Pantone: The Game review
The Pantone system is used in industries like publishing and web design to ensure colours are used consistently across creative projects. It’s nerdy, technical – and about the last thing you’d expect to provide inspiration for a family-weight party game. But that hasn’t stopped designer Scott Rogers giving it a try, and the result turns out to be quick, fun, accessible and highly creative.
At its core, it’s a game of restricted communication where you’ll choose a famous personality or fictional character, then try to convey their identity to your fellow players without speaking. Releases like Decrypto, The Chameleon and Concept all challenge players to do something similar. But what makes Pantone: The Game different is the set of tools it gives you as you try to get your message across.
When you open its box, you’ll find a selection of featureless coloured cards. They look more like the colour swatches you might use to decorate your living room than components from a game, but they’re the building blocks you’ll use to communicate with your opponents, and doing it well takes a touch of genuine artistic flair.
Say, for instance, you’re trying to get players to guess “Jean-Luc Picard.” You might start with a couple of red cards to indicate the tone of his Starfleet uniform, then add a yellow one, partially tucked away to leave only a corner visible, representing his communicator device. Finally you might place a flesh-toned card on top, conspicuously declining to add any hair to your creation.
You’ll aim to pull it off within a one-minute time limit, and in later rounds the game adds some extra restrictions making things even tougher. It’s fantastically light, but it still manages to pack a real challenge. It’s just a shame that so many of the objective cards refer to characters from US pop culture, leaving you at a slight disadvantage if you’ve never seen Rick & Morty.
Designer: Scott Rogers
Time: 20 minutes
This review originally appeared in the December 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.