How to Play
To begin the game press the New Game button on the phone and place it in the tray in the center of the gameboard. Give each player one Speakerphone, Share A Secret and Mom Says Hang Up! card and place any extras back into the game box. Shuffle the photo cards and deal three faceup to each player. Place the rest of the photo cards facedown into the draw section of the tray.
A player’s turn consists of four steps:
- Pick one of your photos cards that you want to call.
- Call the number printed on the card.
- Eliminate potential secret admirers based on the information gained from the boy you called.
- Discard the photo card that you called and draw a new card from the draw pile. If you draw the card of a boy that you have already called, place that card at the bottom of the draw pile and draw a new card.
Each time a player calls one of the boys, they will get information about what does not pertain to the secret admirer. Some of the boys won’t give you any relevant information.
When a player calls a boy they should mark it off on their clue sheet so they don’t call the same boy another time. The type of clue that a boy will give you is dependent on where their name is located on the clue sheet.
After receiving a clue from one of the boys you need to cross off the boys that the clue eliminated. Players look at the gameboard for information about each boy to determine which can be eliminated. Each boy is represented on the gameboard by the silhouette that their picture is underneath. Relevant information for that boy is colored in on the picture so anything that is in black are not relevant clues.
Occasionally you will receive a call from your friend that will tell you one of the boys that are not your secret admirer. When these calls come all of the players mark them down on their clue sheets. If the friend says it is not Bob though she could be lying since Bob is her ex-boyfriend.
Each player gets three special cards at the beginning of the game that gives you a special ability. A player must play their card after a player has announced who they are going to call but before they begin calling them. The first card played in front of the current player is the card that is used and any other cards that a player wanted to play are returned to them.
The speakerphone card forces the current player to put the phone on speakerphone which means that all of the players will hear the clue given by that boy. When a speakerphone card is played the player must press the speaker button (0 button) before dialing the rest of the number. Once the card has been played it is removed from the game.
The Share A Secret card forces the current player to share the clue with the player who played the card. The boy is called like normal but the phone is held so both the current player and the player who played the card gets to hear the clue. After the card is played it goes to the player who had to share the clue so they can use it on a future turn.
The Mom Says Hang Up card is used as a card to make the current player lose their turn. This card can be played at any time and makes the current player unable to call a boy or make a guess of the secret admirer. Once the card has been played, it is removed from the game.
Winning the Game
When a player thinks that they know who the secret admirer is, they can make a guess. Before revealing who they are guessing, they need to allow other players to play their Mom Says Hang Up cards. If no one plays one of the cards, the player reveals their guess to the other players. The card corresponding to the guess is found. If the card is owned by another player, that player draws a new card to replace the card that is taken. To make a guess the player presses the guess button (# button) and then dials the boy’s number. If the player guessed right, that player wins the game. If they guessed incorrectly, the game continues like normal with the player who made the incorrect guess still in the game.
Being a 20 year old male you might be wondering why I have Electronic Dream Phone and why I ended up playing it. The answer to the first question is that I recently found the game at a rummage for $1 and that the game is rarer than you would expect thus making it quite valuable. With the game being rare I wanted to try it before I sold it since who knows if I would ever find it again in a complete condition. The other reason I wanted to try Electronic Dream Phone is that I heard that the game is not nearly as bad as you would expect and I wanted to see if that was actually true. After playing the game I have to admit that the game is not as bad as you would expect but it still isn’t a great game.
Electronic Dream Phone was a 1991 children’s game that was made for young girls. In the game you and the other players need to try and figure out which boy has a crush on you (it was John in the game I played). These boys aren’t really picky though since they just so happen to have a crush on all of the players. So to find out which boy has a crush on you, you need to call up all the boys around town to find out information about your secret admirer. It is kind of weird that everyone knows who has a crush on you and yet none of them will just tell you their name and instead make you play a guessing game. I guess that would make for a terrible game though if they just gave you the answer. What makes this whole situation even weirder is that all of the boys seem to have the exact same voice so maybe one of the boys is just pretending to be everyone in town.
