Complete Challenges, Answer Questions, and Tease Your Brain in 20 Second Showdown | Casual Game Revolution

Complete Challenges, Answer Questions, and Tease Your Brain in 20 Second Showdown

20 Second Showdown

From tongue twisters to riddles, from singing to thumb wars, 20 Second Showdown throws all kinds of challenges your way.

A party game from Big Potato, 20 Second Showdown has players trying to complete challenges and keeping their side of the sand timer from running out in a tug-of-war of competition.


One player takes on the role of referee, while the other players split into two teams. The referee takes the deck of cards and then takes the sand timer. The sand timer has a blue side and a yellow side, and each round starts with a roughly equal amount of sand in both halves. The blue team takes the blue baton and the yellow team takes the yellow baton.

The round starts and the referee flips the timer, draws a challenge card and reads it aloud. The team whose color is losing sand in the timer must complete the challenge. The player who is currently holding the team’s baton is the one who takes on the challenge — after the challenge is complete, she will pass the baton to another player on the team. Once the referee deems the challenge successfully completed, he flips over the timer and reads another challenge card, which the other team must complete. The faster a challenge is completed, the more sand you save in the timer for your team, while the longer it takes you, the more sand the other team will have. The first team to run out of sand completely loses the round, and the first team to win three rounds wins the game.

Each team gets one help card. If you can’t complete a challenge on your turn, you can flip it to allow the rest of your teammates to help you. However, each team can only use its help card once per round.

Challenges include things such having a thumb war with a teammate, naming five types of chocolate bars, doing simple math or answering riddles, or singing an advertising jingle.

20 Second Showdown Components


20 Second Showdown is a really funny party game. It leans heavily into that sense of pressure you get when up against a short timer. So many of the challenges are so easy, until you pit them against the sand timer and suddenly your mind goes blank. This leads to lots of laughter and a really good time.

The challenges really have a wide range, some are a lot easier than others, but since it’s very much a game that’s just fun to play you don’t really care about a potential imbalance and usually both teams will end up getting both easy and hard challenges thrown at them.

Not all challenges will be a good fit for all game groups. It’s very possible you’ll play with someone, for instance, who doesn’t wish to ‘rub noses with each of their team members’. There are enough challenge cards, however, that as long as you discuss ahead of time what sorts of things people are comfortable doing, you can easily remove these cards or just have the referee skip them when they show up.

One player does have to be the referee, but game time is fast so that it’s easy to play several times and ensure that the same person doesn’t always have to fill this role. However, even the referee role is enjoyable, as it is a party game that’s really funny to watch as well as play. Some groups may choose to skip the referee role altogether, with the opposite team deciding collectively whether or not the challenge was successfully completed.

The sand timer is a great component and mechanism. We loved the back and forth of the sand between both teams. The timer is also nicely built. It’s large and sturdy, and rather than actual sand, it has little plastic pellets that make a distinct noise, which also adds to the tension of the game and makes it quite clear when the time has run out.

We really enjoyed 20 Second Showdown. It plays fast, leads to some silly, hilarious moments, and uses the pressure of time very effectively. A great party game that makes for a great time.

Pros: Timer component and mechanism, fast rounds, funny gameplay

Cons: You may wish to remove some cards, one player needs to be referee (though this role can be enjoyable, too)

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