Medium is a fun, lightweight party game that emphasizes getting "in tune" with your friends' thoughts. The new card game, published by Greater Than Games, is designed for 2 to 8 people and is focused on word association. The game operates in a similar space to games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity (in which players are given a prompt card and then select an answer from their hand in the hopes of scoring points), but focuses on partners instead of groups and rewards understanding each other's thought process instead of scoring points randomly or going for cheap laughs.
In Medium, each player has a small hand of cards that contains random words like "hammer," "ocean," or "Hawaii." Players sit in a circle and are paired with the player sitting to their left and right. On a player's turn, the player to the left of them randomly draws a card from their hand and places it on the table for everyone to see. Their partner then selects a card from their hand (which they choose as opposed to randomly pick) and places it next to the card. The two players then attempt to pick out a connecting word between the two words on the card. For instance, players could use "shark" if their cards say "hammer" and "ocean." The players then say their connecting word out loud at the same time. If they both say the same word, their minds are in tune and they score points. If they say different words, then they attempt to find a new connector word that links their previous answers, and they can't use the words from their original cards.
Players get three attempts to say the three words and jointly score points if they do. A player's point tally is comprised of how many points they have with their two partners, meaning that one pair can't run away to victory. The game ends when players randomly draw three "crystal ball" cards from their hands, which are shuffled into the end of the deck and keep an element of uncertainty within the game.
Medium also has two optional "ESP Cards" that can be added for some extra strategy. The Clear Mind card allows players to clear their hand, while the Psychic Link allows a player to jump into another team's turn, giving them the option to collect some extra points.
I've often struggled with party games because it's hard to keep a large group entertained and engaged. It's really easy for one or two strong personalities to take over a party game, which leads to some players feeling like they're getting pushed to the background. Medium circumvents this common problem with pairing players together, giving each player an equal chance to win. During our test game, every player had a chance to shine, while everyone else stayed involved by making their own guesses after the fact or laughing along with the wrong guesses. And while Medium players obviously benefit from having a connection with each other before the game, it still works as an excellent icebreaker that helps new friends get an idea about each other's thought processes.
If you're looking for a good party game that is easy to explain and gives everyone equal time to participate, give Medium a try today. The game is available now for $19.95 at local game stores.
Rating: 4 out of 5