Artists, song lyrics, and…kazoos? I don’t remember those in Top of the Pops.
If you’re a Brit of a certain age, chances are you remember Top of the Pops, the weekly TV show that ran down the top 40 song chart. Celebrity presenters, in-house audiences, and live, although often lip-synced, performances. It was something of a British institution from the mid-60s to the 00s and is fondly remembered by many. Big Potato Games, makers of the surprisingly fun Blockbuster board game have attempted to repeat their success with Top of the Pops: The Party Game.
Mentioning the team’s previous game is really quite relevant here, as Top of the Pops: The Party Game is almost the exact same game as Blockbuster. The only differences are that this is music themed and changes the acting round for something even sillier, but more on that later. It’s a bit disappointing that Big Potato Games have released nigh-on the same game as before, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
The game is split into two parts: a head to head round followed by a name the artist challenge. During head to head, a card is revealed with a theme such as name songs with ‘love’ in the title. A player on each team takes it in turns to name a song, hitting a provided buzzer with a 15-second timer on it to pass it to the other team. The last player to name on successfully takes their team to the next round. Drawing nine cards, they secretly choose three for their team, placing them on three categories, before passing the remaining six to their opponents who do the same. The remaining cards are discarded.
The active player now has one minute to have their teammates name the artist on each card in the categories by following the rule for each. One Word has you describe the artist in one word — I was meant to guess Red Hot Chilli Peppers from the word ‘sock’. Lyric has you use a song lyric to clue your team in. Kazoo has you play one of the artist’s songs on a kazoo. This is what makes Top of the Pops: The Party Game significantly different from Blockbuster and it’s really quite funny. Trying to get through the chorus of Wonderwall on “the world’s simplest instrument” is something that will stay with me through sheer embarrassment if nothing else!
Anyway, successfully naming an artist claims the card for your team, and any left on the board after a minute are passed to the opposing team to have a go at them. First team to claim a card from each of the eight categories — 60s, 70s, All-Time Greats, and so forth — are declared the victors.
There are additional rules, such as being allowed to steal a card from the other team if you have three of the same category, or winning by having ten cards total to mitigate for those who are perhaps less knowledgeable about certain decades. These are nice additions that allow you to tailor the game to different groups. It’s certainly fun too! Top of the Pops: The Party Game works well with its theme and has good variety with its cards. I’m not especially well versed in pop music from the past sixty years, but I don’t think I came across any artists I didn’t at least know. With that said, if you’re more a fan of niche musicians, you may find this a little tougher.
The components are solid, with nice, sturdy cards and at least adequate kazoos. The buzzer sounds quite tinny, but it doesn’t need to be anything more than a sound cue for the end of a round. The board is nice enough, but I feel the Blockbuster one being based around a store carpark had better theming than the more generic beatbox board here.
Top of the Pops: The Party Game is a nice companion to the Blockbuster game if you’d rather play a team game with music than movies. It’s entertaining and rage-inducing in equal measure (How did you not know that song?!) and is a solid evening of team-based fun for people old enough to remember the classics. Kazoos at the ready, pop pickers!
You can purchase Top of the Pops: The Party Game on Amazon.