Competitive Analysis: Celebrity

Creator is unknown, all analog game!

Celebrity is a guessing game centered around guessing “celebrities” or characters – the unique thing about Celebrity is that the players decide the words used in game play. It’s a speed challenge game that is very physically involved because of the charades element (sense game). Each player writes down 2-3 names on pieces of paper and contributes to the pool of characters. This way, players can lean into inside jokes and characters that they think other people in the game will be able to guess. For example, if a group of Stanford students is playing, “Marc Tessier Lavigne” would be fair game!

There are three rounds to Celebrity played with the same teams and same characters. Round 1, players are allowed to use as many words as they want except for words on the paper. Round 2, players are only allowed to use one word to their team, and Round 3, players can only use actions (a charades round). The twist for Celebrity is that because the names are the same for each round, your team should aim to develop inside jokes and references that make it possible to guess in Round 2 and 3. In each round, players are each given 30 seconds to try and have their team guess as many names as possible. Points are calculated by totaling the number of characters each player on each team was successfully able to communicate to their team.

Celebrity is also special compared to other similar games because it is an amalgamation of all the word/phrase guessing games. It combines rounds that are like Phrase Frenzy and Charades into one game, which makes it perfect for a longer party game since you know that there are 3 rounds of game play guaranteed.

We played this game in a group of about 12 people – names contributed ranged from “Benjamin Franklin” to “Courage the Cowardly Dog” and “Thomas the Tank Engine.” Because this game is purely played in physical space, there are not many graphic design decisions that we can pull from when designing our game. There is also a higher level of competition in this game because there are teams, while in similar games like Heads Up, which is a 1 vs. all game and is mainly a collaborative game since points aren’t emphasized (all players try and help the person with the word on their forehead guess the word and the phone is passed around to everyone in the circle).

Because the characters are contributed by players, this ideally curbs offensive characters since the names each person contributes will need to be guessable by the rest of their team, so there is more communal buy-in compared to games where the values are predetermined by the game (if a game’s word bank isn’t curated well, there could be strange or offensive terms included). To make the game more fun, it could be interesting to only let people do one character per play instead of playing for 30-60 seconds and try to get as many as possible, and more players could contribute each round – there are some rounds that did not reach all players since all the names were guessed by the time it went around half the circle.

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