Friday, February 10, 2012

Back in 2009, Rob Ridgeway had ideas of a game where hearing one word, would have friends break into song using that single word in the lyrics. His dream came true, and “Spontuneous”(spon-toon-ee-as) was introduced at the NY International Toy Fair in 2011.

The game is simple to understand, and can be played by 3-10 players. The rules are simple, each player must first think of 3-5 songs in his head, and then jot down, on the provided “hit-list tablet,” a “trigger-word” from each of the songs. The “trigger-word” must be one word from the actual lyrics to the song, and should be a word that allows you to remember the song.

Next, one player is chosen to be the “Tunesmith.” Players take turns being the “Tunesmith.” The job of the “Tunesmith” is to shout out a ‘trigger-word” from his “hit-list tablet.” After doing so, he immediately turns over a 15 second timer. The first player who is able to sing at least 5 words from any song containing that “trigger-word” before time runs out is allowed to roll two dice and move that many spaces around the “Spontuneous” game board. Remember, the song does not have to match the song chosen by the “Tunesmith.”

If no one begins to sing, or the time runs out, the “Tunesmith” is challenged to see if he can really sing a song that includes that “trigger-word.” If he can, he is allowed to roll two dice and move that many spaces around the “Spontuneous” game board. If the “Tunesmith” fails the challenge, he must roll two dice and move backwards around the “Spontuneous” game board.

The game continues until one player reaches the finish line on the game board. At that time, the player must complete one last “Spontuneous Challenge” before winning the game. There are also “Spontuneous Clef” spaces on the game board, where players are asked to draw a mystery card, and follow the instructions, which may or may not help their progress on the game board.

We decided to test this game at the annual “Toys Bulletin” Christmas party. We had 10 players on hand, and I have to tell you that these folks are real “game” players. We played a total of 5 games over a 2 hour period. Several of the players really knew their music and were rarely stumped, except by the occasional obscure “trigger-word.” Even those who were slow to remember the lyrics to songs enjoyed the game, and occasionally surprised even themselves by remembering a winning song. Laughter was continuous throughout the evening, as some of the better players simply could not sing very well. It was worth losing a round in the game just to hear them butcher a song attempt.

Great fun was had by all, with all ten players rating the game a real winner. “Spontuneous” retails for $24.99.

– RJ Cullen