If you're looking for a good word game for kids and grownups, Catch Phrase may work. However, it is recommended for ages 13 and up and you may need to modify the rules for children below that age.A Catch Phrase Junior used to be available, but it has been discontinued. Still, after Bananagrams, Catch Phrase is a favorite word game for most, if not all, ages.
How to Play Catch Phrase
Catch Phrase is like charades in reverse on speed.
Players are given a word or phrase and must get their team members to guess it. Instead of using pantomime, they use words, avoiding any forms of the word itself. A timer provides a quickening tick-tick-tick, and a buzzer goes off when the clock reaches a certain point. The team in play when the buzzer goes off loses a point.
Adapting Catch Phrase for Different Ages
Kids younger than preteens may not know many of the words and phrases. One workaround is to allow players to advance past a word they don't know until they reach a word they know. That eats up some time and makes it more likely that the player will be caught by the buzzer. But it makes it possible to play with children all the way down to age 8.
The original non-electronic version of the game had very small print, which was a problem for aging eyes that couldn't make out the words easily. The electronic version of the game remedied this problem with larger, easier-to-read text.
Versions of Catch Phrase
The currently-produced Catch Phrase electronic version has 5,000 words and phrases with categories of fun and games, entertainment, everyday life, variety, and the world. You can also find original electronic models for resale.
A Catch Phrase: Uncensored version has 5,000 adult words and phrases, which for the most part are PG-13 rather than as graphic as Cards Against Humanity.
A discontinued Scrabble version doesn't have anything to do with Scrabble. Instead, it has only 1,500 words but they are different from the original version. This can quickly result in seeing repeat words, so it's best to skip this version.
Other discontinued versions include Electronic Catch Phrase Jr., which had 5,000 words for ages 8 to 14. You may still find it for sale used but at a premium price. The Decades version uses words and phrases from every decade from the 1970s to the 2010s. You can pick which decade you would like to play. There is also a Star Wars version, which is strictly for hard-core fans. A Catch Phrase: Music edition focuses on music words.
Fun for All
The electronic version of Catch Phrase has proved durable in spite of being slapped around by during spirited play. At least there's no game board to get knocked around. The electronic version even keeps score for you. It does require batteries, but the battery life is good.
Catch Phrase provides hours of enjoyment for family and friends. It's great fun to watch the panicked reactions of the players as the ticking quickens. Although the game is good language practice for kids, it's not always the people who are the best with language who are the best players.
A large factor in the game is the ability to think under pressure. Cool heads and fast talkers usually prevail.