In an ever-growing sea of available party games, it’s hard to stand out. But the game Monikers by Palm Court manages to shine, and provides a great experience that is guaranteed to get people out of their comfort zone! (We also have the Monikers: Schmonikers expansion so some cards in our pictures may not be included in the base game)
Designer: Palm Court
Artist: Alex Hague
Publisher: Palm Court
Genre: Party Game
Play Time: 60 minutes
Number of Logged Plays: 10+
Monikers is a party game that pits two teams against each other to see who can guess the most amount of cards correctly in three rounds. At the beginning of the game, all players will get eight cards and discard down to a set number (this number will vary based on player count) to add to a the playing deck that should consist of around fifty cards. The cards they can select from will include fictional characters, historical figures, celebrities, and pop culture references. Each card has a description on it in case players don’t know what or who the card represents.
During the selection process, players will choose cards that they think their team will guess correctly or cards that they think would be fun to see charades of. The unique thing about Monikers is that the same deck of cards is used for all three rounds of the game. The reason for this is because the rounds will progress and build on one another.
Monikers is played over three unique rounds using the same deck of cards created during the setup phase. Each player will get one minute to give clues to their team. After the minute is up, the correctly-guessed cards are taken out of the deck, and the remaining cards are passed to the next person. The round will continue this way until there are no cards left in the deck. The points will be added up for each team for the current round and then all the cards will be shuffled together again for the next round. The three rounds are listed below:
This round is similar to the game Catchphrase, where players can say anything except for the actual word(s) itself.
In this round, players will have the challenge of describing a card using only one word. The one word can’t be the actual word(s).
The final round of the game takes it up yet another level and has players acting out the cards through charades.
During any of the rounds, the active player can skip any cards they want and continue drawing from the deck. Skipping is actually encouraged so someone doesn’t get completely stuck on one card and keeps the game running smoothly. Once the third round is over, the team with the most points wins!
There are a lot of party games to choose from these days – from card games like Cards Against Humanity or Joking Hazard to more strategic games like Codenames. It’s kind of overwhelming when you’re at the store looking to pick up a good game for a party. One game that has never failed to entertain is Monikers, with its combination of Catchphrase and Charades. It’s a fast-paced and easy-to-learn game, essential traits of a good party game that can captivate anyone.
One thing that I felt was a great decision by the designers of Monikers was the addition of description text on every card describing who/what the card is referencing. This is extremely helpful in the first round as players can just read off of this description if they have no idea what the card represents. In other clue-giving games, many times the clue-giver has no idea what they’re trying to describe. I was quite surprised how many random useless facts I’ve learned from this game just by reading the cards.
Another thing that really sets Monikers apart from other party games is the combination of clue giving transitioning into charades. With two rounds of seeing the same cards, it makes it a lot easier to come up with a charade for each of them. This is really the round that makes this game shine for me as it has created countless hilarious memories. My favorite charade was when a friend started thrusting the air with a disgruntled look on his face. It took us a minute to realize what he was trying to get us to guess, but I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much once we realized what he was doing. The one issue I have with this round is that you eventually get to a handful of cards at the end of the deck that had just repeatedly been skipped because there isn’t an easy way to charade them. So the last portion of the game becomes a memory game for players that have recently seen them.
Since Monikers does involve charades, everyone has to be in the right mood to play the game or it could fall a little flat. Sometimes the charades round just devolves into people shouting out cards they remembered from before even before the person gets a chance to charade it. The mechanism of using the same deck for all three rounds is kind of a double-edged sword in that it makes it easier to do charades, but it also greatly rewards someone that has a good memory and wants to game the system. This could also be done in round two of the game as well, but is a little more difficult to do since you’ve only seen the cards one time at that point. It’s only happened once or twice in the times we’ve played so I’d say it’s more of an exception than a normal thing.
Overall, Monikers has been a big hit every time we’ve brought it somewhere with us. We’ve even had some friends that enjoyed it so much that they went and got their own copy soon after. I’d recommend this game to anyone who enjoys games Catchphrase or Taboo. Each of the rounds builds off of each other very well and creates a slightly different challenge. You can play the game with kids as well, but you’d probably want to remove some of the more risque cards from the game. You’ll also want to make sure to explain that charades are involved in the game because that might be a deal breaker for some people. If you’re fine with charades, pick up a copy of Monikers and strap yourself in because you’re about to have a lot of fun.
Party games are a hit or miss game category for me. Some like Cards Against Humanity are a huge miss, and others like Monikers are huge hit. Normally, the individual rounds on their own would not be enough to make this game a hit. But when you combine all three rounds into one game, it makes it a super fun experience for everyone.
When we first introduce this game to people, many are hesitant about the charades aspect, myself included. I’m not extroverted enough to play charades, but Monikers makes it so much easier and enjoyable. Because you have two rounds previously running through the same cards, it becomes significantly easier to act out the cards you are given. However, there are some that are nearly impossible to act out, but that could be an issue with my own inability to act. I really enjoy round two of this game. I like the challenge of only giving one word clues.
One thing I really like about this game is the variety in the cards. From Leroy Jenkins to Keyboard Cat to A Top – there are a number of different categories, some easy to solve and others more challenging. And each card has a descriptive text that helps if you don’t know what the card is referencing. Some even have pictures/artwork on the cards.
Along with the variety in cards, I like the way the deck of cards for the game is selected. Each person chooses cards to include in the deck, which means that you get a wide variety of cards each game because everyone chooses cards based on their own interests. However, some cards never get chosen because they are basically impossible to act out. That seems to be the litmus test for choosing cards – would you want to act it out in charades?
My one con for the game is that it can get a little stale sometimes. It doesn’t happen often, but we once tried to play this game and it just completely fell flat. It’s possible no one was in the mood to play, but I’m thinking taking some of the game designers’ suggestions for how to spice up the game may help with this problem.
Overall, Monikers is an incredibly fun game that provides a great experience at a party. We’ve played this while hanging out with friends at the cabin or at a Fourth of July party outside in the backyard – it really can be played anywhere and that’s what makes it great. Although there are some cards that seem impossible to play, this game is still a great addition to any party.
-Works well at any player count above four
-Good variety of cards
-Descriptions on the cards is great reference for players
-Each round feels different and creates a different challenge
-Gives players a lot of freedom to come up with unique clues/charades
-Some people may not be a fan of doing charades
-Have to be in the right mood to play the game
-Any round after the first can result in people just repeating cards they remember regardless of the clue given/charade being performed
-Some of the cards are really obscure and are usually discarded during the selection process
He gives this game out of 8 Celebrities out of 10.
She gives this game out of 8 Fictional Characters out of 10.