Introduced to me about 3 years ago by Jim, Electronic Catch Phrase is an easy-to-learn and entertaining party game for small to large groups. Game play often involves two teams sitting every other one with each team alternating the phrase guessing as the time counts down. The electronic version is shaped like a small disk and essentially becomes a “hot potato” as each team tries to guess the phrase and pass the disc before the buzzer sounds. Having played hours and hours, we have added a few additional instructions to aid game play and reduce debates for more competitive players.
1) Rhymes. Phrase owner cannot use rhymes that match the phrase or specific words within the phrase. Example:
Restricted: “Animal that rhymes with bake.”
Allowed: “Animal that rhymes with a reptile that slithers on the ground.”
2) Foreign languages. Two options: (a) Phrase owner cannot use non-English languages. (b) Phrase owner cannot use non-English words that have direct matches to the phrase. (Option “a” is my preference.) Example:
3) Adverbs & filler words. Phrase owner cannot use adverbs within phrase prior to guessers having said them first. Words such as “the”, “an”, etc.. NOTE: This is a controversial rule and should be discussed prior to playing. After many discussions, this rule is deemed to be fair because so few phrases contain these words, and since these words are easy to guess, discussing this rule in advance of game play will eliminate arguments. Example:
Phrase: Catcher in the Rye
Restricted: “in”, “the”
Allowed: “Second word: opposite of ‘out'”, “Third word: in blank beginning”
Tips, notes, and general etiquette:
BUZZER NOTE: The buzzer sound does not necessarily mean the point has been lost. The guessing team must hit the Next button and cause the word to change before the opposing team loses a point.
ETIQUETTE: A team must provide at least one clue before passing to the opposing team. This situation commonly occurs when the disc is being passed as the buzzer is sounding. The phrase changed, but the next person did not have time to say anything even though they are holding the disc.
GUESSING TIP: Phrase owners should use “contains n words” earlier in the turn, assuming the phrase does not contain “contain”, “word”, and/or the number. (See Rule 3 above.)
STRATEGY TIP: Many clever beginners will delay the disc handoff in an attempt to shorten the time for the opposing team. Most experienced players realize this is a futile effort. Beyond being unsportsmanlike, this strategy often backfires because the next phrase may be quickly guessed by the opposing team leaving the perpetrating team with less time.