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Time’s Up! AKA Celebrities Board Game Review and Rules

Time’s Up! AKA Celebrities Board Game Review and Rules

One of the oldest party games is the game Celebrities. Celebrities is a game where each player writes down some names on sheets of paper. Players then take turns trying to describe the people to get their teammates to guess them. With how popular the game is there have been many people that have tried to make their own versions of the game. One of these games is Time’s Up! which is generally regarded as the ultimate version of Celebrities. Time’s Up! is a solid party game but it doesn’t really do anything to distinguish itself from so many other party games.

How to Play | My Thoughts | Should You Buy? | Comments

How to Play Time’s Up! AKA Celebrities


  • Divide into teams. It is recommended that teams consist of two players.
  • Choose whether you are going to use the yellow or blue sides of the cards.
  • Randomly choose 40 of the cards and deal them out evenly between all of the players. Also give two additional cards to each player.
  • Each player chooses two of the cards from their hand to discard. The rest of the cards form the Deck of Fame. The Deck of Fame is then shuffled.
  • Choose which team will start the game.

Playing the Game

Round One

One of the player’s on each team will be the clue giver while the rest of the players will try to guess who the player is trying to describe. This role rotates each turn. The timer if flipped over and the game begins.

The clue giver flips over the top card from the Deck of Fame. Their objective is to get their teammate(s) to say the name printed on the card matching the color chosen at the beginning of the game. In the first round the clue giver can act, make noises or describe the person listed on the card.

Card for Time's Up

This player has to get their teammate(s) to guess the name Gene Roddenberry. The clue giver should give clues about Gene Roddenberry being the creator of Star Trek.

The only restrictions regarding clues are as follows:

  • You cannot use a part or a variation of the person’s name. Bill in exchange for William for example.
  • You can give rhyming clues but you can’t use the actual word that the name rhymes with.
  • You cannot spell out or give away specific letters found in the person’s name.

If the clue giver breaks any of these rules, their turn ends immediately.

The clue giver will keep giving out clues until their teammates guess the name. The clue giver is not allowed to pass in the first round. Their teammates can guess as many names as they want but they must say the whole name for it to count. Any words inside () are optional. If their teammates guess the name, the player sets the card to the side and takes the next card and begins giving clues for the new person.

The player’s turn ends when the timer runs out. All cards that they were able to get their teammates to guess are kept in front of the player as they will score points for them at the end of the round. The deck is then passed to the player giving clues on the next team.

The first round ends when all of the cards have been guessed by one of the players. Each team will count up how many cards they collected and will score that many points in the first round. All of the names from the round are then read out loud so all of the players know which names will be in the second and third rounds. Any names that players aren’t familiar with can be looked up in the glossary at the back of the instructions. All of the cards are then returned to the deck and shuffled for the second round.

Round Two

In round two most of the rules remain the same as round one. Players take turns giving clues to their teammates to get them to guess the names on the cards. The names used in the second round will be the same as the first round.

There are three differences in round two. First the clue giver can only use one word in their description of the person. The player can repeat this word as often as they want. They can also act out the person’s name. If the player ever says more than one word, they have to put the card to the side. The second difference is that the player’s teammate(s) can only make one guess for each card. Finally the clue giver can choose to pass on a card. All cards that are passed on, were guessed incorrectly or the clue giver used two words for; are shuffled back into the deck for the next team’s turn.

Round two ends when all of the cards have been collected by one of the teams. Players count up their cards and score the corresponding number of points. The cards are then shuffled again for the third round.

Round Three

Round three is played the same as round two except for one change. In round three the clue giver can say no words. They can only act out the celebrity’s name. Their teammates only get one guess at the name and the clue giver can pass on any names. At the end of the round each player counts up how many points they scored in the round.

End of Game

The game ends after the third round. Each team counts up how many points they earned throughout the game. The team that scored the most points wins the game.

My Thoughts on Time’s Up! AKA Celebrities

So let me begin by saying that I decided to combine a review of Time’s Up! with Celebrities because when you break down both games they are basically the same game. Time’s Up! and Celebrities are played exactly the same. The only difference between the two games is that Time’s Up comes with cards that feature the celebrity names while Celebrities has each player come up with their own names. Time’s Up has 432 cards (864 names) which I give the game credit for. You can get a lot of games out of Time’s Up! before you are going to have to repeat names. Other than the cards though Time’s Up! offers nothing that you can’t get from Celebrities. If you don’t really care about the cards there is no reason not to just stick with the Celebrities since it is free after all.

If you have ever played Celebrities before you can basically skip the rest of this review. If you like Celebrities you will like Times Up! and I would recommend picking it up if you want a bunch of cards that you can use instead of having to come up with your own names. On the other hand if you don’t like Celebrities there is no reason to think you will like Time’s Up! since it is the exact same game. For those of you who have never played Celebrities before check out the rest of the review for my thoughts on the game.

