Absolutely perfect for student halls and other joyfully chaotic venues.
We can all be a bit wary of party games, especially ones as whacky looking as 20 Second Showdown. After all, it might be a bit of forced fun.
And it is. And it’s great. Two teams of varying size, take turns completing funny tasks read out by the (wisely mandatory) judge. There’s a big silly looking sand timer that hisses your 20 seconds away as you have to mispronounce each of your team members’ names in an amusing way, or you have to draw a tattoo on yourself, or hug a nearby fern. It’s an energetic game, perfect for a gathering of young people. Mixed groups, such as when your great aunt plays, might struggle with being wheelbarrowed to the nearest door. There is also a minor drawback in that you do tend to have to rummage through the hosts house to find some items. If this causes you panic… maybe take it to a friends’ house instead. Or cheekily have the more common props nearby so that there’s less faffing.
Despite these very minor setbacks all of the challenges are fun, and well designed. The use of a “judge” in every game (giving it the slightly wonky 5-20 player range) means there is always someone to rule on the outcomes being valid or not. The help cards could be of use for those trickier situations where you’d like someone else on your team to complete your task – and acts as one way to keep things under control.
It’s a game all about doing the silly things on the cards and laughing about it, yet it remains deeply competitive. So, while not ideal for a family game, it may be absolutely perfect for student halls and other joyfully chaotic venues.
CHRISTOPHER JOHN EGGETT
PLAY IT? PROBABLY
Publisher: Big Potato
This review originally appeared in the December 2019 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.