Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Out of the Box Games has taken a series of squiggles on cardboard and turned it into a game. However, rather than being a sort of Rorschach test, this is a game in which a card is drawn and the player has to use the various squiggles to create a picture of the item described on the card. Success is defined when one of the other players guesses what the picture represents, at which point both the artist and the guesser receive tokens. At the end of the game, the player with the most tokens wins.
The game isn’t as straight forward as it seems, and beginning players may want to flip the timer during each round of play to allow themselves more time to figure out what is being “drawn” with the cards. Otherwise the (brightly colored green) timer tends to expire a little too quickly.
In addition to simply using the static images to create pictures, the artist is allowed to manipulate the cards to make a small moving picture, which often goes a long way to help the other players figure out what the picture is supposed to be. This is a particularly important aspect of the game because in many cases the lines on the cards can not be made to line up exactly how the author wants, even with the cards partially overlapping each other.
The production quality is quite good, with the cards having a good thickness which does not lend itself to easy dog-earing, folding or tearing. When the cards are all spread out, it is not always easy to keep track of what shapes the artist can play with, however the back of the instruction card does provide an inventory of all 72 shape cards and players can glance at the organized chart to get some idea about which cards are available and would most likely be able to be incorporated into an image.
The cards are small enough that spreading them out, while it takes up space, isn’t prohibitive. The game can be played on a kitchen table, which allows plenty of space for the cards and for the artist to manipulate them into pictures. The game, therefore, is portable, although the number of pieces (cards, scoring chips, clue cards, timer, die) makes it one which doesn’t travel particularly well despite the ergonomic box into which all the pieces fit.
Because of the way it is played, Squint needs at least three people in order to be played. More players, of course, add to the fun. Depending on the number of players, from three to eight, the game lasts a varying number of rounds, with a round defined as each player being the artist once.Squint is a game which will appeal to those who enjoy artistic games, such as Pictionary, however the pre-drawn cards will be a boon to those who enjoy that game, are creative, but feel they lack the artistic ability to sketch quickly. The game is quick and fun and when the artist is unsuccessful leads to much discussion and Monday morning quarterbacking of the card.