to the ‘R’. This process is repeated three times leaving the Interrogator with four cards on either side.
The Interrogators must then chose which side has four randomly chosen cards and which side was selected by the humans. All the cards are suitably vague, random and ambiguous, making this selection surprisingly difficult. There is no time limit here, but I would encourage that for however long you take at this stage, you are vocal. Let both sides hear and enjoy the debate. Obviously, the Responders must remain silent, but hearing the debate can be hilarious!
You can play in a group cooperatively and all try to come to a common consensus, or let each Interrogator make their own choice. If you chose correctly, you score a point. In co-op mode you need to have a majority decision for the point. The Responders score one point for each correct guess they received from the Interrogators. Swop roles of Responder and Interrogator and go again. You can play to five points or until everyone has had a turn as the Responder once or twice as the game suggests, or for however long you wish too. We had a few games run for hours; it was just so absorbing!
Turing is an fascinating mix of social deduction, guess work, visual analysis, pattern recognition and deduction mixed with just trying to figure out what it was your friends and family were trying to say! It plays very quickly, can be learnt, taught, and played in minutes, but as mentioned above, could be played for hours!
It feels like a party game, but it has some depth and substance beyond the usual fun and silliness that games of this ilk can bring. It is the perfect after dinner game with friends, or weekend afternoon with the family. The game suggests 8 and up but I happily played with my (then) five-year old who loved every minute of it.
There are parts of this game that are familiar in mechanic. But overall, this game felt very fresh to me. There are obvious ties to games like Dixit, but the human vs. machine element makes it stand out. The concept is just so fascinating to me and the results of the actual game are quite shocking! I would love to know the statistics of this game ending with the phrase “I cannot believe you didn’t pick this!” being shouted by one player.
Fans of Dixit, When I dream, and The Chameleon will enjoy this little box of joy a lot. I would recommend this very highly to anyone who enjoys this style of game and is looking for something quick, fun but also a little bit clever to add to their collection.