Review: Spot It

My coworker was really, really excited about bringing this game to a conference, and I was surprised by how quickly I got into such a simple matching game that’s particularly targeted at elementary school kids and their families. It’s portable, cheap, and if you try it and like it, there are a ton of variations (my favorite local game store, Labyrinth, carries at least 10 different versions).

For any given pair of circular Spot It cards, there is just one match among the handful of icons pictured. You’ll keep thinking that it should be a lot easier to spot the match, but differences in size make it weirdly challenging to match at a fast pace. There are several different variations available—the coworkers I’ve played it with on two separate occasions now particularly like what we call the “mean version,” where you’re trying to match the card at the top of the deck to anyone else’s top card, and end up being the one with the fewest cards at the end. A nicer version is just the opposite, trying to match the top card to your own so that it’s every person for themselves (though honestly, that one can be just as mean, I’ve found!)

This is an extremely fast-paced game that takes 30 seconds to explain, can involve up to 8 people if you have a nice round table or a patch of floor, and quickly devolves into uncontrollable giggling as players try to quickly identify the icons and end up yelling out their odd interpretations (“ALIEN FROG!” “CANADA!” “CREEPY PURPLE HAND THING!”) I personally really want the “hip” edition, which is all hipster icons, but there’s a version for almost any interest. The round tin is also super-easy to carry, so I recommend it for travel.

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