06 December 2023
Obey the Clay is a family party game, combining a game with modelling clay and Aardman Animation. A great game for a mix of ages, it taps into your creativity in a refreshingly fun way.
What's Obey the Clay?
The first time I met this very noisy sand timer was in 20 Second Showdown. In that game, you flip the timer, read a challenge card for your team to perform in some way (go touch the nearest fern, wheelbarrow someone out of the room, sit on a teammate’s lap and say a certain phrase) which, once complete, meant you could flip the timer over for the opposing team to do the same. The loser is the team that’s charging about the room when the timer goes silent.
Obey The Clay sees the return of the timer and challenge cards, but swaps running around like a lunatic with the more genteel art of making things out of modelling clay. The included lump in the box is very much a proto-Morph yet to be formed – this is an Aardman-themed game after all. Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and a couple of chickens from Chicken Run appear on the box, but inside you’re very much dealing with a DIY Morph situation. You won’t be recreating The Wrong Trousers here, but as many of these animated films take about half a decade to make, that’s probably a good thing for the play time.
This party game comes with not only said lump of clay to create whatever the cards demand (a little nose and face which needs to be stuck to something vertical, a moustache to attach above your lip, some cat ears to hold above your head and say ‘meow’), but some very official looking eyes to insert into your creations.
It’s entirely possible that Aardman have given away the key to their success in this box, especially given how much a pair of sort of startled-, sort of interested-looking eyes can bring life to even your most depressingly limp creations.
How to play Obey the Clay?
Play passes between teams as they flip the exceedingly noisy timer and the Master of Clay shouts challenges to them, which when complete, passes everything over to the other team. It’s simple and silly fun, yet still a lot more contained and controlled than 20 Second Showdown. There’s less laughter, but probably more smirks. Most importantly, everyone can actually play this without having to worry about Motability issues or lack of space.
Making the various faces, characters and props quickly moves from ‘making good art’ to ‘what can I get away with’ – which is funny in itself. The clay does feel ‘professional’ in some hard-to-specify way (although we were left a little bit red handed toward the end of play) and lets you get away with your swan (wonky sausage), moustache (droopy sausage) or sausage (fat snake).
Is Obey the Clay good?
It’s a game that feels ‘creative’ in a way that board games usually don’t. Obey The Clay has a specifically comfortable ask of its players. It’s got the quick-wittedness of a party game, but without the nerve wracking ‘performance’ and the satisfying hands-on feeling of a dexterity game without the tower-toppling failure condition. It’s funny in what the cards ask of you and in the barely-passable things you end up creating. There’s also no downtime really; it’s just as entertaining to watch other player’s terrible creations as it is to create your own.
Obey The Clay is a real family game that works best with a mix of ages at the table. Young players can engage with the speed of play against the timer, while older players get plenty of chances to do stupid things for the amusement of everyone else. It’s perfect for Christmas or family gatherings, but it’s probably not going to work as a filler game for your hobby game nights.
CHRISTOPHER JOHN EGGETT
Should you play Obey the Clay?
For the right mix of player ages, particularly in a family group, Obey The Clay will be a hit. Or indeed, a joyful Morph-like splat.
What games are like Obey the Clay?
While this is a more tactile and engaging ‘can-you-make-it’ game than the classic family scribbler, Obey The Clay is a perfect swap in for the same kind of players.
What's on the Box?
Designer: Big Potato
Publisher: Big Potato
Time: 15-30 mins
In the box:
- 150 Double-sided challenge cards
- 1 Lump of clay
- 2 Sets of eyes
- Large timer