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Lunch » Tags » Toys » Reviews » Parker Electronic Catch Phrase » User review

Catch Phrase by Parker Brothers

  • Sep 5, 2011
  • by
Pros: addictive, inexpensive family/friend fun

Cons: might I repeat it is addictive

The Bottom Line:

"You're sitting so pretty as a part of the catch phrase
I'm tired of breaking out, tired of busting in"

If there is anything I can say bad about my son is that he introduced us to Catch Phrase.   It was only the second day of our week long visit to Denver and we were hooked ... hard.   And we stuck with it hard for the entire trip.  Our flight back to NC arrived at 1am and we stopped on the way home from the airport at WalMart to pick up our own game.  Of course the bad thing about the game is you really need at least four people to play.   Although I will admit Diane and I have played it by ourselves

The game:
It's a cross between Pictionary, Trivia & Charades.   The game itself is a handheld electronic game that is a bit educational as well.   It can also make you look like a world class dummy, which is great fun when playing with friends or family.   It isn't large, measuring 10-1/2" x 8" x 2-1/2" and weighs less than a pound.   It is a nice round shape and easy to handle, which is imperative because passing the game from one person to the other with speed is highly necessary.

There are five buttons on the front of the game: start, menu, next, team 1 & team 2.   Obviously you press the start button to begin the game, then you can select the type of game you want to play from the menu.   There are several categories: entertainment, food, places, sports/games, science/technology, the world, and everything.    Of course it depends on your personal preference, but we have found sticking with the "everything" category embodies all of the other ones and gives the widest variety.  There are over 10,000 words or phrases in the database and as much as we have played it we haven't ran across the same word/phrase again.   We didn't find that true when we selected a specific category, we ran across the same word/phrase often.

Ok, now that you have selected your category, now it is time to set up your teams.  There is one important thing to know, if you have elected to make this a family game and there are various age groups, you must make sure there is at least one adult on each team.   Not that there are suggestive words on this game, it is because there are just some things that younger people may not be aware of.   I'll give you an example ... one of the words I got was 'arithmetic'.   I had my granddaughters on my team and the clue I game was "Reading, Writing, and ... " and they were clueless.  I wasn't aware the term arithmetic just wasn't in the language any longer ... who knew?  So make sure your team has at least an adult on it to balance it out.

A team can consist of two or more players.  You do not sit next to your teammate but alternate seating positions between team 1 and team 2.   The idea is to hand off the game to the opposing team, I'll explain that later.   Once your teams are set up, your category is set, you hit the start button and all hell breaks loose.

It operates on a timer and each time you hit the next button, the timer speeds up.  Once you hit the start button, your word/phrase appears on the screen and it is time for you to hit high gear.   You must describe the word or phrase, without using any part of the word, and get your team to say what it is, just exactly like is shows on the screen.    The rules are incredibly simple.  You can make any physical gesture you want to make, your can use opposites [like if you wanted the word UP you could say 'not down but ...'], but you cannot say your word rhymes with another one.  that's a no-no.   The other major hang up you find all the time, especially with phrases, is finding yourself using part of the phrase by accident. 

For instance, if your phrase is 'Up on the roof', you often find yourself saying the word 'the' as a natural paart of yoru explanation.   If you do, you have to stop the timer immediately and give the opposing team a point.   It happens A LOT.  Of course the idea is to get your team to say your word or phrase as soon as possible, so you can pass that ticking bomb over to the next team.

Now there are a lot of times you get a word or phrase and you say OMG, to yourself or out loud, and just don't know what it is or know your teammates will never figure it out.  If that happens, you can hit the next button one time to get a new word of phrase.  However, you must do that one, no matter how miserable it is for you.  Just remember though, each time you hit that next button the timer speeds up.

The overall idea of the game is to make sure the other team is holding the game when the timer goes off ... bottom line.

The first team to reach a score of 7 points wins the game.   You can get points in a couple of ways.   Of course there is the screw up way, you say all or part of your word or phrase in your description and have to stop the timer, giving the other team a point ... boo!   Another way is to pass the game to the opposing team just as the timer goes off, point for your team.   Of course the bonus for the opposing team is when you are trying to get your team to guess and they fail and the timer goes off while you are still holding the game ... darn it.   Then the other team has one shot to try to guess what you were going for.   If they guess correctly they get two points ... two,
bummer ... but even if they don't guess it, they get one point just because you were holding the dang thing when the timer went off.   

Overall impression:
This game is so addictive it is insane.   when we visited Diane's brother in Florida, we knew they loved to play games so we thought this would be a hit but when I took it out he made one of "those faces" and said, I hate handheld games.    I gave him one of those looks and said You can play this damn game with your sister for a half-hour ... and we did.   Five hours later we were still playing.   When they dropped us off at the airport they stopped at Target and got their own game.  Now they have Catch Phrase tournaments.  See what I mean?

It is so fun though and you learn a lot of stuff, about your own mind and others.  I won't even go into the explanation my 14 year old granddaughter gave for the computer term DSL ... we were SO embarrassed.  It definitely brings out the competive spirit in everyone and it is just a great way, and wonderful way, for a family to spend some time together. 

It is extremely durable too, since my son's bounced across the pavement at the swimming pool while we were trying to toss it off to the next player, and almost went into the pool.   They have had theirs for 3 years and it is still going strong.   We have treated ours much nicer, I still store it in its box when not playing, and it is holding up great.   The AAA battery life used for this game depends on how much you play it of course.  It does shut off automatically after about 5 minutes of not playing, so it saves on the battery.

Now hope out there and pick one up for your own family.  



Amount Paid (US$): 29.95
Type of Toy: Game
Age Range of Child: Whole Family

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September 06, 2011
Sounds like a good purchase to make !
September 18, 2011
it's a great game, I'm sure you will love it
About the reviewer
Susi Dawson ()
Ranked #80
Live your life with the goal to 'pay it forward' and do one good thing for someone else
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About this product


For 4 or more players in teams, Electronic Catch Phrase is the game of 10,000 words and a million laughs. The self-contained electronic unit has words, categories and a timer and scorekeeper. Perfect for taking on vacation. Requires 3 "AAA" alkaline batteries (not included).
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