Tags Review

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.

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.

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.

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
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