Tags Review

Tags Feature
Tags Feature
Released 2018
Designer Spartaco Albertarelli
Publisher HeidelBÄR Games (Website)
Players 2 – 4 (Or in teams!)
Playing Time 20-40 minutes, but really as long as you like*
Category Word Game
Real Time
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

How much do you think you can do in 15 seconds?

Say to a lot of people you are going to play a party word game, and you will get blank stares.  If not, most will be thinking games like Scrabble, Boggle, Upwords, maybe Pictionary.

Tags is set to change all that.  You need to know words, but you don’t have to be a spelling champion like Boggle and Scrabble.  You don’t have to have a secondary skill like drawing in Pictionary.  You just have to know things like an animal in Australia that starts with K is Kangaroo.

So with that little tidbit, I will show you the ‘board’.  I am going to guess you will already have a good idea on how to play the game.

Check out the image below, and see if you can see how to play.

Tags Game Start
Can you guess how to play Tags just from looking at the setup board?

If you said something along the lines of “Line up the category and the word condition on the grid and take a marble if you’re right” – you are correct!

The only thing not immediately obvious from the board is that there is a timer for your turn.  Your turn starts when the timer is flipped, and you have 15 seconds to answer and collect as many marbles as you can.  Clear a category column?  Take the card – it’s worth points at the end.

When your time runs out, the person clockwise flips the timer and play continues until all the marbles are clear, or one complete round goes by where no one gets a word.

Tags Topics
There are a heap of Categories or Topics in the game, but none really require specific knowledge

Now, this may sound intimidating to some – especially to people that don’t consider themselves to have a wide vocabulary.

This is where the 15 second turn time is genius.  Even if you are a borderline walking thesaurus, performance anxiety kicks in and it takes a special kind of player to push through and dominate in a round.

Scoring is pretty simple as well – White marbles are 1 point, Blue marbles are 2 points, and Black marbles 3 points.  The Category or Topic has a number of whole stars on them, and if you have one of these get an extra point per star.

Once each player has been first once (so a round a player), add up total scores, and the highest score wins.  Tags is quick, it’s simple, and it works really well.

Tags also works with 2-4 players, or you can spice things up by playing in teams for more players.  It may sound easier to play in a team – the only difference really is one team member is nominated the marble and tag collector, but mayhem can occur very easily.

But really play as you want to – the score is very much optional to me, just playing the game is an amazing social fun time that works with smaller player counts.

Tags Mid Game
You think you may not be doing well - but usually neither is anyone on the table. 15 seconds isn't much!

Only one hand on the board makes sense, and all team members can answer.  But if two or three people are shouting answers and another player is trying to collect everything, it becomes an instant shouty mess.  Usually, this is something to avoid, but in a situation like Tags and Happy Salmon, it only adds to the communal fun!

Well, maybe not for other people in the restaurant.  Maybe pick your location :p

Tags is fun, simple and easy – hence not a very in-depth review is possible.  This is very much the sort of game that if you are playing it, people will wander by and start playing with you in spite of themselves.

I am going to see if I can talk a few people into playing a couple of games and we can put the video up – that will definitely show you the game more than I can describe it.

If you get the chance to play, take it.  If you get the chance to buy it, I doubt you will be disappointed.  As an opener, closer or filler Tags is a great game that can be played again and again.

Until next time,


Final Thoughts

Tags is a quick and fun party game that works with smaller numbers of people.  This is a rare thing, however lately with Tags and Drop It that feeling seems to be being developed nicely.

There are no lengthy rules explanations required, people just naturally ‘get’ the game mechanics.  Sure you need to explain scoring, but a grid that intersects ‘Australia’ with ‘Starts with K’ has people saying Kangaroo before they realise they are playing.

For a ready on the shelf party word game that is more ‘gamified’ that Codenames, Tag It is a great addition to any game hosts shelf.



  •  A game anyone can drop in and out of
  •  Intuitive rules make teaching a snap
  •  Lot’s of laughter involved
  •  More of a ‘game’ than Codenames (not including Duet)


  •  Larger vocabulary does help
  •  ‘Serious’ gamers can be put off

Last Week’s Gaming – November 12th 2018

Drop It 20181112

It is Forbidden to Roll the Tags, so Drop It

A new week, and one full week back from holidays down.  The reality has come back in full force, and I already miss a few things from my holidays.

