As you know we do enjoy board games. With only 2 of us in the house who’ll play them, we can sometimes be limited by those suitable for 2 players. Our latest purchase has been the board game Tension.
I came across this game during a work quiz done on zoom. The person setting the quiz questions had included a Tension round based on the board game, and it was a lot of fun. I tested N on some of the questions afterwards, and he enjoyed it, so I bought the family version of the game for him for his birthday.
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So far, we’ve played it a couple of times, and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s longer than most of the games we play, but that means we can get really into it. Although I think N would like it a bit shorter. We could play it without the board, and just have a number of spaces to get to to win, rather than spiralling all round the board.
How to play Tension board game
Tension is recommended for age 8+, and generally you’d play in 2 teams. But it works fine just with 2 players, on a quieter basis than with teams. There’s a board, playing counters,time, score counter, and two sets of cards. The orange cards are generally easier and can be used for children, otherwise you use whichever colour of card depending on where you land.
Each person takes it in turn to ask the other (or team) the topic, and they have a minute to find the 10 items from that topic that are on the answer card. You might have 10 answers but they won’t be the 10 on the card. It’s a case of shout them out, while the person asking the question keeps score using the peg scorers. The little score holder is a great idea, and better way for keeping track than pen and paper.
It’s all a bit of fun and with teams playing and shouting out, it could get chaotic trying to keep score and hear all the answers shouted out.
However many answers you get right, you can move forward on the board.
There are a couple of other board tricks – if you land on a whirlwind space, you get to move forward extra spaces. But if you land on the ? space, you have to guess how many you will get correct (once you’ve heard the topic). If you get that number you get to move forward, if you don’t reach that target figure, you have to go backwards.
Our experience playing Tension
We played with N using the orange cards, and I used the correct cards for the colour spaces as in the rules. Some purple cards are easier than others which are really hard. So it’s luck of the draw.
N didn’t do too badly – there were only 2 spaces in it by the end.
We loved the little scoring holder – although for children keeping track of answers, it can be hard for younger children to listen, read and score while answers are being shouted out.
With the cards being double sided, it means it will take a while to work through all the cards. Some of ours were quite straight topics, but one of mine was ‘types of bed’ – and it wasn’t just furniture beds included. I totally missed out things like ‘sea bed’!
Covering topics like foods, brands, clothing, inventors, films and sports, there’s a great breadth of topic to ponder over. Some serious and some more fun.
N really underestimated his ability to reach the target when he landed on that space. He did a lot better than he anticipated. You don’t lose out if you answer more, only if you answer less.
If you’re a bit of a list fanatic, then you’ll enjoy this game. I think I’d be happy just reading through all the cards, but turning lists into a board game is a lot of fun. I can see how good it would be with a crowd of people. But it works for us as a twosome as well.
You can buy Tension* from Amazon or directly from Cheatwell Games.
If you’re looking for other list based board games, why not try one of these below.
- 5 second rule – 5 seconds to name 3 items on a theme
- 25 words or less – teams have to guess the words on the card from you describing them in 25 words or less.
Have you played it?