I was roaming the aisles of Gen Con this year, looking for little gems released by small publishers. I had a pleasure talking to many of them, but the one that really stood out for me was Michael Kiely, the designer of Twistocity. His story about the creation of his game is a touching one.
Twistocity is a game in which players recite tongue twisters in goofy ways, but more on how you play in a second. I was touched by how he wanted to make a game that could help young people (and adults) who have speech problems. Michael admitted to having speech problems in his youth, and this inspired him to create this game. It’s not every day you hear a game being created to help people. And then add on problems he had with his ex-partner and delays in bringing his game to kickstarter backers, his story was enduring. Well, now his game is finally out, and can be purchased on Amazon.
But how is the game? Let’s find out!
TWISTOCITY (2016; Retail release) Designed by Michael Kiely; Published by Mass Middle Games – for 2 -6 players and takes about 30 minutes to play.
Twistocity is an easy to learn party game in which players will each take turns reciting various tongue twisters provided by Tongue Twister cards. The “twist” in this game is that the non-active players can play a twist card on the active player, which will make things more difficult (but mostly more fun). Every time you recite a tongue twister correctly, you take that card, which will count as a point. The first player to collect five cards (points) is the winner.
There will be 2 piles of cards. A Tongue Twister Deck, and a Twist deck. Every player will start with one Twist card in their hand (and will be able to get more depending on how well they do during the game). The active player must draw a tongue twister card and recites the tongue twister.
…BUT before the active player draws their card, any other player can play a twist card on them.
A twist card is either an action card, or a persona card.
A persona card will alter the way the active player must recite the tongue twister, like speaking like a valley girl, or talk like a game show announcer… things like that.
There are 2 types of action cards. Ones you can play to make things difficult for the active player, by making them do the tongue twister twice,. There are also ones that can be used as a defense, like not having to do a persona, or giving yourself a second chance on a failed tongue twister.
After players have played twists (there can only be one persona out at a time, unless specified by a card), the player must correctly recite the tongue twister. If they succeed, they will keep the card as a point, and draw 2 twists cards. If they fail, they draw only 1 twist card.
To determine if a player has failed a twist or not, the other players must vote on it. A player can fail if there are too many pauses, the pace is too slow or any mispronunciations. But ultimate, it’s up to the non-active players to decide the verdict.
And that’s pretty much it. The first player to 5 points wins.
This is a solid party game! It’s not intense or involved as some other recent ones like Codenames, nor is it trying to be . This is a great casual game that can be played at schools, work and is a perfect travel game to be played on road trips. In fact, on our way back from Gen Con, we played this on the way home.
I’ve also played this with a group of 10 year olds, and it went over extremely well. Lots of laughing involved. I loved hearing my niece trying to speak like a Buff Body Builder, or my nephew trying to talk like a valley girl, saying these tongue twisters. It’s really fun. And the tongue twisters themselves are funny and clever.
But the game is more than just silly fun. It does a great job keeping younger players engaged by learning new words on the tongue twisters, and helping them gain confidence by reciting difficult phrases in front of others. I can’t wait to use this with my middle school kids!
The cards are of good quality. I like the nice, small and sturdy square box too. I also really like the artwork on the cards, and all the different versions of the Twistocity mascot on the Persona cards. Very cool, fun and appealing.
The one thing that I wish was included in the rules is a tie-breaker. Or maybe a more fair way to win. You see, if you have 2 or more really good players, and they never miss a tongue twister, The start player (or who is closest to the start player) has the advantage. Meaning that if one person makes it to 5 twists first, they win, even if the other players have been reciting perfectly too.
So we made a house rule that if one player gets 5 points, then each player should get the same amount of turns. But then if there’s a tie, what do you do? So we made another tie-breaker rule, that had the tied players do a sort of show down, and the first person to screw up a tongue twister loses.
But I do feel like there should be something in the actual rules about it.
However, I think this game was intended to be more of a fun activity (like Apples to Apples), more than a rules heavy game, and that’s fine. It works really well in that regard! Something to pull out at a get-together.
It’s easy to teach and learn, but maybe not so easy to recite the tongue twisters, which is half the fun. I noticed that I had an easier time saying the twisters with a persona card attached than just trying to recite them normally. I don’t know what it is, but the persona cards make them easier for me, and of course, more fun!
Twistocity is a great party/activity game that can be used as a learning tool/confidence builder, or as a casual activity game. Good presentation all around too. This is the kind of accessible family game that you would find at Target (which isn’t a bad thing). This has great mainstream appeal. Right now, it’s available at Amazon, but hopefully soon you’ll be able to find this at your local stores.
(And thanks to Michael for the review copy!)