Basically the whole premise between Time’s Up/Celebrities is to describe/act out different celebrity names in order to get your teammates to guess them. While there are quite a few party games that share a similar premise, the games are fun in a party setting. The game is quick to teach to new players and the biggest challenge is actually knowing who the different celebrities are. While children shouldn’t have any troubles understanding how to play the game, I would recommend only playing it with teenagers/adults. Children probably won’t know who a decent amount of the celebrities are and might have trouble describing them.

I think the best thing about Time’s Up! is that at times it can actually be pretty funny. Most of the humor comes from players being on different wavelengths. A player could describe the celebrity in a way where everybody but the person who truly matters can figure it out. This can be pretty funny when they start throwing out guesses that are far from the actual answer. It can also be kind of funny when players try to describe a celebrity that they don’t know and end up giving clues that have nothing to do with the celebrity.

While I appreciate that Time’s Up! gives players a lot of names to play the game with, this is both good and bad for the game. On the positive side it will save players quite a bit of time since you don’t have to waste time coming up with your own celebrity names and writing them down. This also helps players that have a hard time coming up with names when they play Celebrities. On the negative side though this leads to some problems where you likely won’t know who some of the celebrities are. This can lead to some of the best laughs in the game as someone tries to describe a celebrity that they don’t know but it can also be frustrating. Time’s Up! actually gives older players a pretty big advantage since it includes names of quite a few people that younger players have never heard of before. I would say that at least ten of the 40 names in the game that I played I either didn’t know at all or I just knew their name. I do appreciate that the game includes a glossary so you can look up the names of the people you don’t know though.

In the first round this presents challenges but you can overcome them. For the names you don’t know you can come up with ways to get your teammates to guess them by breaking down the name into different parts. You can then give clues for each part of the name and then have your teammates put the different parts together. The problem comes in the second and third round. Being able to describe a person you don’t know with as many words as you want is hard but it is even harder to use only one word or no words at all. At this point in the game players basically have to remember all of the names from previous rounds as they otherwise have no chance of getting the names with only one word clues or gestures.

While your skill describing and acting out the names is the more obvious skill that determines how well you will do in the game, remembering the names might be just as important. If you can remember most of the forty names you will have a huge advantage in the last two rounds. It is really hard to guess a name based on one or fewer words if you can’t remember what the potential options are. If you can remember all of the names you can make educated guesses even if your teammate didn’t give you good clues. Since the players are using the same names in all three rounds, players can try to reuse clues used in the prior rounds. In most cases that is the best way to get players to guess names in the second and third round.

Of the three rounds I have to say that I enjoyed the first round the most. While the mechanic of explaining people/things is far from a unique mechanic, it is still fun. The second round is okay. You can actually get a decent amount of the names without that much trouble if you can remember a lot of the names along with the clues used in the first round. The names of the celebrities that you don’t really know though can still be pretty hard. The worst round though is round three. I have never been a fan of Charades and the third round of Time’s Up! is no better. I have never been very good at Charades since it usually ends up making me look like a fool.

Time’s Up! and Celebrities are fine party games but I think both are overrated. On Board Game Geek Time’s Up! is one of the 400 highest ranked games of all time. It doesn’t deserve to be rated that high in my opinion. It is a solid party game but it is nothing special either. It really doesn’t do anything different from so many other party games where I don’t see why it is ranked above all of these other games.

Should You Buy Time’s Up! AKA Celebrities?

Basically Time’s Up and Celebrities are the same game. If you have ever played Celebrities before you already know what to expect out of Time’s Up. Both are solid but unspectacular party games. Basically the games have you trying to get your teammates to guess different celebrity names. In the first round you can use as many words as you want. In the second round you can only use one word. In the third round you can only act out the names. I had fun with Time’s Up as some of the clues and guesses can be quite funny. Time’s Up has some problems though. A decent amount of the names will be of celebrities that all of the players are not familiar with. This makes the second round quite difficult and the third round almost impossible unless the players are good at charades. Your enjoyment of Time’s Up and Celebrities will come down to how much you like these type of party games.

Basically my recommendation on Time’s Up comes down to how much you like Celebrities. If you don’t really care for the game, there is no reason why you would like Time’s Up either. If you don’t really need the pre-made cards you also don’t really need to purchase Time’s Up as you can just play the public domain Celebrities and write down your own names. If you would rather have a set of celebrity name cards to use instead of having to come up with your own though, I think you will enjoy Time’s Up.

If you would like to purchase Time’s Up you can find it online: Amazon, eBay