Review: Take me Out (board game)
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The sauciest show on tv now has a board game alternative. Here's what our writer, Leo Owen, made of it...
" Make a date with the hottest show on TV! " - the box enticingly says, helpfully reminding us "If they're turned off, they'll turn off".
The rules say the game is supposed to take 20 minutes to play, but after one-failed boozy attempt to interpret the instructions (and no AA batteries – you need three to start playing), it's clear much of this estimated time is taken up by trying to make sense of the lengthy accompanying booklet. Having finally decided to instead play and learn, the three of us begin the first round.
Let the bacon, meet the bab
In round one I'm the single man, "Warwick from Worksop” (game designers favour alliterative names), and chair dance to the drawn-out theme music played after hitting one of the three buttons on the electronic light and sound unit included in the game. Having introduced myself, it's time for me to draw my profession on the plain side of the single girl answer pad - all the while restricted by the short time one of the other two buttons allows me. The two lovely single ladies before me write down their answers to reveal their deductive skills after the music has finished. Correct guesses lead to progressing to the next round and wrong ones to girls having their lights put out using the third button. As one singleton has guessed incorrectly and the other shouted their answer out, Warwick is technically dateless so no-one wins a Fernandos gettaway voucher for a romantic break and the game is over, merely taking five minutes to play.
By the fifth attempt, however, we're well and truly in the swing of things, resulting in a personal best progression of the fourth round. We've guessed professions of single men, chuckling at a child-like clown drawing and rather abstract depictions of a bed taster and sausage-maker who more resembled a squash player and crematorium worker. There's been some amusing mimes of spare time activities in round two and we've met a deep sea diver who's also an amateur cyclist. The random true or false 'facts' we wrote down at the start have finally been put to use in round three. Having questioned her prospective suitor, one of the single ladies has managed to correctly decide whether as a child he aspired to be a famous agony aunt or not.
Unfortunately the final round of fill-in-the-blank is less successful and no match is made. Both ladies incorrectly guess the single gent would balance a rolling pin on his 'cat' when attempting to show off cooking skills rather than on his 'moobs'. A clear case of "no likey, no lighty" but there is at least a game winner who has won two whole Fernandos vouchers – the game's aim is to collect the most Isle of Fernandos vouchers after winning dates.
With three players (the minimum) the game of Take Me Out feels a little lacking – the addition of tea lights and a game DVD would make for more lively play. A loaded dice, favouring pink, means far too long is spent merely deciding who is to take on the single guy role. The “buzzer's” only real purpose is to act as a timer - and the role is somewhat grating - but the closest you get to the show through the inclusion of Paddy McGuiness's voice.
Pictures feel under-used when Tadcaster-based Rocket Games (Freemantle Media Ltd) could have so easily added a "Guess Who?" dimension to the game. Some of the fill-in-the-blank "Power In Your Hand" cards are very presumptuous ("I love Karaoke, my favourite Black Eyed Peas song is...”) and some of the single men's hobbies ("tug-of-war") and job titles (“tic-tac man” - Google tells us this involves communicating odds at the races and the Observer has apparently published an article entitled "How To Be A Tic-Tac Man") are decidedly random. If you know your fellow players really well, it's also much harder to convincingly lie.
Rocket Games seem to have rebranded four games into one; A cross between Pictionary, Charades, Would I Lie To You?, Blankety Blank and one of the many dating board games already out there would be a better way to explain game rules. The 12+ target audience means the game far from resembles the show, lacking its smut (one player was keen to substitute "What I do in my spare time" to the more steamy "What I do In The Bedroom").
Although there's a danger of “more the merrier” becoming tiresome, Take Me Out is perhaps better played with more than three (an astounding 31 can join in the fun). Play certainly had its amusing moments and with a few warm-up drinks, there would have undoubtedly been many more, making Take Me Out a potentially enjoyable option for families holed up together.
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