Posted by: gschloesser | December 20, 2011

Truth Be Told – Review

Published by:  Buffalo Games
3 – 8 Players, 45 minutes
Review by:  Greg J. Schloesser

Ever get the feeling of déjà vu – the feeling that you’ve experienced something previously?  A “been there, done that” experience?  The odds are that if you play Truth Be Told from Buffalo Games, you will experience that same feeling.  Why is that?  While a relatively new release, Truth Be Told uses mechanisms and features that are present in numerous party games released over the past several years.  There is nothing here that you likely haven’t already experienced.

Up to eight players may participate, and each receives a marker and an erasable card and paddle.  Each turn, one player serves as the “host”, drawing a “Truth Be Told” card and reading aloud the question.  Each of the 141 cards contains four different questions divided into four colors.  The color being played for a particular game is selected in advance.  Thus, there are enough questions to play the game over-and-over again.

Each question has one important detail omitted, and it is the players’ task to supply the missing word, hoping to either match the answer secretly recorded by the host or fool the other players into voting for their word.  For example, the question could be, “Truth be told, I love to wear ___.”  The host will secretly record his answer – which should be truthful – onto his erasable card.  All other players will also record an answer on their cards.  The cards are gathered by the host, who checks to make sure there are no duplicate answers.  If there are, those cards are returned to their owners and they are asked to record a different answer.  This continues until all answers are unique.  Sadly, it is a fairly common occurrence for several players to record identical answers, so the process of returning and re-recording answers can often be lengthy and unexciting.

The host adds his card and mixes them.  He then reads aloud each answer. Players (excluding the host) each record on their paddle which answer they feel was the host’s answer.  One-by-one players reveal their vote and points are tallied in the following manner:

  • Players get one point for voting for the correct answer
  • The host gets one point for each vote his answer receives
  • A player gets one point for each vote his bluff answer receives

Points are recorded and a new round is conducted, with the role of the host rotating clockwise.  This process continues until one player scores at least fifteen points.  The player with the most points at the end of that round is victorious.

 The point of the game is to generate laughter and discussion    as answers to the questions are revealed.  There can be some surprises, laughter and even shock when a host reveals a hidden secret about himself due to one of his answers.  Truly shocking answers are rare, with most rounds causing mild amusement and some chuckles.  While it is important for the host to be truthful with his answers, sometimes the more comical moments arise from outlandish answers supplied by other players.

Truth Be Told can be fun and evoke some laughter, but it is rarely side-splitting laughter.  The game does drag a bit due to the duplicate answer rule described above, and “dragging” is rarely a good thing when party games are concerned.  The game’s main drawback, however, is that there is nothing new here.  Games such as Malarky, Balderdash, Say Anything and Out of Context all use very similar mechanisms, and in some cases, to greater effect.  If someone hasn’t played any of these games, then Truth Be Told will likely prove satisfying and entertaining.  For those with more party game experience, however, the game will have an all-too-familiar feel.

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