You’ve Been Sentenced!
Every now and then I come across games that are a joy to play, usually they end up being the ones where playing the role of referee isn’t required. What’s more, I enjoy games with an educational theme, mainly because I believe in teaching the kids all that I can in order to prepare them for life as an adult.
You’ve Been Sentenced certainly falls under that category. In this game, players will be forming sentences with the cards that they have been given. The more words they use, the more points they earn…though the sentence has to be grammatically correct and make sense. Let’s take a quick look at the game and how it is played before we head into the review.
Cards – The cards are shaped like a pentagon, with five words arranged along the perimeter with their individual point values listed below.
Score Sheet & Pencil – Players will be keeping track of their score with these during the game.
Sand Timer – Used when one person comes up with a sentence, giving others a short amount of time to finish coming up with their own. More on that in a minute.
Setup & Gameplay
The box of cards is placed in the middle of the table so that all players can reach it. Each player receives ten cards and places them face down in front of them. Once everyone has their cards, they are flipped face up and all players begin trying to form a sentence using the words on their cards (players don’t have to use all ten cards). When a player feels that they have a sentence, they announce that they do and flip the sand timer. Other players have until the end of the time limit to come up with their own sentence. Players who don’t score nothing for that round.
Once time runs out, the player who started the timer reads their sentence aloud and is judged by everyone else on whether or not the sentence is valid. Those who object can explain why the sentence isn’t valid, though the person who created the sentence will be allowed to make a case to defend it. If the majority feels that the sentence is still not valid, then that player receives no points. If the sentence does pass the majority vote, the player receives the points as indicated on the cards (each word has a point value). All players, in turn, are judged by the other players the same way and receive scores accordingly. Bonus points are awarded to the player who initiated the sand timer (if the sentence is correct) and to any player who uses all ten cards.
The first person to reach 200 points wins the game!
The above is just an overview of the game. To see the rules in closer detail, you can check out the manual here:
First, let me get my complaints out of the way. The pencil doesn’t fit in its place in the box, at least, not without its tip rubbing up against the cards. I removed the pencil from the box to prevent it from marking up the cards. Next, the scoresheet could have been a little simpler. Drawing lines on the track after adding the current round’s score with the previous round’s score just seems a little messy to me. A name, some blank spaces beneath that name to mark scores, and boom…done. It could be just me, but I find the old, “write your score under your column” approach to be the simplest way to go about doing it.
Okay, enough of that. There are over five hundred cards, so the sheer amount of combinations one can be presented with is pretty unbelievable. The odds are extremely good that you won’t ever be dealt the same ten cards in your lifetime. There are also a lot of variants listed in the manual to give players other ideas on how to play. Personally, I put the score sheet aside and just enjoyed the experience of putting sentences together with the kids. No sand timer, no rushing, no beating someone else…just good, educational fun. Haters gonna hate, but it works for us. Games are serious business, don’t you know? I mean c’mon! Quit having fun! We’re trying to play a game here! *Huge Over-Exaggerated Sigh*
This game is an excellent example of how learning should be. The boys had a lot of fun putting sentences together and I equally enjoyed helping them fine tune their sentence structure. They came up with some extremely silly sentences, but little did they know that they were practicing their English at the same time. You’ve Been Sentenced is definitely a great game for families and I highly recommend it, especially for its educational value.
Final Verdict: 8/10