Charades with a Partner: A Review of Double Take

Double Take

Charades is the age-old acting game in which players portray a word or phrase physically rather than verbally. It is so well-known that numerous spin-offs have been created, with varying degrees of success. Double Take, a party game for 3 to 8 players by R&R Games, is one such game. The twist? Two players co-star, trying to get the other players to guess a 2-part word or phrase. One player acts out the first half, while the other player acts out the second.

Gameplay

In Double Take, players take turns being the "Star." The Star chooses any player to be the Co-Star, and the rest of the players are the Audience. The Star and Co-Star draw a card, which contains 6 two-part items (divided into two sides, left and right). The Star and Co-Star decide which sides they will be acting out, then announce the category to the Audience and set the 90-second timer.

While the timer is running, the Star and Co-Star try to get the Audience to correctly guess as many of the items as possible. When an Audience member shouts the correct answer, he or she draws a token. If an actor breaks any of the acting rules specified in the rulebook, an Audience member may call a penalty to earn a point (or lose a point if there weren't actually any rules broken).

After the timer ends, the Star and Co-Star score a point for each correct guess and the Audience members score a point for each token acquired. The Co-Star keeps the card in front of himself — during subsequent rounds, the Co-Star must be selected from among the players with the least number of cards.

Play continues until all players have a certain number of cards in front of them (i.e., they acted as the Co-Star a certain number of times).

Double Take Components

Review

Double Take is closely aligned with Charades thus, it is a game that Charades fans are likely to enjoy. One of the main benefits of the game is that players have the chance to work with a partner, rather than be singled out as in Charades. This makes it more appealing to a bit wider of an audience, particularly those players who are less comfortable being put on the spot alone.

The mechanics and scoring system of the game work well enough to keep everyone engaged, though the game is more effective with more players. The minimum number of players is 3, which is clearly not optimal — two players act and one player guesses, with all players scoring the exact same amount of points unless penalties are called. A group of 5 or more players is recommended to make this game shine.

The 2-part words or phrases are placed on the cards in reverse order, presumably so the actors appear to the Audience in the correct order. However, this did cause some confusion, since the rulebook clearly states that "Actors may never let the audience know who is acting out the first part of the item and who is acting out the second." If the audience doesn't need to know which player is acting which part, it seems like the cards should be presented in the correct order to help the actors better recognize the phrase when it is shouted out.

Most of the cards offer challenging, but doable, items. However, some of the categories are far more difficult than others. For instance, in the Mythical Creatures category, "Big" and "Foot" are easy enough, but how do you act out "Frank" and "N' Stein" or "Humpty" and "Dumpty" separately? There are also categories containing long phrases such as "Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill." These types of categories should be reserved for advanced players, but anyone who draws the card is stuck with it. It might be a good idea to create a house rule to allow players to choose to play either the front or back of a card or to swap a card for a different one a certain number of times.

In the end, Double Take is a fun concept that offers a challenging experience that Charades players will enjoy, but which may frustrate novice players.

Pros: New twist on Charades, partners act together instead of alone, scoring system keeps everyone engaged

Cons: Many cards may be too difficult for novice players, order of words/phrases should be swapped to avoid confusion

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.

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