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How To Play Cranium: Cranium Game Rules

Overview

Cranium is a team game for four or more players. The players are split into teams. There is no limit to the number of players that can be in a team. However, at least two teams are needed to play a game of cranium which means a minimum of 4 players. Teams must make their way from start to Cranium Central and complete five activities while in Cranium Central to win the game. Details of how to play Cranium are provided below.

Objective

Be the first team to reach Cranium central and complete one final activity to win the game.

Cranium Game Rules

Some Cranium game rules are provided below to help you understand how to play cranium.

.The team of the player with the next birthday gets to start the game.

.Teams will draw the top card of the category that matches the colour of their current position on the board and attempt the activity on the card.

.A team that is on a Planet Cranium space is free to draw the top card of any of the four categories.

.A player from the team to the right of the team currently taking its turn will draw the top card of the category selected by the team taking its turn and read out the front of the card.

.Teams must attempt the activity described on the card they drew and complete it before the timer runs out. If successful, the team gets to roll the die and move. If not, the team maintains its position on the board.

.A team can only carry out one activity per turn. If a team completes its activity successfully or not, play passes to the next team in turn. 

.Planet Craniums are special places. If a team completes the first activity it draws while on a Planet Cranium, the team gets to roll the dice and move along the inside fast track instead of taking the outer scenic path which is a longer route. If a team fails its first activity while on a Planet Cranium, the team stays put and tries again on subsequent turns. However, the team must follow the outer scenic path when it finally completes an activity.

.Anytime a team reaches a Planet Cranium even if their roll exceeds the Planet Cranium, they must stay on the Planet Cranium. 

.Anytime a team rolls purple, they must leap ahead to the next Planet Cranium.

.Club Cranium cards are special cards that trigger bonus rounds anytime they are drawn. All the teams will attempt the activity on the drawn Club Cranium card at the same time. The first team to complete the activity on the card before the timer runs out gets a bonus dice roll instantly. The team rolls the die and moves on the board. 

.The team taking its turn when a Club Cranium card is drawn gets to draw a new card and continue its turn after the bonus round is concluded.

.Taking part in a Club Cranium activity does not count as a team’s first activity if they are on a Planet Cranium.

.A team will enter the Cranium Circle on a die roll from either the scenic path or the fast track and move to the deck name matching the colour they rolled on the die. If a team rolled purple, they get to select their starting point on the circle.

.A team that is in Cranium Central must complete one activity from each of the four decks plus a final activity chosen by the other teams from any of the decks. The team will hold on to the card for each activity it completes.

Number of Players Needed

Minimum of 4 players is needed.

Equipment

Cranium game board

A pawn for each team

4 card boxes

Die

Timer

Cranium clay (If the clay is dried or missing, replace with play-dough that can be purchased in supermarkets or scrap activities that require the use of clay) 

Pen and Paper for each team

Setting Up

The game board is designed with options for quick, long, and full play. For a quick game, the game board is folded such that only four sections are showing. To set up the board for a long game, fold the board in a rectangle such that 8 sections are showing. A long game takes about an hour to conclude. A full-length game of Cranium lasting about an hour and a half is played with all 12 sections of the board. The game board is displayed in a “T-shape”. 

There are four card boxes, each corresponding to a category of activity players can perform during the game. Place each card box on the appropriate space on the game board. The game is played in teams so split the players into any number of teams, with each team having a minimum of two players The teams are given a pen and paper, and a pawn each. Each team places their pawn on Start which is a Planet Cranium (marked by the purple brain).  

Planet Craniums are special spaces on the game board. Normally, teams must complete an activity from the category that matches the space they are on, but a team that is on a Planet Cranium gets to complete an activity from any category of their choice. Note that there are only four Planet Cranium spaces on the board. The timer is used to ensure teams complete their activity within the allowed time. Players decide how long each team gets to complete an activity. The team with the player whose birthday is next will start play.