So basically Electronic Dream Phone is the girl’s version of Clue from the early 1990s. Electronic Dream Phone plays a lot like Clue except that it is much easier. There are not as many different combinations as there are in Clue and the game is regularly giving you free clues at the beginning of the game since it must not think you are smart enough to figure it out on your own. That is when your friend is not sabotaging you and lying about her crush on Bob. This game was obviously meant for children and unless you are terrible at deduction games it won’t challenge any adults.
Since this game is made for young girls you would think that it was terrible since most games made for young boys and girls are terrible. While it is far from a great game it is not as bad as you would expect. It is not great but it at least has some mechanics to it and makes you think a little. The game is too simple and doesn’t offer much of a challenge but you can do a lot worse than Electronic Dream Phone.
While it is far from necessary and pretty much just a gimmick, the phone mechanic is kind of charming. This is a game that oozes early 1990s. From the artwork to the guys outfits and haircuts, this game is classic early 1990s. Some people could argue that the game is kind of sexist since it insinuates that girls should only care about boys liking them and the game is kind of insulting to the players intelligence based on all of the free clues that the game gives you. While it is not a great game I can see why women that played the game as a child would have fond memories of the game and would want to play the game again as an adult.
Electronic Dream Phone has its’ problems though with the biggest problem being the Mom Says Hang Up cards. These cards are just stupid since they punish a player that figures out the secret admirer earlier in the game. In the game I played I ended up figuring out the secret admirer a round or two before the other players. This meant that for the next two turns my turn was skipped since everyone waited until the end of the game to use the cards. If all of the players figure out who the secret admirer is at about the same time, the winner will be the player who gets lucky and doesn’t get a Mom Says Hang Up card played against them. There really is no reason to play one of these cards until a player wants to make a guess. These cards just feel like a stall tactic that mess with the game too much.
Speaking of luck, it plays a bigger role in Electronic Dream Phone than most deduction games. The problem comes from being dealt cards which decide which boys you can call. You may want to find out about locations but if you don’t get a card that talks about locations, you can’t find out about them. This wouldn’t be such a big deal but some of the clues are more valuable than others. I think the location clues are the most valuable since they have the potential to eliminate up to four boys while a lot of the other clues can only eliminate two or three boys. Unless someone is terrible at deduction games, the player that is luckiest is going to end up winning the game.
Finally Electronic Dream Phone has no punishment for guessing wrong in the game. The only punishment for guessing wrong is that you don’t get any more information on your turn other than knowing it isn’t the boy you thought it was and all of the other players also get this information. When you are down to two or three choices you might be better off just guessing one of them since it will eliminate an option or you will win the game. At the very least the game should make you lose a turn if you guess wrong.
Overall the components are pretty good for a 1990s Milton Bradley game. The phone is well made and despite being a gimmick has its charms. I have to give the game credit that the phone is more durable than I thought since the phone had corroded batteries in it when I purchased it and it still works fine which is more than you can say for most electronic games. To add to the game’s somewhat insulting tone towards its’ players, the instructions have to repeatedly mention that the phone is not a real phone if that wasn’t obvious enough. I give the game credit for the gameboard since it was clever using colors to make the distinguishing characteristics stand out. Some deduction games have a problem with determining what applies to each suspect. That is not the case with Electronic Dream Phone. Otherwise the components are what you would expect. I do have to say though that the box is way too big since it could have been half the size if they just folded the gameboard one more time.
Looking at Electronic Dream Phone you would think that it would be a terrible game. It is far from great but it could have been a lot worse. Electronic Dream Phone is a decent deduction game even though it is too easy. The phone while gimmicky is kind of charming at the same time. The game has some issues that prevents it from being anything more than an average game but people that have fond memories of the game should still enjoy the experience.
If you hate deduction games, have no memories of Electronic Dream Phone, or think the game looks stupid you aren’t going to like it. If you have fond memories of the game, I think you will get something out of the game. Otherwise if you like deduction games or you can find the game for cheap I would recommend picking it up since it is worth quite a bit of money after all.
If you would like to purchase Electronic Dream Phone you can purchase it on Amazon here.