Cranium (1998)

Red team wins. (20141221)
This game has the flaw of using cards. This means the game eventually becomes repetitive and give veterans the advantage (e.g., Taboo, Guesstures). Of course, its still a lot of fun, and a general way to curb the advantage is to pair veterans with beginners. Also, the fun comes in acting things out, drawing with your eyes closed, and learning facts you didn't know before.

Another element that makes Cranium a great party game is the element of luck: the cards range in difficulty and there's the luck of the die. For example, [Stephanie Daniel] shot ahead at the beginning, but with a series of bad rolls, ended the game last.

Team Green stares blankly at this card. (20141221)
I read this on the Cranium Wikipedia page, something we didn't do, but seems like an interesting rule:
When a team reaches the end of the path, they must place their mover on the black space with the deck name that corresponds to the color of their roll. If they roll purple, they may decide which black space to start on. They continue play in the normal fashion, except that when they complete an activity successfully, they keep the card, and instead of rolling the die, they move clockwise to the next black space.

Once the team has a card from each deck, they may move into Cranium Central. Once they are in Cranium Central, on their turn, they will receive an activity from the deck that the other teams decide on. If they do not complete the activity successfully, they must wait until their next turn, when the other teams will pick another activity for them, either from the same deck or another deck. Once the team successfully completes an activity while in Cranium Central, they have won the game.
Winning Team (20091219)
A different website notes:
Club Cranium cards count, too. If you win a Club Cranium card while you’re in the Cranium Circle, keep the card if it’s one you need.
While on the page for Cranium, I also read another rule which I didn't understand for some time. In different words, the rule says the following:
You become ineligible for fast track if you fail your first individual activity (i.e. non-Club Cranium) while on Planet Cranium.
Example: You roll, you're on Planet Cranium. The team after you and the team after that drew Club Craniums which you got wrong. The team after that pulls a Club Cranium, if you got it right, move forward along the fast track. If not oh well. That team is done, now it's your turn. Say you pull a Club Cranium and get it wrong, you're still good to go. Now you pull a regular card, get it right, fast track. Get it wrong, you're on the outside track.

Runner-Up Team (20091219)
While the game has a lot of luck in it, which makes it a fun party game, a small strategy would be to pick green or blue cranium as your first activity on Planet Cranium. This strategy increases the chance for Club Cranium and hence increases the probability of going along the fast track. The caveat is you need to be good at at green or blue. [Michael Me] did great at yellow, so we probably wouldn't have resorted to such a strategy.

Remark: Cranium Turbo Edition seems more balanced than this game. I would fix this Cranium by saying a purple dice gives the team the choice of moving up to three spaces. [20150112: Dear past self, I don't know understand what this means.]

[20091220 5:20 AM][20150113 Edit]

We put forth the rules above and according to the reading of the rules, you can only win the Central Cranium (after collecting the four cards from each area) on your turn - though this could be done with a Club Cranium card on your turn.

Steph and Daniel.
As such, the final game boiled down like this. [MT SN JW] had collected all four cards while [KH CF JK] and [PN TT DM SH] collected all but Creative Cat. It was decided that we should give [MT SN JW] Creative Cat in case there is a Club Cranium. There wasn't, but [MT SN JW] couldn't complete the card. (Was this the "monkey"?) [KH CF JK]'s Creative Cat was a Club Cranium card which [PN TT DM SH] completed as fast as it begun, "astronaut." [KH CF JK] completed the next card they pulled, putting all teams at a tie, with [PN TT DM SH] the next team with the chance to win.

Chris mentioned at game's end, which I also mentioned above, that Cranium Turbo Edition is a better game.

GREEN: Nikki, Alex, Jon, Jac - Won. Their fifth card was a Sensosketch (Blue)
BLUE: Steve, Josh, Phuong, Tim - Obtained a Red card.

The game was fun. Our team got inside the final round, but got red wrong several times (I think three) before finally getting one right and moving onto the next color. [20150112: It follows that the other team won before we could get a second card.]

One of two other teams. (20120102)
[20101219][20150112 Edit]

This version of the game has "Team Gnilleps." That's probably the best new improvement. Otherwise the fast track and slow track are still there. A minor aesthetic improvement is the character pieces.

Unlike the last time I played, the cards were placed with the category name being hidden. I don't know how it was done in games before 20101219, but on 20101219 the cards were placed in the box with the category name being available to the players. For example, a team might see that "Gnilleps" is next for "Word Worm" and go for one of the other categories instead.

[20101229][20150112 Edit]

So today, like 20101219, the cards were faced so that the type of game was available. This led to players occasionally picking a random card behind it instead.

One of two other teams. (20120102)
As I wrote in 20091219, we did not employ the rule of starting on the space which you rolled in order to get into the center.

I believe we did not employ the rule of playing an activity in Cranium Central (the other teams pick a final activity for the team that has completed the Cranium Circle), though I could be wrong.

As a party game, there's no reason to enforce the rules to the 'T'. However, I think the final Cranium Central and having the categories hidden help make the game fun.


Played 20091219 [Josh Kevin] [Michael me] [Stanley Steve] [Stephanie Daniel]. [Stephanie Daniel] first. [Josh Kevin] won. [Michael me] second (1 card). [Stanley Steve] third (center brain). [Stephanie Daniel] fourth (one spot away from center brain).
Played 20100102 [Michael Steve JohnWest] [Kevin Chris Josh] [Phuong me Daniel Stephanie]. [Michael Steve JohnWest] first. [Phuong me Daniel Stephanie] won. [Michael Steve JohnWest] and [Kevin Chris Josh] third (4 cards).
Played 20101219 [Nikki Alex JonWest Jac]Green [Steve Josh Phuong me]Blue. Green first. Green won. Blue second (1 card).
Played 20101228 [Carolyn Huy Carolyn(3,-) Tina(1,+)]Mohawk [Lynn Sang Alice Michelle(2,+)]Beatles [Jimmy Derek Caroline me(4,-)]Hat. Beatles first. I left in the middle of the game. [Cranium WOW]
Played 20141221 [Tiffany Michael]Blue [Thomas Stephanie]Red [Josh me]Green. Blue first. Red won.
Cranium (1998)*
*Cranium WOW (2007)

Winning Team (20120102)
Relevant Links:
Cranium (1998) (
Cranium (
Cranium WOW (2007) (

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