Spot It! Party: A Symbol Matching Extravaganza

Spot it! Party

Spot It! Party is a new game from Blue Orange Games that expands the popular Spot It! card game to include some new variations of play, a hand mascot, and other additional components. We were recently given the opportunity to dive into the game for the first time, and the results were surprising.

Game Play

The most important game components of Spot It! Party are 55 circular cards, each of which is decorated with 8 symbols. Each card shares exactly one symbol in common with every other card — someday I want to sit down and figure out how to represent this mathematically, but I digress. To play the game, each player is dealt a card and the remaining cards are placed in a stack, face up. Players then try to be the first to identify and call out the name of the one symbol that his card and the card at the top of the stack have in common. The player who does so first may take the top card and add it to his stack, now using this card to compare to the new top card.

If a player identifies the hand mascot on a card, he shouts "Spot It!", takes the card, and also grabs the hand mascot. Whoever holds the mascot at the end of the game earns bonus points. The player with the most points (the number of cards plus bonus points) wins.

The game includes 5 additional mini-games that are also based upon the same pattern matching concept. Most of the mini-games use the hand mascot in some way. There are also 8 card holders included for one of the mini-games, in which a card is placed in the holder to be hidden from other players.

Several cards from Spot It! Party

Review

So, pattern matching is for kids, right? Something you did in kindergarten, right? Not like this. In fact, we were frankly quite surprised at how fun and challenging this game turned out to be. There are a few characteristics of the game that add to the challenge:

  1. The matching symbols on different cards are often different sizes, and smaller symbols are harder to spot with your peripheral vision.
  2. It's not enough to just point to the matching symbol — you must say the name of the symbol. When you're under pressure, sometimes the names of obvious objects just don't come to mind as quickly as they need to. In fact, it would seem that the information must pass through all parts of your brain to scan several visual cues, convert one of them into words, then pronounce those words understandably.
  3. Some of the symbols are actually words. This throws a wrench in your cognitive processes, since words and physical objects are processed a bit differently.
  4. The hand mascot is an alternate symbol with a special purpose, meaning you have to always keep in mind the need to look for it, specifically. The possession of the mascot itself can make or break a win.

We found that it is embarrassingly common for multiple players to sit and mull over the symbols repeatedly, swearing that there are no matches until finally one is spotted. Said players then proceed to kick themselves and cry out in frustration at their own ineptidude at matching everyday symbols. Yes, I was admittedly one of them.

While the game comes with many rule variations, most of them are only slightly different and don't change the game play experience all that much. The included card holders are only used for one of the games, which felt a bit bland. Our favorite mini-games are The Tower (the main version described above) and Hot Potato, a twist on the original rules that offers great competition for 4 or more players.

If quick and loud speed games are your thing, Spot it! Party is a great choice. If you already own the original game, you may not need to run out and buy this version right away, which essentially aims to compete with the bigger-box party games. But if you're new to Spot It!, the party version adds a bit of additional challenge with the inclusion of the hand mascot.

Pros: Super-simple rules, quick play, many rule variations

Cons: Not all of the rule variations have much to offer

Full disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.