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Instructions to Play the Catch Phrase Game

Instructions to Play the Catch Phrase Game

Catch Phrase is basically a word-guessing game, it is manufactured and marketed by Hasbro, and is quite fun to play. Plentifun provides instructions to play this game. Take a look!
Vibhav Gaonkar
Quick Tip
In case the game device gives an error or malfunctions, do not disassemble it. Remove and reinsert the batteries, and hit the reset button.

To play Catch Phrase, you must necessarily have Hasbro's genuine Catch Phrase game device. Pick one at a nearby game or toy store for an affordable 20 dollars (prices may vary as per region and version). Once you have the game, you can unpack it, you will need to set up this device in order to play.
Remove the back panel of the device (battery slot), and insert 3 AAA batteries. Once inserted, close the battery panel, and press the Advance/Next/ button to wake the device. The screen on the device will light up. Along with a screen and the advance button, the device has three more buttons. These are the team 1 and 2 score buttons and the timer button. Also, the device has a tiny reset button which can be used in case of an error.
The game can be played by 4 or more players; all players must be 12 years old or over. Each round takes around 10-15 minutes. Players can either play a single round or a multiple round tournament. Refer to the instructions given below and start playing.
Catch Phrase Game Rules

Begin by forming two teams. Sit in a circle such that members of one team face each other.

Toss a coin to decide the team that will start first.

On the game device, press both team 1 and team 2 score buttons to reset the score counter. Once this is done, the game device prompts that both teams have zero points.

Now, navigate to categories by pressing the advance button (some recent versions have a separate category button). There are 11 different categories which include:
  • Everything - All 10,000 words
  • Tech/Invention - Anything about technology and inventions
  • Entertainment - Movies, books, music, etc.
  • History Buff - All that happened in the past including civics, politics, wars, etc.
  • Sports/Games - All sorts of sports and games
  • Geography - Choose this only if you know places and regions around the world
  • Transportation - Anything that takes you from one place to another
  • Around the House - Household items
  • Food and Drink - Drinks, recipes, cooking terms, ingredients, etc.
  • Plants and Animals - Everything about animals and plants
  • Family - Phrases or words that are appropriate for children (no adult stuff)

Once you've chosen a category, press the timer button to select it. This category will be set as the default one for all future games, unless changed.

Next, press the timer button to begin playing. Once, you've done this, you cannot change the selected category.

Now, a player, any player, from the first team, referred to as the clue-giver, will press the advance button. This would display a word on the screen.

The clue-giver has to help his/her team members guess the displayed word. He can do so via verbal clues or physical gestures. However, the clue-giver cannot:
  • Say a word that rhymes with the displayed word
  • Say the first letter of the word
  • Say a part of the word
If in case, a player breaks any of the above rules, he/she has to press the timer button. This automatically ends the player's turn and a point is awarded to the opposing team.

However, if a player doesn't break any rule and his team guesses correctly, the player passes the game device to the next player (of the opponent team). The next player presses the advance button, and the game progresses in this fashion.

Each team has a set time-limit to play their turn. When the buzzer sounds, the playing team has to hand over the device to a player of the opposing team. Failing to guess the word in the specified time awards 1 point to the opposing team. Also, the opposing team gets a chance to guess that word (the one which the first team couldn't guess) which, if guessed correctly, earns them a bonus point.

The first team to score 7 points wins the game. The device announces the winner when the 7th point is awarded. To see the scores of both teams, press the timer and the advance button simultaneously.

If you're wondering, how to switch off the Catch Phrase game device, don't worry. The game device goes to sleep after 5 minutes of inactivity. You don't need to manually turn it off.

Also note that some versions of the game feature a concise list of categories, and adds a separate category button to the game device. Another variation includes the marking on the timer button which can be a tiny timer image, or a 'Go/Stop' button. More variations may be introduced in future; however, the basic motive of the game remains unchanged.