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Cranium Cadoo Board Game Rules Explained With Pictures

Cranium Cadoo Board Game Rules Explained With Pictures

Looking for a specific Cranium Cadoo rule?: | Setup | Playing the Game | Placing Tokens | Winning the Game | Playing in Teams | FAQ | Components |


The objective of Cranium Cadoo is to place four of your tokens in a row on the gameboard.


  • Place the gameboard in the middle of the table along with the pad of paper, pencil, timer, clay, decoder goggles, and die.
  • Sort the cards by their type and place them in the middle of the table.
  • Each player chooses a color and takes all of the tokens of their chosen color. If there are more than four players, you will have to play on teams (see the team section below for more details).
  • The youngest player starts the game.

How to Play Cranium Cadoo

To start your turn you will roll the die. The die is used to determine whether you are going to play a solo or combo round.

Rolling the die
This player has rolled “solo” on the die. They will play a solo round.

Draw a card from the stack of cards corresponding to what you rolled on the die. You will read the card out loud so the rest of the players can hear you. The card tells you what challenge you need to try and complete on your turn. Most solo cards require the player to answer a trivia question. Most combo rounds require the current player to draw or sculpt something out of clay.

Solo card in Cranium Cadoo
For this solo card the current player has to pick which candy bar’s regular-size is the longest.

When you are ready to try and complete the challenge, you still start the timer.

If you complete the challenge/answer the question correctly in time you will get to place one of your tokens on the gameboard. See the Placing Tokens section below for more details. Should you fail to complete the challenge, you do not get to place a token.

Correct answer
The correct answer to the previous question is Butterfinger. If the player guessed correctly, they get to place one of their pieces on the board.

Your turn then ends whether you completed or failed the challenge. You will pass the die to the players on your left.

Placing Tokens

Your reward for completing a challenge depends on whether you completed a solo or a combo card.

If you complete a solo card, you get to place one of your tokens on the board. You can place the token on any space that doesn’t already have a token on it. Once you place a token on a space, no other player may place a token on that space.

Placing a token in Cranium Cadoo
Since the green player completed their solo card, they get to place one of their tokens on the board. The green player decided to place their piece on one of the center spaces on the board.

If you complete a combo card, you choose a space on the gameboard to place one of your tokens. You must place the token on an empty space. The player that shouted out the correct answer also gets to place one of their tokens on top of the token that you just placed. Both players can use this space to try and get four tokens in a row.

Placing a token after completing a combo card
The blue player drew the combo card and completed the challenge. They chose to place their token on one of the center spaces. The red player was the player that guessed what the blue player drew/sculpted. They place one of their tokens on top of the blue token.

There is one catch to choosing a space when you complete a combo card. You may not choose a space that would give you or the player who gave the correct answer four spaces in a row.

Winning the Game

The first player to get four of their tokens in a row wins the game. You can get four spaces in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. You can only place your fourth token in a row on a solo card. Players cannot win with a combo card.

Winning Cranium Cadoo
The green player has placed four of their tokens in a row. They have won the game.

Should the board fill up and none of the players are able to get four in a row, the players will count up how many tokens they played to the board. The player that played the most tokens on the board wins the game.

Determining who wins in a tie
None of the players were able to get four in a row on the board. The players placed the corresponding number of tokens on the board: green – 7, red – 5, yellow – 6, and blue – 6. The green player placed the most tokens so they have won the game.

Playing in Teams

If there are more than four players, the players have to divide into teams. Team can have any number of players.

On each turn one of the players on the team rolls the die.

If you roll solo, you and all of your teammates try to complete the challenge together.

If you roll combo, choose one player on your team to do the challenge. All of the players other than your teammates then try to guess. If the correct answer is given, your team and the guessing team get to place a token on the board. Your team gets to chose the space that the tokens are placed on.

Cranium Cadoo FAQ

If you have any questions about how to play the game, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.

Components for Cranium Cadoo


  • Gameboard
  • Secret Decoder Mask
  • Clay
  • 300 Cards
  • 40 tokens (10 of each color)
  • Die
  • Timer (around 50 seconds)
  • Drawing Pad
  • Pencil
  • Instructions

Year: 2001 | Publisher: Cranium Inc, Hasbro, Winning Moves Games | Designer: Forrest-Pruzan Creative | Artist: Damon S. Brown

Genres: Action, Drawing, Family, Party, Word

Ages: 7+ | Number of Players: 2+ | Length of Game: 45-60 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: Moderate

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For more board and card game rules/how to plays, check out our complete alphabetical list of card and board game rules posts.