Truth Be Told — You’ve been here before

Published by:  Buffalo Games
3 – 8 Players, 45 minutes
Review by:  Greg J. Schloesser

Ever get the feeling of déjà vu – the feeling that you’ve experienced something previously?  A “been there, done that” experience?  The odds are that if you play Truth Be Told from Buffalo Games, you will experience that same feeling.  Why is that?  While a relatively new release, Truth Be Told uses mechanisms and features that are present in numerous party games released over the past several years.  There is nothing here that you likely haven’t already experienced.

Up to eight players may participate, and each receives a marker and an erasable card and paddle.  Each turn, one player serves as the “host”, drawing a “Truth Be Told” card and reading aloud the question.  Each of the 141 cards contains four different questions divided into four colors.  The color being played for a particular game is selected in advance.  Thus, there are enough questions to play the game over-and-over again.

Each question has one important detail omitted, and it is the players’ task to supply the missing word, hoping to either match the answer secretly recorded by the host or fool the other players into voting for their word.  For example, the question could be, “Truth be told, I love to wear ___.”  The host will secretly record his answer – which should be truthful – onto his erasable card.  All other players will also record an answer on their cards.  The cards are gathered by the host, who checks to make sure there are no duplicate answers.  If there are, those cards are returned to their owners and they are asked to record a different answer.  This continues until all answers are unique.  Sadly, it is a fairly common occurrence for several players to record identical answers, so the process of returning and re-recording answers can often be lengthy and unexciting.

The host adds his card and mixes them.  He then reads aloud each answer. Players (excluding the host) each record on their paddle which answer they feel was the host’s answer.  One-by-one players reveal their vote and points are tallied in the following manner:

·         Players get one point for voting for the correct answer
·         The host gets one point for each vote his answer receives
·         A player gets one point for each vote his bluff answer receives

Points are recorded and a new round is conducted, with the role of the host rotating clockwise.  This process continues until one player scores at least fifteen points.  The player with the most points at the end of that round is victorious.

The point of the game is to generate laughter and discussion as answers to the questions are revealed.  There can be some surprises, laughter and even shock when a host reveals a hidden secret about himself due to one of his answers.  Truly shocking answers are rare, with most rounds causing mild amusement and some chuckles.  While it is important for the host to be truthful with his answers, sometimes the more comical moments arise from outlandish answers supplied by other players.

Truth Be Told can be fun and evoke some laughter, but it is rarely side-splitting laughter.  The game does drag a bit due to the duplicate answer rule described above, and “dragging” is rarely a good thing when party games are concerned.  The game’s main drawback, however, is that there is nothing new here.  Games such as Malarky, Balderdash, Say Anything and Out of Context all use very similar mechanisms, and in some cases, to greater effect.  If someone hasn’t played any of these games, then Truth Be Told will likely prove satisfying and entertaining.  For those with more party game experience, however, the game will have an all-too-familiar feel.


4 (Love it):
3 (Like it):
2 (Neutral):
1 (Not for me):  Greg Schloesser

About gschloesser

Greg Schloesser is the founder of the Westbank Gamers and co-founder of the East Tennessee Gamers. He is also a prolific reviewer of games and a regular contributor to numerous gaming publications and websites, including Counter, Knucklebones, Boardgame News, Boardgame Geek, Gamers Alliance and many others. Greg has been a gaming enthusiast his entire life, growing up in our hobby mainly on the war game side. His foray onto the internet exposed him to the wonderful world of German and European games and now nearly all of his gaming time is devoted to this area of our hobby. He travels to several gaming conventions each year and is the co-founder of Gulf Games, a regional gaming get-together held in the Southern USA. Greg was born in 1961 and lived his entire life in New Orleans before moving to East Tennessee in 2005. He is married and has one daughter (now married.)
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2 Responses to Truth Be Told — You’ve been here before

  1. Ryan B. says:

    See, I like Truth Be Told. Your points are all valid, Greg and the game does nothing revolutionary. But I do think it does wrap up existing concepts very tightly to produce a satisfying game.

    I have found myself getting rid of some party games when I find another game that does a similar thing better. I guess that is why Truth Be Told works for me. I also like the box art and title… it seems to me that when friends see the game… they *think* it looks like fun. Oftentimes, for a party game, setting up the proper mood allows people to have fun with it. As I always say, “Fun games start with fun people”.

    I think that Truth be Told sets the proper mood for people to get ready to have fun. And seriously, Greg… you strike me as the type of guy who is always fun to be around.


    Ryan B.

  2. Chuck Waterman says:

    I expect that this game will be easier to play with my Japanese friends (who enjoy practicing English as well as social activities with me) than Say Anything (which has a lot of US culturocentric questions and requires more thought and creativity). The mechanic from Wise and Otherwise/Balderdash/Malarky is appealing to me as well. (trying to convince people that *your* answer is the right one.) yet this game requires a LOT LESS creativity than those do.

    My main concern is what the questions themselves are like. Hope I can get a look at an opened box of the game while I’m in the US next March!

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