TEAM3 PINK and TEAM3 GREEN are team based dexterity titles, which have just been released by Brain Games. The two sets, which slightly differ, individually offer components for 3 – 6 players. Designed by Alex Cutler and Matt Fantastic, TEAM3 sees players’ communication skills tested, as structures are built from polyomino blocks. The twist is the person building cannot see what they are doing, while the person that can see the objective cannot talk. However, are these the building blocks for a great party game? Let’s find out!
After emptying the blocks from the box into the middle of the table, the only setup players need to do is to choose the level of difficulty they are comfortable with. Shuffling the appropriate deck, rated 1 – 3 stars, all else that is needed is a stopwatch of some kind. Individual rounds last 3 minutes – if you want to race against the timer. This is advisable after a few attempts to play properly – though perhaps not for the first time you play.
In teams of 3, players each get a specific role in the construction. Player A draws a blueprint card from the selected difficulty. Putting it in the card holder, each blueprint card has a line on it indicating which side is the ground. Starting the timer, Player A must then without taking explain to Player B what is on the card. This is done by drawing shapes in the air or a variety of hand gestures. Player B is free to say whatever they like. This allows them to be the middle person between the other two on their team. It is possible to question exactly what Player A means and then relay it to Player C.
The third and final player, Player C, is whom will build the structure. With their eyes closed and Player B to guide them the player must replicate what is on the blueprint card. This is by no means an easy task, especially against the clock per round. Regardless of if the team was successful everyone passes their role card to the left and a new round begins. To win the team must complete enough blueprint cards to equal the player count plus the star difficulty. This must be achieved before a number of blueprints are failed – the amount equal to the player count.
Both editions come with a unique mini expansion. TEAM3 PINK comes with a mode called Dimension Tension. This special deck of cards no longer uses the blocks to make a flat structure, as some will be rotated to only use part of the shape. With 5 blocks included this mode can also be played as teams, and ups the difficulty considerably. TEAM3 GREEN comes with a Mind Merge expansion. This sees one builder constructing two different small structures with their left and right hands simultaneously. This mode uses five players with two players taking up both of the other roles. Easier structures are shown on the cards. Though, the pressure is still very much on the builder!
There is no getting around that TEAM3 has a slightly awkward player count requirement. To play you need a minimum of 3. Yet, without playing the Mind Merge expansion that uses 5 unless you have 6 players for two teams; else extra players must simply sit out. Thankfully the gameplay is fun to watch. It can also help new players understand what is expected and can stop others worrying they’ll look silly or mess it up. Still, not having a way for 4 (and 5 with the PINK edition) to play makes TEAM3 a little hard to get to the table.
Regardless of the edition that you pick up TEAM3 has strong components. The blocks are chunky and robust. They fit back into the box easily, without there being a silly amount of empty space. The vibrant colours help the blocks to be easily recognisable on the cards, allowing communication to be the only struggle players face. The blocks are of simple shapes and when looking at them there is a fair bit of difference between them. Close your eyes and this all changes. It is the colour that makes them stand out from each other, with the shapes overlapping a fair bit. For example, while one is a cross from feeling a section of another block it could be the cross too.
The cards continue the readability and are simple to shuffle. The only minor complaint is the role cards. There is no way to fairly shuffle them to give them out, with no face down side. It isn’t a massive dilemma but could cause issues if two players were dying to play the same role first. While the game relies on a 3 minute timer no timer is included in the box. The rules recommend a phone for a stopwatch, which works fine, but for a required component I’m surprised there isn’t even a sand timer included.
After playing the game for a couple of rounds the level 1 objectives do become too easy. While not a complete reset, each time you start with a new group, or just on a new day, the level 1 cards do again offer a challenge – until your brain starts to think in the same way the puzzle needs. However, there are levels 2 and 3 to put players back in their place. Be it from increasing the number of blocks, angling them differently or just making the structures more precarious the difficulty is ramped up. As this occurs the entertainment, and the amount of silent screaming from the unable to speak player, escalates.
The time limit does a good job at adding challenge to the game, though with only one structure being built something is lost from the experience. As soon as there is another team in the mix, another group to beat, then TEAM3 truly gets going. Pressure wise you’re team will be both encouraging you and shouting at you! For those that can see how the teams’ structures are closing in on being finished there is an element of trying your very best for the victory. For the person with their eyes shut there is another person going through the exact same process you are aiming to beat. The rivalry takes the game to the next level. You’ll need two copies to have more than 2 teams or to use cards above level 1, giving meaning to owning the PINK and GREEN versions – which otherwise are too similar to own both.
The special modes the two offer does make both attractive products, though they are only small bonus decks – the majority of the content is identical. While the GREEN edition has the 5 player variant, the 3D nature of PINK’s Dimension Tension has the exciting edge, as well as being the ultimate communication challenge. The limitations based on player count, unless you’re happy having people sit out, is frustrating. Nevertheless, this is a fun puzzle to overcome as a group, especially when against another team!
[Editor’s Note: TEAM3 was provided to us for the review by Brain Games.]