Three things happened that made me want to check out The Op‘s newest game, VENN. First, I kept seeing it in my Facebook ads. Every time I’d log on, it would be the second thing in my feed. And since it was a colorful image on a black background, it reminded me of another favorite party game of theirs, Hues and Cues. 😉
Lastly, I could not ignore the banners and demo tables at Gen Con featuring VENN. Even the display cabinet at the entrance to the hall had the entire game spread out for all to see. After I got past the first assumption of “oh no, they’re making another color game that will replace Hues and Cues”, I realized there are no similarities at all. In fact, VENN complements other games in The Op’s line handsomely.
Hopefully, we’re all familiar with Venn diagrams from our middle school math classes. For the uninformed, they are a collection of circles intersecting (or not) to make smaller areas which overlap. These represent items that feature multiple variables. Areas which do not overlap with one another have one matching variable. That’s also the exact premise of the VENN party game.
A game of VENN is set up by laying the three transparent circles in a triangular shape, so they create three areas of overlay of two circles and one area in the center where all three intersect. VENN can be played competitively or cooperatively. If playing competitively, a second set of circles is set out for the opposing team.
A deck of one hundred double-sided art cards is shuffled and approximately one-third is given to each team. The remaining cards are placed in the middle of the play area within reach of both teams. One hundred word cards and fifty number cards are mixed into separate piles. These are placed near the scoreboard, also in the center of the table.
A round of VENN is begun by drawing four word cards and lining them up to the right of the scoreboard. This will assign a number to each word, one through twelve. A clue-giver is selected for each team. They will draw one number card and view it without showing anyone else. This card has three numbers on it corresponding to the three words they must communicate to their team.
To do so, each clue-giver picks up their stack of art cards and begins looking for pictures which relate to the words they’ve been assigned. If a picture has clues for one word, that card can be placed on the wide area of a circle where there are no overlaps. If the clue-giver believes a card represents two of the words, they will place it on one of the three spaces where two circles overlap. Of course, if they find a card which they think perfectly describes all three words, that card will be placed on the center space.
At any time after a third card is played a team member may yell, “VENN”. Play stops while the team who called out gets a chance to guess their words. They will receive one point for every correct answer and a bonus point if they get all three. The other team then gets to guess their words, also receiving a point for each correct guess. But no bonus point for getting them all correct.
Additional rounds are played with new word and number cards, along with a new clue-giver for each team. The first team to earn at least twelve points AND have the most at the end of score calculation for the round wins VENN! If tied, the team who scored the most in the last round wins. The rules do not state what happens when there is a tie for both. So, we assume you’ll just play another round until one team finishes ahead!
VENN is a clever mix of Dixit and Codenames, which works better than you might first think. You’ll find copies direct from The Op on their website, at your favorite local game store, Target, and Amazon. If you’re curious about which new titles are coming that will overlap with your interests, be sure you’re following The Op on Facebook and Twitter!