Pros: Fun, board-less board game, great for kids and adults.
About three years ago, as the holiday season approached, I constantly saw commercials for various Cranium games, especially this Cranium Conga game. Since we already enjoyed Cranium Cariboo, Balloon Lagoon, Cranium Cadoo and Cranium HullaBaloo, and I was impressed with both the quality and the fun family time these games provided, I felt that another one would be a good addition to our game collection.
Unfortunately, my children were so eager to play this game that they had all of the shrink-wrap off and the parts out of the box without any adult supervision and one of the parts (the writing implement) was nowhere to be found. I still do not know if it was never in the box, or if my children lost it, but I was quickly able to order a replacement at www.cranium.com for $2.72 (including shipping) and received it a few days later.
The parts included in this game are: a red plastic timer with a secret covered writing area, a box of question cards, a small canister of sculpting clay, a bag of scoring tiles and six holders for these tiles. All of these items fit into a plastic storage tray inside of the sturdy box so that everything should be in its place the next time you want to play.
As with most games that include electronics, you have to supply your own three "AA" batteries before playing. The good news is that the battery compartment is easily opened without the use of a screwdriver. Once the batteries are installed and you have 2 to 6 players you are ready to begin.
Each player gets a red wallet that looks similar to a compact disc case, complete with a plastic circular indentation inside. As you play the game you collect the scoring tiles and the first player to fill the circle within his or her case is the winner.
The directions state that the person whose birthday is next should go first, and that person picks a card from the box and follows the instructions. If it is a question card, the player presses the button to reveal the screen on the timer and writes his or her answer on the screen and if the card requires sculpting, grab the clay. Once the answer is written or you are ready with the clay, close the top of the timer to begin the timer, which plays a Conga-like tune. Each time a player guesses an answer, he or she presses the green "Guess" button and if it is correct, they open the cover of the timer to stop it, otherwise, it gets passed to the next player.
The timer gives players a random amount of time from ten to sixty seconds to guess, so sometimes you need to guess very quickly. The numbers one through four can be found on the front of the timer and these are the scoring lights. When you begin guessing, the number two is lit up, and as more and as the Guess button is pressed more and more on each turn, the light will move to the three and four, but if time runs out, it goes to the number one. When a person guesses correctly, he or she looks at the lit up number and collects that number of tiles to put in the scorecard. In addition, the player who wrote down (or sculpted or acted out) the answer also gets that many tiles. If time runs out, everybody except the player who wrote down the answer and the person holding the timer gets one tile.
There are four types of cards in Cranium Conga:
Data Head Guesstimator - where the question might be "How many tubs of Cranium Clay would it take to sculpt a life-size model of me" or "If you added up all the slices of pizza everybody at this table has eaten, how many whole pizzas would you have?" Of course, nobody will have a definitive correct answer to such questions, but the right answer is whatever the card reader wrote down. With such questions, we give hints such as the number is higher or lower.
Word Worm Mind Reader - where there are fill-in-the-blank statements such as "I wish _____ were an Olympic sport" or "If I had my own airplane, I would fly to ______" Again, there is no definite correct answer, but the better you know the other players, the more likely you will know how they would finish such statements.
Creative Cat Sculptorades - where you are a sculptor and have to create "Something you'd find in a basement" or "The instrument I would play if I were in a band" out of clay.
Star Performer Soundstage - where you act out your answer without any words (though sound effects are permitted) to such topics as "Something mysterious" or "Something I can make for breakfast".
This is a fast-paced game that is fun for children as well as adults. Of course, some leeway must be given to the answers that the players write down or act out, since many are personal or can have quite a number of answers. The variety of answers that can be given to many of the questions makes Conga a game that can be played over and over again, although the 315 cards included will last you many games. Depending on the questions that are pulled from the box, we have had games last as few as give minutes and others that have gone on for forty-five minutes or more. To avoid any problems, the instructions clearly indicate that if two people fill their cases with scoring tiles on the same turn, they are all winners.
Cranium Conga is recommended for ages 8 and up and that is generally a good guideline. My daughter was seven and a half and my son was eight and a half when we first played this game and they had no problems playing this game with mom or dad. The questions on the cards are simple, but reading is required so that very young children could only play if they are teamed up with an adult. Even though it is ideal to have three to six players for this game, my children have played it with just two players, but in those instances, only the person making a correct guess earns the scoring tiles.
Based on the commercials I had seen, this game was on my list of items to purchase, without knowing the cost. I was surprised to see it for only $19.99, and would have expected to retail for at least ten dollars more. Cranium Conga is most definitely worth the price paid and our entire family has had many hours of fun playing it.