by Amanda Nettgen
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
2 or more
Teen-Adult (although some kids would be able to play)
Cranium Hoopla is a drawing, acting, tongue-tying game that won’t disappoint fans of the Cranium game series. It’s a quick game of fun and laughter.
The game and gameplay
Cranium Hoopla is unique in that when you play, all participants are on the same team. The included instructions are easy and displayed in such a way so there can be a fast referral back to the rules later.
You begin by dealing each player four cards and putting another eight in a play pile. You turn the included big dial to fifteen minutes, and then it’s the player whose birthday comes next that’s up first.
The soon-to-be-older guy or gal rolls the colored die and immediately hits the timer on. Whatever hue the die reads decides the exercise the rolling player must use to communicate what’s pictured on one of their four cards, unless they roll purple, in which case they may pick whichever method they please.
The ways in which you’ll attempt to describe what’s on your cards are called Soundstage, Cloodle, Tongue-Tied and Tweener. With Soundstage, you act out the nature of your card of choice using body motions. Oink or wail if you please, but don’t use any actual words to help your teammates.
Editor’s note: the Amazon price reflects the scarcity of this party game! However, you can find them on eBay for under $10 if you’re patient. Links to eBay listings appear below. If you don’t see Hoopla in the box, simply click any listing to narrow down the search on the eBay site.With Cloodle you make like Picasso regarding what’s on your card, and with Tweener you have to come up with a bigger than/smaller than clue. As for Tongue-Tied – one of the harder exercises – you need to describe your subject using clues of only the same letter (i.e., major musician Memphis = Elvis).
Got a Tweener when you want a Soundstage? Redeem one of your group’s wild tokens to make the switch. Be careful, though, as there are only three trade-ins available per game. If your team’s not getting the answer at all – or you know they won’t in the first place no matter which method you use – you can halt the timer and discard the tricky card. There’s a penalty, of course, of drawing two NEW cards – one for you and one for the play pile.
Everyone wins Hoopla when each player’s personal pile of cards is drained, in addition to the group play pile that everyone draws from after their turn. You must do this within the fifteen minute time limit! If you’re successful, stand back with your fellow players and admire your “Hoopla Hall of Fame” – the spread of correct cards that have been played during the game.
If you “lose” by running out of time during your quest, at least you had a good time playing!
Pros and cons
Cranium Hoopla is good in that it’s a great game for either two players or groups. There’s no hard feelings in regards to a team losing in Hoopla, as everyone is on the same team. It has lots of replay value, as it comes with two full decks of cards. The game even offers suggestions for making the play harder.
Overall, Hoopla is an awesome game for almost anyone. It’s not for people who are afraid of being silly or are overly shy, however.
I would almost rate Cranium Hoopla a 5 out of 5 because of how fun it is. I hesitate because I know it might not be for some people; and also, once you’ve played through all the cards, it might not be interesting to play again. Get it if you want a great group game, couples game, or family game.