WBG Score: 8.5
Player Count: 4-10
Published by: Big Potato Games
This is a free review copy. See our review policy here.
Made for the TikTok generation, "You Can't Say Umm" is the perfect game to buy for any outgoing gaming group or young teenage family member, providing them with the materials to create great content! It seems to be part of a slight shift from the type of games Big Potato Games is currently producing – games that are more contemporary and aimed at a younger audience. However, they remain approachable, easy to learn, and fun! I believe these are the main goals for any Big Potato Game production. Let's bring it to the table and see how it plays.
How To Set Up You Can't Say Umm
Split into two teams and sit together in groups, ideally. If you have an odd number of players, one player can act as the referee, which can still be a fun role, especially for someone who enjoys punishing their friends! One team will take the pink scoring marker, while the other team takes the black one. Place these markers on the score board in the starting position. Deal six rule cards to each team. As a group, decide which three rule cards you want to give to the other team and discard the remaining three. Then, without looking at the new cards, each team will pass their chosen three cards to the opposing team. Place these cards face down in front of your team. Lay out the cards labeled stack A and stack B face down, and have the first player from the starting team draw one card from each pile. The other team will take the egg timer and dinger. Flip the timer, and the game begins.
How To Play You Can't Say Umm
The player going first is the describer. They must look at the two words on the cards they drew and describe them to their team in any way possible without using the words on the cards. If they pause, stutter, or say "um" or "err" at any point, the other team can ding the bell, and they will score a point. If the describer can get their team to correctly guess the two words together in the right order, they will score a point. The describer can go through as many of the two-card words as possible within the 45 seconds. Then play passes to the other team. When describing, there is no passing on any cards, although I would suggest allowing this if playing with younger players.
As you move up the score tracker, you will reach yellow spaces. When you do, you must flip the corresponding rule card, previously placed in front of your team, face down. For the rest of the game, the players on this team must obey this new rule. It could be a new word you cannot say or a letter that your team can no longer use at the beginning of any words. Any time this new rule is broken, the bell is rung, and a point is scored by the opposing team.
The final stages of the scoring track display exclamation marks, indicating the danger zone. When your score marker is in the danger zone, no member of your team can say "umm" or "err," even when guessing. This serves as a great catch-up mechanic that allows a team that is far behind to quickly and easily catch up to the leading team. The first team to reach the end of the scoring track wins.
Is It Fun? You Can't Say Umm Board Game Review
This game guarantees laughter! Everyone tends to say "umm" and "err," especially under time pressure. In this game, points are awarded to the opposing team when someone makes these slips, and it happens frequently. The result is nothing short of hysterics from all involved. I have yet to play a game where the entire group hasn't been brought to tears of laughter multiple times. If you're looking for a party game that generates laughter, this is the one to get!
Now, it won't be for everyone. Those who dislike being put under time pressure in front of others may find this game challenging. However, they can always take on the role of the referee and still feel involved. For younger players, you might want to allow passing and give them a little more time. Other than that, I found that this game works well for ages 10 and up. Although, I should warn you that younger children may struggle with being in the spotlight if they feel they have failed or let their team down.
However, with a group of adults who enjoy this type of game, I can't think of much else I'd rather play at a party. It's like a modern-day version of Articulate with some silly twists added. And it's those twists that will keep you coming back for more, game after game.
There are a lot of cards in this game, and since you only use six each time, it will take you a long time to see all these rules. They are simple but add enough change to make each session feel different and create a sense of progression in each game. I love how the game gets harder as you progress up the points tracker, leading to a close and tense finish every time. It's difficult for a runaway leader to maintain a significant lead in this game, especially as the game becomes more challenging. The giggles usually take over for most players, making it harder to think straight or even utter a few coherent words within the 45-second time limit.
I would highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a party game that works well with four players and up, and who enjoys having noisy fun with their group. It's the perfect game to play at parties as it includes everyone, both players and spectators. It provides a hilarious spectator experience and allows for quick gameplay, enabling multiple games so that everyone gets a chance to play. While it suggests up to eight players, you can easily play with larger groups. Everyone will enjoy being a guesser, and even if not everyone gets a turn as the describer, it's still enjoyable for everyone regardless of the role they play.