Ransom Notes: A Hilarious Word Magnet Party Game | Casual Game Revolution

Ransom Notes: A Hilarious Word Magnet Party Game

Ransom Notes

Time to describe your imaginary friend! Only it might not be so easy because you only have so many words in front of you. Which ones will you use?

Published by Very Special Games, Ransom Notes is an adult party game for 3-6 players in which you must craft answers to a wide variety of prompts with only the limited words at your disposal.


Each player takes a handful of roughly 75 word magnet tiles. You flip all your tiles face-up and facing you. Each player also takes a magnetic board.

Every round, a prompt card is drawn and read aloud. These come in a wide range of topics such as ‘disinvite someone to your wedding’ or ‘send a text to a loved one telling them you’ve been trampled by a donkey’. Everyone then creates an answer for the prompt, using their magnets and creating an answer on their boards.

Next, everyone reads out their sentences, then a judge is picked. You spin the bottom of the box. ‘You’re the judge’ is written on one side. Whoever that side is most closely pointing at after the spin, is the judge for the round. The judge picks his favorite sentence. He can pick his own, but can be overruled by a unanimous vote from the other players. The winner takes the prompt card.

All magnets used that round are discarded and each player grabs a few more magnets to add to their magnet pools. A new round begins. The first player to win five prompt cards wins the game.

Ransom Notes Components


Ransom Notes follows many of the same mechanics as other party games but has enough to set it apart. The way you create your answers is a lot of fun, using the magnets to create funny sentences, and the fact that everyone gets to play every round is special.

Having the judge selected at random each round can be a little unbalanced, as the judge is only going to pick themselves if it’s very, very clearly the best answer, and someone could, by dumb luck, end up with the role several times in a row. However, it’s nice that everyone gets to create an answer, because that’s where the real fun lies in this game, and because all sentences are read aloud before the judge is selected, it does make it easier to gauge whether the judge does in fact deserve to pick his own. Also, it’s most important for a party game like this for everyone to feel involved rather than everything being totally balanced, so it works well.

The magnets are an extremely clever idea and force you to get creative. You can end up making sentences you never would have if you weren’t working within the restrictions imposed on you by the magnets, and these often end up being the funniest answers.

Ransom Notes is an adult game with a rating of 17+. However, how adult or crude the humor gets is very dependent on the players themselves. There are very few words on the magnets that are inherently inappropriate, few enough that you could easily play the game without them, and the same applies to the prompt cards. So, while it is a game designed to be for an adult audience, you can adapt it to what your audience is comfortable with.

The first time you set up the game, it’s going to be long and it’s going to be a pain. There are sheets of the 840 magnets that you have to break apart, and a note warns you to do it carefully so as not to tear them. This takes a fair chunk of time. In future games, setup is still a bit annoying, as each player has to flip all of their 75 tiles face up and facing themselves. It’s more tedious than anything else.

If you enjoy this type of party game, with prompts, answers, and judging, Ransom Note is a fun, clever take on the genre that manages to balance its adult content nicely.

Pros: The adult humor is more based on the players than the components, the magnets are clever and a fun way to write answers

Cons: First-time setup is quite long and subsequent setup is a bit annoying, you want a game group that is all on the same page regarding the adult content

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