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Top It

Top It is a lively trivia party game for 2-6 players designed by Brad Ross and published by Cheatwell Games. You lay out a 3 x 3 grid of letter tiles. Each round, a topic card is flipped and players call out words that are associated with the topic and which begin with one of the letters in the grid. When you call out a unique word (ie: one that hasn't already been claimed), you place one of your cones on that letter. If there's a cone already there, you place one of yours on top. Each round, only the topmost cone on each letter scores: one point for each cone in the stack, plus a bonus 5 points if you end up with 3 in a row.

That's pretty much all the rules, except for the important proviso that you're all playing simultaneously and against a 60-second sand timer. It's the timer that gives the game a frenetic edge; without it, players would be reluctant to leap in with words - preferring to wait for others to place cones so they can top them.

We classify Top It as a party game because it inevitably descends into a cacophony of callouts as players race to place their cones. The 3-in-a-row bonuses don't usually come easy because other players will spot them coming and will do their utmost to top your cones before the timer runs down. It's all good fun tho', and Top It is also very playable as a family game. It's best but noisiest with four or more players.

The game comes with 76 topic double-sided topic cards - so there's ample variety. The letter discs are also double-sided, tho' that's really just a way of spreading out the lower frequency letters. The game is a race to be the first to rack up 50 points, and the box includes a pad of scoresheets and even a pencil. There are 10 coloured cones for each player, so you could theoretically run out of cones if you were a particularly prolific placer. That said, in all our plays at Board's Eye View, we only once saw a player run out of cones within the allotted 60 seconds.

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