No matter how great your intentions can be, it can be tough to break the ice at a party with a game. It’s truly hard to please everyone and trying to do so can be a descent into madness. Find something too complex and you’ll befuddle yourself in trying to explain the rules whilst losing your audience to sheer obtuseness; find something too simple and your crew will grow tired of it quickly and wonder what’s next once the novelty wears off.
What is one to do during such a social crisis? Your choices could single handedly land a crushing blow to your standing within your inner social circle, thus ending your tenure as ultimate party host! *Cue game show announcer* “You could play Use Your Words, the party game for funny people and their unfunny friends!™”
In the same vein as You Don’t Know Jack and Cards Against Humanity, Smiling Buddha Games’ Use Your Words is a parlor game that is suggestive and subjective in equal amounts. The goal is to use your wit (or lack thereof) to answer various fill-in-the-blank questions in the hopes that opposing players choose your undoubtedly hilarious punchlines over those of others. Played with up to six people (and up to 1,000 spectators), you log into a site via any web-enabled device to slot in your answer and then vote. If you can’t think of anything particularly amusing you can pick a house answer. The game itself will also chime in with one as well, but if players pick it they lose instead of gain points. The only use for the Joy-Cons is to move any menu options along, which makes for something that is supremely easy to set up.
Each game of Use Your Words is played in various themed rounds before hitting a grand finale. Sub the Title has you watch a clips from foreign films without any context and try and tag your best punchline onto it. Blank-O-Matic has you completing a simple sentence with your cheekiest fill-in-the-blank answer. EXTRA! EXTRA! gives you a suitably questionable photograph to which you must give your sauciest or clickbait-iest headline. It’s all punctuated by Survey Says, which is a three question lighting round in which you have a shorter amount of time to answer.
The presentation is slick, feeling not too far removed from classic game shows of the '60s. Vintage game show music plays as an eclectic and pronounced announcer leads you along to each new round. It helps move each game along, although you can press a button to skip forward if you so desire.
While simple in premise, Use Your Words offers something new each time you play it as the fun of it all is based around everyone’s ability to come up with pithy answers, as well as the secret hope that what you wrote down is enough to get votes which in turn bag you points. While there is an option to make the game family friendly, it’s best played in the company of adults with a healthy sense of humour and a high level of tolerance for potential offensiveness. The amount of content is large, as even after more than a dozen games we only noticed a few instances of repeated gags. It’s not a huge issue as this is a game that is meant to be played in short bursts and the odds are good you’ll play with different people anyways, which just adds new level of jocularity to the mix.
Use Your Words is meant to be as much a conversation starter as it is a game. It’s less about challenge and more about luck, so if you’re only interested in winning you may be missing the point. It’s possible to play online, but it’s at its best when in the company of jovial friends and family members. The amusing appeal of the game may overstay its welcome, but it’s the perfect jumping on point or chaser to the larger games you’re steering people towards at your party.