Super Scattergories is scatter-brained fun

Super Scattergories
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From the time you hear the beginning swinging tidings of the Super Scattergories’ theme song, you know that you are in for quite a fun and intense ride. Hasbro Interactive has brought the word category board game Scattergories to the CD-ROM platform.

Super Scattergories can be played in a variety of ways. Gaming options include playing solo, Network mode, head to head with another player, or in teams of players. A hints option is given if players would like some help along the way with the game. Don’t worry if you aren’t an expert typist with this game. It only requires players to enter just the first three letters of words (for answers that require words to be typed in). Another fine option is that it recognizes common misspellings of words which will definitely help those of the spelling challenged population.

Scattergories can be played as a Quick Hit round or six rounds of the full game. The Quick Hit consists of a 60 second round. A full six round game consists of two rounds of Basic Scattergories, a round of Scrutineyes, a round of ScatterBrain, Scattered Catergories, and the final round known as Scattergories Knockout.

Rounds one and two of the game throw you into Basic Scattergories. To begin these rounds the player chooses a random Key Letter by hitting the Spacebar. The player then has 60 seconds to go through 12 different categories. The player must come up with the name of an item that fits the category and starts with the Key Letter, like Ocean for "large body of water" if the key letter was O. If, like mine, your brain doesn’t always function as smoothly as normal when you’re feeling the weight of the seconds ticking away, there’s always the Skip option which can be activated by hitting the spacebar.

A nice feature with this game is that if there is time after you answer all the other categories, the game allows you to go back and try to answer the skipped categories. At the end of the round the game gives you possible answers for the categories that you missed. Depending on how the round went, you may find this amusing to see the couple of categories you missed, or more irritating as you see all the correct answers pop up. This round allows the player to become accustomed to having to think under the pressure of a ticking clock.

Round three consists of the Scrutineyes game. You begin by choosing the Key Letter just as in the previous rounds. You are then shown a still cartoon picture. You have 60 seconds to find objects in the cartoon that begin with your Key Letter. The only complaint I have about this round is that they sometimes have very obscure choices for the objects in the pictures that are supposed to represent answers for the Key Letter. Once I missed "horizon" when looking for the letter H. Another time I was looking for A-words and thought a snake was an asp, but I got it wrong because it apparently was an adder. Who knew?

Scatterbrain is the fourth round of this game. This game consists of choosing a Key Letter and then you are given 12 riddles to answer. This round is very similar to rounds one and two except that it is a little trickier. Instead of being given straight forward category clues, you have to think a bit harder and answer riddles. You get the feeling throughout this game that the difficulty levels increase as you progress through the rounds. This is probably a good strategy on the game developers’ part because many people would probably quit early on out of frustration. As you play through the rounds you build up confidence and your brain gets more accustomed to being under pressure.

Round five has been many a players’ downfall as I have observed. This category begins innocently enough with having players choose a Key Letter. The board shows 12 items and the players must match two items on the board that fit into the same category. All pairs of items fit each into their own specific categories. There are 12 pairs of categories which leave some of the items to be uncovered as you pick the initial pairs. That means all 12 of the pairs are not shown on one board, they have to gradually be uncovered as the correct beginning answers disappear to reveal more choices. Players are given 90 seconds for this round.

The final round is Scattergories Knockout. This round gives the player 12 key letters to choose from. A category is given and the player must type in an answer (using the first three key letters of the answer) which begins with one of the 12 key letters. Each time the player types in an answer that begins with a particular key letter, that key letter is "knocked out" and can’t be used again. This is a golden round for those who are particularly good at it because for each correct answer your point totals increase at the rate of one point for the first correct answer, two points for the next, three points for the third, and so forth. One can really make up for lost time (and points) in this round. The only problem is that the scoring might be a bit too heavy in this area. I’ve seen teams way behind the entire game win here, and that is not really all that fair.

Though this might sound a bit odd, Super Scattergories is quite an adrenalin pumping word/category game. For those who love word games this is quite an exciting roller coaster experience compared to the normal leisurely-paced word games you may be used to strolling through. Besides the obvious enjoyable experience of the six rounds of the game, there are a number of other things that attribute to the fun time this game offers.

I enjoy how the game includes short little interludes (almost commercial like) between rounds that feature different letters. One of these even has the letter K in Krameresque mode (from Seinfeld) sliding into a room. The game features bouncy happy music throughout that gets the players feeling motivated and keeps the tv game show feel of this game rolling. At times you get the feeling that this game is something of an IQ test in the sense that it keeps you on your toes and challenges you to think in various modes. I love how this game can be played by one person or teams of players and it maintains the same level of fun. My only complaint is from the Scrutineyes round which gives you the feeling that some of the answers are really stretching it a bit. I give this game 4 1/2 out of 5 GIN gems. I recommend this game to people who love word games, enjoy being challenged, and don’t mind racing to think under the pressure of the clock. It’s a perfect fun and educational exercise for party-goers and families alike.

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