Genre: Social Guessing Party Game
Player Count: 4-16
Play Count as of Review: 47
- Monikers is a fast-paced card game played between teams. There are three rounds and each is played slightly differently. The first round has one player on a team using any combination of words (which can include reading the definition of the word on the card itself) to their team with the team trying to guess it (like Taboo). The second round continues the guessing but players can only give one word per card as a hint (like Codenames). The third and final round is strictly silent as players must act out the words on the cards for their teams (like Charades). Players will see the same cards through each round so they don’t need to worry about guessing the charades of a card that is completely new to the game. Also of note is that most players will be active for each round so someone won’t be stuck just being the charades person but everyone will share in the humility of mimicking Stone Cold Steve Austin’s entrance to the ring.
- Monikers sounds very similar to Time’s Up. That’s because they’re basically the same game based off the public domain game of Celebrities. Time’s Up is more family friendly but I prefer Monikers having definitions at the bottom of each card to help assist players with subjects they may know nothing about. The flipside of that however is that it may reduce creativity and players may just read the description verbatim each and every time and that can sap the fun out of the game for some. I also personally prefer the art style of Monikers over Time’s Up but honestly, it’s dealers choice on which you prefer.
- I really appreciate that the starting deck used for the game is selected by the players so everyone has a hand in shaping the next forty or so minutes. Players can choose something that is difficult to guess or something that has a hidden meaning to other players or just something funny. It also ensures that everyone knows at least something in the deck so they’re not completely flying blind.
- Monikers comes with an absolute ton of cards so there is a ton of variety for players. In addition, there are expansions that add more cards and have the exact same back and card style so they can be seamlessly mixed together without any fear of being able to spot an expansion card from the deck. I will say, there was a time where the same four of us were playing Monikers like every two days (yay Pandemic) and we were starting to see the same cards over and over again but I would like to think we’re in outlier in the normal Moniker gaming world so this shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.
- There are cards that are NSFW included in the game but those can be removed without fear if something is too crass for the playgroup. This is important to note as the box looks incredibly family friendly and the actual action of playing can really be done by almost anyone of any age.
- Besides the cards that are NSFW, there are cards that will be difficult to act out. Without spoiling any cards, you may come across a card that says “Mississippi River” and as the person writing this review of this fictional card, I have no idea how I would charade this card. I’d probably pretend to row a boat but who knows how well that would go over. Charades is not my best skill.
- Like almost every party game, Monikers will be incredibly group dependent. If a player does not like being the center of attention or putting themselves in a position of embarrassment (because they cannot for the life of them think of how to charade a ‘cucumber’ tactfully), the game will definitely drag. You will probably know if this will fly for you and yours before it even reaches the stage of explaining the rules.
- Also, as this is a team game, it really helps to have an even number of players. While the game fundamentally works with an odd number, there is always a player or two that is better at this type of activity than others and seeing them be rewarded by going multiple times over other people (by no fault of their own) can sour the experience.
- Monikers is also basically a trivia game. It will reward players that know certain events or pop culture icons and that may turn people off that are not in tune with those worlds. I will say that I like to step out of my comfort zone and enjoy these types of activities because nothing gets a laugh like your teammate explaining ten well-known movies and you just blanking on an actors name because you only know them from that season of Friday Night Lights or worse, only knowing them by a poorly thought out nickname and not their real name.
- Monikers is probably a top two or three party game for us (particularly over games like Codenames, Camel Up and Secret Hitler) because it’s so portable. It is just a deck of cards and that means games can be played indoors, outdoors, in public, in the kitchen, standing, sitting, during a long drive and more. You don’t need a table and you don’t necessarily need to keep score as the game is really about the fun you’re having each round and not about how many points you accumulated.