Dale Yu: Review of Broad Lines

Broad Lines

  • Designer: Piero Modolo
  • Publisher: Cranio Creations
  • Players: 3-8
  • Age:7+
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Played with copy provided by Publisher

“A cooperative party game that will draw you crazy!”

In this party game, one player is the Critic, and their job is to guess the word which is being drawn by the Artists.  The deck of word cards is shuffled and the Critic takes a card and places it in a stand, so that only the Artists can see it.  The Critic now chooses a number between 1 and 6 (or uses some convenient common cubic randomizer object), and the number chosen determines which word will be used this round.  If any of the Artists objects to the word (usually this is because you’re playing with kids and they aren’t sure of the meaning), then choose a different word.

Now it’s time for the Artists to go to work.  Starting with the first artist clockwise from the Critic, a transparent sheet is taken, and the artist either draws 2 straight lines or a single curve.  This transparent sheet is then placed on the easel, and the Critic now has two guesses to figure out what is being drawn.  The Artists should  be sure to not try to make any comments themselves about the art as this might give additional unintended clues.

If a correct guess is made, round is over.  If not, the next Artist takes a turn.  Taking another transparent sheet, he must now draw  2 straight lines or a single curve.  He can only look at the easel, he cannot hold his sheet up to make sure that the lines are in the “right” place.  The rules for the lines are pretty straightforward.  The curve rules are a bit more picky, but the curve can’t change direction (i.e. always drawn clockwise or counterclockwise in a single motion); the curve can be closed (thus making a circle or oval).  Once a sheet has been placed on the easel, it cannot be moved.

What do you think this is?

The round ends when the Critic guesses the word.  A correct answer is given if any form of the word is used. Remove all the transparent sheets from the easel and put them in the box.  Keep the word card for your score pile.  Alternatively, if the team gives up (and the correct answer hasn’t yet been given), you still empty the easel, but you also add one extra unused transparent sheet AND the word card from this round to the box.

A hint – it’s from this card

Now play another round, with the job of Critic moving to the next player.  Continue doing this until all 25 sheets have been used (and the Critic gets his usual two guesses at that final word with the final sheet).  Then, compare your score to the chart in the rules to see how well you did – the goal is to have 10+ cards solved in the 25 sheets.

My thoughts on the game

Broad Lines is a simple enough party game with rules that are easy to grasp.  The use of the transparent sheets adds a bit of fun to the mix – as you never know how the lines on your sheet are going to match up with the previously drawn lines… until they are irrevocably placed on the easel!

The word selection is pretty wide, and man, there are some super hard words in the deck (at least in my opinion) – but it’s luck of the draw which word you get… On the same card, maybe you get SPOON or STAIR as an option, but what if you choose poorly and end up with WIND TURBINE or AMBULANCE?

The artists aren’t allowed to discuss plans, so it is critical that everyone knows what the word means.  There are a number of difficult words – two examples I found are HALBERD and GONIOMETER.  If anyone isn’t entirely sure what the word is, just pass and move onto another one.  The game will be difficult enough if everyone isn’t trying to draw the same thing!  You pretty much have to go on a verbal yes/no,  because the Artists surely can’t discuss it because then the Critic will hear the definition… and you can’t draw an example because then all the Artists have seen a picture that they will just copy!

For a party game, this has an ebb and flow of excitement.  As a round concludes, there is often a flurry of laughter (or sometimes disbelief) as we go over the path to the answer.  However, during the round itself, it’s pretty silent due to the rules – no discussion allowed before drawing, and no commenting on the picture during guessing. 

I have found that our success (or eventual failure) often can be determined from the very first transparent sheet placed on the easel.  As each sheet simply adds on to the previously drawn lines, you have no choice but to continue working with whatever the first player started.  If the other artists can’t figure out what the first person was trying to start… it could be a long round!  There are definitely times when the Artists are the ones who start broaching giving up on a round, not the Critic!

I have enjoyed the game so far, and we have definitely had some memorable words in the two extremes – some words that were unbelievably guessed after the first sheet, and some where it felt like the entire object was drawn correctly, but yet the critic couldn’t come up with the right word!  Maybe it’s our art skills, but there have been a few games where 25 sheets didn’t feel like enough.  Though we haven’t tried it yet, one gamer did suggest a variant where we play until we have solved a certain number of cards, say 8, 10 or 12, and count up the sheets that we used – and then try to beat our previous best score.

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.
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