But on the bright side, schedules remain and games are being played!  A lot of new games this week, so let’s jump into it.

Drop It

How to describe Drop It.

Think of competitive Tetris or Connect 4, and add carnival game style dexterity challenges.

When you look at Drop It, you already mostly know how to play – it’s one of those great instinctual games.  There is a lot of ‘What How’ and ‘Ha Ha’ from the players, as you drop a piece and bases collapse or shapes bounce (or both!).

I know I am not talking too much about it, but Alpal has had it for a little while and I saw it playing at PAX Aus, so I figured it was time for the review.  So guess what tomorrows review is going to be?

Drop It 20181112
You look at it, and you think you know the game. And you do - but it throws you. Drop It is simply a fun game.


Most people I know enjoy a word game despite themselves.  Throw out a challenge like think of how many fruits begin with C, and a list will start to form in someone’s mind.

And yes, Cucumber is a fruit.

Tags takes this little quirk and make a fun challenge.  There is a grid of marbles with five categories and four letters (well, mostly letters).  You then have 15 seconds to match the conditions on the grid to keep that coloured marble – e.g. Things that people are blackmailed for that start with J, or Something Romantic that includes ‘in’.

This is the second game this week that makes a great low player count party game, and a trend I hope continues in new releases.

Tags 20181112
It's hard to describe Tags except as a lower player count party game - and it's worth every second you play it.

Roll Player

So Roll Player was all the buzz in gaming circles a little while ago, and Alpal got a copy at a ‘reasonable’ price (it’s been over AUD$100 for a while!).

Alpal took me through a game, and I am hooked, with my own copy making it’s way to me soon.

The gameplay itself looks minimal (as in ‘so where’s the game?’) but once you start playing, the depth of choice is immediately apparent.

Solo you try to score a perfect score of 40 (with 38+ being the highest achievement title), while multiplayer you go for highest score wins.

More will be discussed on Roll Player over the coming weeks – be sure of that!

Roll Player 20181112
Surprisingly fun and tense at the same time, Roll Player takes Dice/Worker Placement to higher levels while remaining quick and fun

Forbidden Sky

So I have played this a couple of times over the last week, and I have mixed feelings so far.

Now I really wanted to play and enjoy Forbidden Sky – it’s on my most anticipated games list for 2018.  And I did enjoy it to a degree.  The first game at max player count had a couple of small issues with rules (my reading ability not the rules themselves), and we seemed to thump the game.

Try again after some more extensive reading and clarifications in a two player game, and it was better.  Much better.  I will be playing this a few more times and a full review will be coming soon – after the original Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert reviews!

Forbidden Sky 20181112
A game I have been waiting - Forbidden Sky has arrived. And it has flipped the 'Leacock Standards' in a surprise move.

Tetris Effect

I jumped on this as soon as I got home last Friday.

Tetris Effect is gorgeous to behold, and playing in VR is a completely immersive experience that allows you to focus to new levels.

Which is also it’s downfall.  I don’t normally suffer motion sickness in VR, but the gorgeous world did throw me for a loop and I couldn’t play this for more than about 40-50 minutes without conceding to physical complaints.

It’s fun, and I do recommend playing – but maybe in a dark room with headphones instead of VR?  I haven’t tried this yet, but a full review will be coming in a couple of weeks.

Tetris Effect Feature
Screenshots Coming!

Diablo 3

It was a quick round of Diablo this weekend on the couch, climbing to Level 4 after clearing the first area.

While not much was played, all of the groundwork was set and now Rabbit and I can play multiplayer through the week, so this will probably keep creeping in a bit in the future.

Well, until this weekend, when Pokemon Let’s Go may overtake all of Rabbit’s Switch time 🙂

Diablo 3 Banner
Another game where I didn't snap a shot, but Rabbit and I are now setup to multiplay 🙂

What have you been playing?  Let me know on the Facebook Page or @ me some pics on Twitter!

Until next time,