A Bad Case of Marble Mouth: Video Review of Watch Ya' Mouth
This latest game craze is not about strategy, components, artwork, or mechanics — it's about pure silliness. But sometimes that's just what you need for a great party or game night.
The idea of a party game involving dental mouthguards (a.k.a. cheek retractors) seems to be a new one. However, several different publishers have jumped onto the bandwagon to produce their own version. Perhaps the most prominent is Watch Ya' Mouth, which was funded on Kickstarter and made popular by this viral video — which, admittedly, caused me to laugh uncontrollably. This game is not to be confused with Watch Yo Mouth (which also claims to be the authentic version) and Speak Out! (Hasbro's copycat version of the game), not to mention several others trying to capitalize on this trend. The whole thing appears to be one crazy legal battle that we would rather stay out of.
As the first and only version of a mouthguard game we have received to date, Watch Ya' Mouth is the game we are focusing on today. This is the kind of game that you have to see for yourself to appreciate — in the video below, we have included an unboxing of the main game and two family expansions, as well as gameplay and a brief review at the end.
To play Watch Ya' Mouth, players split into teams of 2. On each turn, one player on a team acts as the reader and the other as the interpreter. The reader puts on a mouthguard and has 60 seconds to communicate as many cards as possible for the interpreter to guess. Each card that is guessed correctly earns the team 1 point.
Some of the cards in the deck are Bonus cards. These cards are more difficult than the others and are worth 2 points each. They are also the only cards that can be skipped if desired.
A round is completed when all of the teams have had a turn. After 4 rounds, the game ends and the team with the most points wins.
Alternatively, a variant included in the rules allows players to split into 2 teams, with everyone on a team guessing what the reader is saying (instead of just one partner).
Watch Ya' Mouth is a total blast. There is just something so addictively funny about the idea of talking through a mouthguard — which, of course, explains its incredible viral success. Having had braces for many years as a kid, it reminds me of trying to communicate with the orthodontist with my mouth pried open and stuffed full of more dental items than should reasonably fit. Yet, this time it is voluntary and it makes for a great social experience.
The game is professionally produced and comes in a nicely designed box. 10 mouthguards are included, with 4 of them being small enough for kids. The main game and family expansions (not the NSFW expansion) are suitable for family play and can be great fun for all ages — though parents of young kids should be aware that some of the cards include potty words like "poop," "fart," and "barf." Some of the cards contain well-known phrases and tongue-twisters, but a significant amount of cards are also completely nonsensical, which adds to the humor of the game.
Along with any genuinely fun game there are also a few drawbacks, and Watch Ya' Mouth is no exception. First off, it's a good idea to apply plenty of Chap Stick or Carmex before playing to make sure your lips can handle all of the stretching. Even with adequate Chap Stick, however, several of the players complained of sore lips and gums after awhile of playing — mouths are just not meant to be contorted like this for too long. Second, it is easy to go through the included cards very quickly, which reduces the fun for repeated play. If you plan on playing more than a few times, it's a good idea to pick up one or more expansions (either in printed form or using the digital app). Finally, this is the only game I know of with components that must be washed in the dishwasher (or by hand) between plays.
While many people will find the game hilarious, it's admittedly not for everyone — one friend of ours refused to play it altogether, saying, "I hate that game, it grosses me out." Fair enough. But the group we ended up playing it with enjoyed it immensely and we have played it repeatedly with as many people as possible since. The gameplay is simple enough to explain in just a few seconds, which is a huge plus. And, though it is reminiscent of games like Mad Gab, it offers a unique and perhaps even more memorable experience.
If you're not too self-conscious or grossed out by the idea of mouthguards, you really ought to give Watch Ya' Mouth a try.
Pros: hilarious gameplay, easy to learn, memorable
Cons: requires sanitization, may be too weird or gross for some players, expansions are needed for more replayability
Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.