“Our stylish appendages have pizzazz.” “Ordinary hands? Start a party!” “Hands are sporting party outfits!” Honestly, if these snappy taglines don’t sell you on a finger fancy-dress kit, what will?
Clickbait is, surprisingly, the new party game from prolific tabletop mastermind Reiner Knizia. He of Tigris & Euphrates, Lost Cities and Modern Art fame. Unexpected, but thoroughly welcome.
Like Knizia’s more traditional designs, it’s a basic but promising premise: read a prompt for a wacky product, roll five dice and write an attention-grabbing headline using words starting with the available letters. The dice-roller judges whose answer is best. Pass and repeat, simple and sweet. To top it off, the game comes in a box shaped like a mouse cursor and the component production values are roundly top-notch.
The lift pitch might be a single sentence, but it’s harder than it sounds – those who are more comfortable with picking from a hand of ready-made punchlines might struggle to get their creative juices flowing under pressure. There’s no official rule for how long players have to come up with a witty response, but we’d strongly advise a 30-second countdown once one player finishes if you don’t want things to drag on past the point of fun. The extra limitation also means you can blame your hurried nonsense on the clock, rather than feeling embarrassed that your five-minute effort to perfectly encapsulate a friend made of fruit got zero laughs.
The central idea is entertaining, if a little brain-busting for a party game – it’s plenty tough enough minus the language-jumbling effects of alcohol. Like so many of these types of games, Clickbait’s main shortcoming is repetition. There’s a healthy stack of prompts in the box, but once you’ve seen them, you’ve seen them – even when you have slightly different letters to play with. That each card only features one prompt when it could’ve dropped the accompanying amusing but disposable picture for a second option only serves to cut your time with the game shorter. Like actual clickbait, it’ll grab your attention for a few minutes, but the lack of substance means you’ll likely soon move on.
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Time: 10-30 minutes
This review originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.