Coming up with simple, non-gamer friendly party games is assuredly much harder than it appears; especially, as it sometimes seems that all of the ideas have already been done. So, when something very simple and accessible comes along that does do something new, while appealing to gamers and the general public alike, I'm impressed from the get-go.
Published by Big Potato, Colour Brain is a 2-4 player/team game with the simple premise of trivia questions to which all the answers are a colour (or colours). During setup, each team gets a set of 11 colour cards and one 'smack the leader' card dealt at random. When you first start to play, you might think the questions are too easy. Well, to be honest, a lot of them are; but that brings in the rule which, for me, elevates the game above its basic premise: tied points rollover to the following round. This means that, with three easy questions in a row, the fourth - which may be trickier - becomes worth four points. In a game where 10 is the target, this allows for big swings of fortune and a catch-up is always on. If no-one gets the question right, the points on offer are reset to one.
There is a fleetingly punitive catch-up mechanism in the game and, make no mistake, it is just that: these cards can only be played on a team in the lead, by a team not in the lead. The 'take that' is to randomly lose 4-8 cards from hand for the next question. More often than not, this does stop the leading team for a turn but, occasionally, they luck out and have the right card in hand to answer anyway.
There are rare trick questions (Cilla [colour] from Blind Date was a good one), but there is a problem with the wording of some questions. On one card, the question 'What colour is x?' will have a single colour answer, while on another card, the question 'What colour is y?' will have a multiple colour answer, with no indication. All groups who played felt that using 'colour(s)' would have solved this issue. It’s a trivial criticism (tho' this is a trivia game), but it’s there and can be frustrating and a cause of dispute in the heat of competition.
So, if you think you can name the colours of the Teletubbies, the Olympic Rings, telephone boxes in Scotland and numerous world flags, and if you like quick, fun party games, then Colour Brain should very much be on your wish list. This will be a good choice to introduce to the family after Christmas dinner!
(Review by David Fox)