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TELEPATHY

Reviewed by Herb Levy

TELEPATHY (LMD Enterprises, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 15-25 minutes; $24.95)

 

If you look at the box, you might think that this is a game about reading minds or transferring thoughts. If you take a closer look you would notice that statement on the box that Telepathy is “a strategy game combining logic, deduction and more”. Although this may sound a bit on the “heavy” side of gaming, it’s not. The game is light and “family friendly”.

Everything comes in fours inside the colorful box: four identical game boards, four Telepathy cards, four card holders and four dry erase markers. Each player receives one of each and prepares for play.telepathy

The game board is an 18 x 18 grid (with number and letter coordinates on the perimeter). Each square in the grid contains a symbol in a colored field. There are nine different symbols and nine different colors. Each symbol and color appear together only four times.

To begin, all players choose one of the squares on the grid (their so-called “Secret Square”). Each player’s card is used to mark the coordinates of that Secret Square (secretly, of course) along with its color and chosen symbol. Once chosen, that square cannot be changed. Now, it’s up to the other players to discover it.

On turn (starting with the youngest player), a player calls out the coordinates, color and symbol of a square, such as C-15, Orange, Circle. If ANY of these four characteristics (horizontal or vertical row, color or symbol) match the opponent’s Secret Square, the opponent must say Yes. Otherwise, the answer is No. Either way, the player has gotten information about where (or where not) the opponent’s Secret Square may be and marks it accordingly directly on the board using those dry erase markers.

The game continues, with players taking turns in clockwise order, until one player is ready to “solve” the Secret Square. That player then announces the precise coordinates, symbol and color of the opposing player’s square. If correct, he wins the game. If incorrect, he loses! (Team play is also possible.)

Production value of the game is fairly high. The coated game boards are thick and sturdy. From a play aid standpoint, the boards are put to good use by leaving room to chart your guesses and the responses they have engendered as well as a helpful reference chart with all the colors and symbols used in the game. The dry erase markers work well as does the eraser provided with the game.

Although the tagline for the game is “If you like Sudoku, you’ll love Telepathy”, the connection between this game and Sudoku escapes me. (Is Sudoku the new “hot” game that attracts buyers? Maybe. Sudoku and Telepathy share a deduction aspect? Perhaps.) Anyone buying this game because they think they’re getting something like Sudoku will be very disappointed. A better comparison would be Battleship meets Clue. The game borrows much from these two game classics as players search for the Secret Square (as opposed to warships) and in the questioning and accusation techniques. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. The combination works. The hard core gamer may be left cold by the game playing possibilities here but, in truth, that is not the target audience. Actually, Telepathy should work well with ages younger than the 12 and up stated on the box and is the kind of game suitable for family play since it plays quickly, is not heavily laden with rules, is colorful and has a familiar feel. – – – – – – Herb Levy


 

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