Dale Yu: Review of Speak Easy!

Speak Easy!

  • Designer:Kasper Lapp
  • Publisher: Lautapelit.fi
  • Players: 3-5
  • Age: 10+
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by Lautapelit.fi at SPIEL 2022

Speak Easy!  is a quick and easy word game. Players speak their own, unique, and utterly incomprehensible nonsense-languages as they try to tell the other players the color and shape of the card they have drawn.  The game will be played over three rounds.

The rules are quite simple. The bulk of the game are the 108 language cards; they come in 3 difficulty levels.  The group decides on a difficulty level and each player is given one language card of that level.  The language card gives you gibberish words for colors, shapes, yes/no, “on top of” and “my name is”.  They also get a player dial.  The symbol cards (deck of 36) is shuffled and the top card is placed on the table.  The symbol cards have one of three shapes in one of four colors on it.

One player is determined to be the first speaker.  They draw a symbol card from the top of the deck, and then they use their language card to say the phrase (new card color and shape) (on top of) (discard pile card color and shape).  You must always say the same thing in the same order.  Luckily, the language card that you have for reference has these words in the correct left to right order on it.

In English, your statement might be “red triangle” “on top of” “blue circle”.

Then, once you’ve said your piece, players have a minute to try to decipher it, and then they use their wheel to guess the color and the shape that they think you have on your card.  Now all of the guesses are scored.  You look at each guess in turn.  Is it correct?  Give them the thumbs up gesture and say the “yes” word on your card.  Now, repeat the correct guess in your language.  The guesser scores points equal to the round.  Is it incorrect?  Give them the thumbs down gesture and say the “no” word on your card.  Now repeat their incorrect guess in your language.  They score no points.  

If no one guessed correctly, your turn continues.  Keep your card, repeat the phase, and have everyone else guess again.  Continue this until at least one player has been able to correctly guess your card.  Whenever this has happened, discard your symbol card onto the discard pile.  It will now the the card that the next player will place theirs “on top of”.  Be sure to keep your language card secret; you will keep it for the whole game.

The next player now takes their turn.  Continue this until all players have had a chance to be the speaker 3 times.  The player who has the most points wins.

My thoughts on the game

Well, this game was sold to me as a whimsical party game at SPIEL 2022, and I definitely can concur that it is whimsical!  The gibberish words on the cards put everyone in the same boat, and the game ends up being a combination of a memory game as well as a little bit of a deduction game.

It helps to play this is a quiet room.  I tried playing this in a busy game room once, and it really failed.  You have to be able to hear what the speaker is saying pretty clearly in order to make a decent guess at things.  Some of the “languages” have pretty distinct words, but others have very similar sounds, and in a noisy room, they would be impossible to work with.

You know the pattern of the words, so if you hear words that sound the same, this will help guide your guesses for the color or the shape.  All of the other words are just noise – in that, you don’t need to know what the words for “on top of”, “yes” or “no” mean..  Just listen for sounds and see if they are similar or not; then guess accordingly.  In later rounds, if your memory is super good, maybe you’ll remember what some of the terms were.  In a 3p game, this was a mild possibility.  In a 5p game, I think there’d likely be too many different languages for me to really remember…

The game does not come with chits for scoring nor a scoreboard.  They recommend using paper and pen to keep track, but we just pass out unused language cards (face down) to serve as point reminders.  In this way, everything you need is contained in the box.

The languages are definitely fun, and the three difficulty levels are progressively harder as you move up the scale.  Some of them are full of gibberish sounds.  

Others use familiar words but can really turn your head upside down.  Best of luck trying to say them correctly.

And… there are a bunch of them that use worse that are familiar from other sources.  For instance, I call this language “Hufflestuff”

If you are in for a lighthearted game, that will likely lead to more laughs than concerns over who wins or loses, this is the game for you.   It is also a great convention game as it is truly language independent… (as everything is meant to be gibberish – even if you get a language that uses English words, you don’t need to know anything about them to sound them out.)

If you’re looking for a new party game; and one that can be played by non-gamers, this one could be a great fit for you!

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
This entry was posted in Essen 2022, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Dale Yu: Review of Speak Easy!

  1. Jacob says:

    Always looking for new party games. It helps if it can be played by older children for me, but this one seems like it’s on the edge. I am wondering: how has OG not covered Planet Unknown yet? Or is someone working on it?

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