TL;DR

What is it? A clue-giving and guessing game made sillier, funnier and easier to play.
How many people? 4+
How long does it take? 30 minutes
Who is it for? Parties and groups that want to break the ice and flex their competitive spirit.
Buy it: Available on Amazon

The Gist

Why we recommend it

One of the most frustrating things about Charades – or, Monikers – is an imbalance of knowledge. As a party game, charades usually brings together people of all ages, interests and backgrounds. A problem then follows: no-one knows the same celebrities, films or books.

Sure, you might be able to make your friends guess Emma Stone in a few actions – but I’m not sure my Dad’s remembered the name of any actor or actress that starred in a film after 1985. It leads to awkward gameplay dead-ends.

Obama Llama finds an elegant solution without slashing the core fun of a game like Charades, Monikers or Articulate. Every answer is a celebrity rhyme – ‘Jim Carrey owns a canary’ or ‘Tom Cruise wearing platform shoes’.

While my Dad doesn’t know the plot to Crazy, Stupid, Love or La La Land, he’s heard of Emma Stone – and he knows she rhymes with ‘playing the trombone’.

An ‘Act it’ card

That’s the core hook – hundreds of wierd, whacky celebrity rhymes as answers. There’s tons of these and they’re so odd they get us laughing just by reading them.

Big Potato (the Shoreditch-based designers) have designed three different types of clues: ‘describe it’, ‘act it’ and ‘solve it’. Each feels like a dynamic take on age-old guessing games. It makes the game feel really fresh.

With ‘describe it’ cards, you’re given three unique answers, and you’ve got to use your own words to get your teammates to guess them. For example, if was given ‘Taylor Swift is miffed’, I would say something like:

“The one who just released that god-awful song Look What You Made Me Do. She’s a little bit annoyed, but not too annoyed – the sort of annoyed a british person would be.”

You’ve only got 30 seconds to guess all three. My excessively lengthy clue wouldn’t have done well.

A ‘Solve it’ card

‘Act it’ is just like Charades, but Obama Llama gives you helpful crutch.Half of the answer (the celebrity part) is given away of the back of the card.

For example: I hold up a card which displays ‘STEPHEN FRY’ in big black letters to the guessers. I’ve got three answers to make people guess, all involving Stephen Fry. I act out ‘swatting a fly’, ‘removing a glass eye’ and ‘is a spy’. They’re just challenging enough, and I don’t have to covey the idea of an aging British quiz-show host with my actions alone.

It makes the game a lot simpler, making it approachable for those paralyzed by the idea of acting in front of others in Charades.

‘Solve it’ doesn’t involve you coming up with clues yourself. .These clues are pre-written for you. And, boy are they pre written well.  Without spoiling too much, the best way to convey the clues is to give a few examples:

Beyonce’s husband having a duvet day.
Answer: Jay-Z feeling Lazy.

Cool bounty hunter from ‘Star Wars’ enjoys making music with one other person.
Answer: Boba Fett playing a duet.

They’re the right blend of subtlety, silliness and cultural awareness.

The rhyme-matching playing board, which I didn’t organise into a grid.

You might be thinking, where’s the game though? What’s the win condition? Big Potato put a lot of effort into making this a competitive game if you want it to be.

There’s a memory game at it’s heart. You have to match a celebrity card with the rhyme card: e.g. “Brad Pitt” with “Banana Split”. For every three correct guesses – potentially this is every thirty seconds – you get one shot at the game. The team who has the most pairs when all cards are turned over wins.

I’ve never played like this this.

I tend to use Obama Llama as a casual game for ice-breaking. It’s quite a high-energy game, and I don’t feeling tied to the memory-game mechanic if people get tired or bored with half the cards yet to be turned over.

That’s doesn’t stop Obama Llama from being one of the most requested game at big nights in. It gets everyone talking, laughing and takes no time to explain – especially when you’re just drawing cards at random.

Support Best Play by buying Obama Llama on Amazon. Download the app for a timer, more cards and extras.