Tags by HeidelBÄR Games – Review

Theme and What is it?

We use words to describe our world around us. These words are called tags. An object can have many tags because there are many ways to label it. Can you imagine if we actually put physical tags on everything? The world would be covered in tiny hanging tags. Well, no need to fear. We can still place tags on everything, we just get to do it in a nice controlled manner with a really fantastic game. 

Gameplay Mechanics

Tags is word association game in which players must say words that are part of a category and which also begin with specific letters. The board is set up in a grid with categories along the top columns and letters along the side rows. In the middle of the grid are large marbles. Players pick up the marbles when they say a word that matches the category and letter for that marble. Each player gets 15 seconds to say as many words as possible. Turns continue until all marbles have been picked up or each player has passed. Points are awarded based on marble color and when players clear a category. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins!

Initial Impressions

I always love a good word game. And good word games that are unique are fairly rare. Tags takes a unique approach to classic word association games with the grid and the marble grab. It makes it interactive. I also enjoyed the fast timer. 15 seconds goes by so fast when you are trying to get your brain to come up with something. The categories are entertaining and have a lot of variety. The games are very quick. We played two right in a row in about 45 minutes. Tags was fun for everyone involved and provided some great laughs.

Game Build Quality

The bottom of the box is also the game component tray and transforms into the playing area. The box is well made and so are the components. The marbles are huge and are lots of fun. The category and letter cards are thin but you don’t do much with them so that is not an issue. 

Artistic Direction

Games like this usually have minimal art, but Tags has some very nice graphics. The box is bright and eye catching. The category labels all have unique graphics based on the category. When the game is all set up there is some very nice color and is nice to look at. I feel that Tags is a set above most other word games when it comes to the art work. 

Fun Factor

Tags should not have any problems offering your gaming group hours of fun. There are lots of categories to choose from. There are also options beyond letters. You play with words that end in “s” and “es”. That adds more depth to the game and increases the replay ability of a game that already has some great replay value. The fast-paced turn structure is lots of fun and keeps everyone engaged in the game. Even when it is not your turn, you don’t have too much time to be thinking of words because your turn comes back around very quickly. Because points are based on marble color, players try to think of the words to snag the most points, but it becomes surprising how hard it is to think of words on the spot with such a short amount of time. It makes for some very fun dynamics.

Age Range & Weight

Tags has an age recommendation of 10+. My personal feeling is that Tags will work best with older players who have a strong vocabulary and feel comfortable with the various categories. We did play tags with a younger player and we had to shuffle through a number of categories that they were not sure they could think of words for. They really struggled with the game and never scored very well. It can be a great way to help younger players learn some great skills, but the timer is so short that they never have enough time to process new thoughts. If you do want to play with younger players to help them increase their vocabulary and critical thinking skills, I would suggest using a longer timer. If you are playing the fast-paced game, I would recommend playing with more mature players. 

Conclusions

Tags is a wonderful party game. Although it says 2-4 players on the box it can easily be expanded beyond that and played with teams. It moves quickly and because people usually say the first word that pops in their head, there is lots of room for arguing about the validity of a word. This is always fun because the arguing wastes part of the precious 15 seconds. Players seem to cave quickly just to try and get on to the next word. I have played Tags with a gamer who I know hates word games, and he loved it. He has even won a few games. That tells me that it is very accessible. If people who dislike word games can play Tags and be competitive and enjoy themselves, then it has something special going on. 
Don’t miss a great gaming opportunity that Tags provides. You and your friends will have a great experience and it will be a great game night. So, brush up on your vocabulary and enjoy a word association game that adds some fun new elements to the genre.

 

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