How to Play Cranium

This section explains how to play Cranium. The first team begins play by choosing a category to draw a card from. There are card decks for each category. Remember that the start position is a Planet Cranium space. The four categories are;

Creative Cat: This category covers drawing/sculpting activities.

Data Head: This category covers general knowledge trivia, including multiple choice and true or false question.

Star Performer: This category covers charades, celebrity impersonations, and Humdingers (humming a tune for your teammates to guess).

Word Worm: This category covers spelling difficult words, defining words, solving anagrams or Wheel-of-Fortune-type fill in the blanks.

A player from the team to the right of the team currently taking its turn will draw the top card of the category selected by the team taking its turn. The player then reads out the activity written in front of the card. The team will then carry out the activity described on the card and must complete it before the timer runs out. If successful, the team gets to roll the die and move out. If the team is unable to complete the activity before the timer runs out, they maintain their position on the board.

Play passes to the next team and continues clockwise, each team taking its turn as described above. A team can only perform one activity per turn. Whether the team is successful or not, play passes to the next team in turn. 

Remember that Planet Craniums are special places. If a team completes the first activity it draws while on a Planet Cranium, the team gets to roll the dice and move along the inside fast track instead of taking the outer scenic path which is a longer route. If a team fails its first activity while on a Planet Cranium, the team stays put and tries again on subsequent turns. When the team finally completes an activity, the team rolls the die but must move along the outer scenic path which is a longer route to the destination.

Anytime a team reaches a Planet Cranium even if their roll exceeds the Planet Cranium, they must stay on the Planet Cranium. This means each team is allowed to take advantage of all four Planet Cranium spaces on the board during a game. Anytime a team rolls purple, they must leap ahead to the next Planet Cranium.

When teams are on other spaces on the board that are not Planet Craniums, the gameplay remains the same but with a minor difference. In this case, teams must draw a card from a category that matches the colour of their current location on the board. Teams are not allowed to choose categories.  If a team completes their activity, they roll the die and move on the board (along the route the team is currently following). Play passes to the left. If a team fails its activity, it maintains its position on the board and its turn ends. Play also passes to the next team in turn.

There are special cards within the cards decks that can be drawn known as Club Cranium cards. Anytime one of these cards is drawn, a bonus round is triggered. The activity on the drawn Club Cranium card is read and all the teams attempt the activity at the same time. The first team to complete the activity on the card before the timer runs out gets a bonus roll instantly. The team rolls the die and moves on the board. Play continues after with the team taking its turn when the Club Cranium card was drawn. The team draws a new card to continue its turn. Note that if a team is on a Planet Cranium space, taking part in a Club Cranium card activity does not count as their first activity. 

Teams continue to move on the board and make their way to Cranium Central. A team will enter the Cranium Circle on a die roll from either the scenic path or the fast track and move to the deck name matching the colour they rolled on the die. If a team rolled purple, they get to select their starting point on the circle. A team that is in Cranium Central must complete one activity from each of the four decks plus a final activity chosen by the other teams from any of the decks.

A team in Cranium Central will start with the deck name they are on and draw a card from the deck. The team will attempt the activity on the card. If they are successful, they hold on to the card and move to the next deck. Their turn ends and play passes to the next team in turn. If the team is unsuccessful, their turn ends and they get to try again on their next turn. Each time a team completes an activity within the Cranium Central, they hold on to the card, move to the next deck, and wait until it is their turn to play again. Remember that a team can only draw one card per turn regardless of whether they complete their activity successfully or not. 

Once a team has completed four activities, one from each category while in the Cranium Central, they must complete one final activity chosen by the other teams from any deck. If the team fails the activity, they wait to try again. The first team to complete four activities plus a final activity chosen by the other teams wins the game. 

Winning The Game

To win a game of Cranium, a team must be the first to complete one activity from each of the four categories plus one final activity from any category chosen by their opponents while in Cranium Central. 

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