Here on Geeky Hobbies we have looked at quite a few party, dice and word games. I can’t recall ever playing a game though that has combined all three genres of games. Today’s game is VisualEyes a game that combines elements of party, word and dice games. In VisualEyes the players roll dice with different pictures on them and then try to form words and phrases using the pictures on the dice. While VisualEyes has an interesting concept that is fun for a while, the lack of replay value keeps it from being anything more than a very average game.
How to Play VisualEyes
Remove everything but the dice from the box. Each player takes some paper and a writing utensil. One player is designated as the scorekeeper.
Playing the Game
Starting with the youngest player and moving clockwise on future turns, the current player rolls the dice in the box. The box is then placed in the middle of the table and the box lid is removed so all of the players can see the dice. Before starting the round players look for the Fast/Slow dice to see what type of round they will be playing.
When playing either type of round the players will be trying to form words or phrases that use the pictures on the face up sides of the dice. For a phrase to count it has to be commonly used. When forming phrases players are only able to add things such as and, of, in, and so on to connect the pictures on the dice. When looking at the pictures players can use any words that reasonably describe the picture. You may not interpret any of the pictures as a color though.
In a fast play round the players will compete to try and form words/phrases using the dice. When a player has come up with a phrase, they announce the phrase out loud and then point to the two dice that form the phrase. Unless a majority of the players dispute the phrase, the player takes the two dice and places them in front of themselves.
The round continues until either all of the dice have been taken or all of the players agree that they can’t come up with any phrases utilizing the remaining dice. After the round ends each player scores one point for each pair of dice they claimed during the round.
All of the dice are put back into the box and the next round begins.
A slow play round begins with the timer being flipped over. In a slow play round each player writes down their phrases on their sheet of paper. Players can write down as many phrases as they want until the timer expires. When writing down answers players cannot write down basically identical phrases. For example a player can’t write down both the singular and plural form of a phrase.
When the timer runs out each player reads out their answers. The other players will determine if an answer is acceptable. If any other player matches a phrase, neither player will score for that phrase. Players will score one point for each acceptable answer that wasn’t given by another player.
Winning the Game
The game ends when one or more players have reached 20 points. If only one player has reached 20 points they win the game. If two or more players are tied, the tie is broken with another fast play round.
My Thoughts on VisualEyes
When I first saw VisualEyes it looked like a pretty interesting idea for a board game. Take a party game, add some dice, and combine it with some word game mechanics and you have created the basic idea behind VisualEyes. In VisualEyes you roll eighteen different picture dice to get the pictures that the players will use for the round. Players use the pictures on the dice to form common words and phrases with the objective being to form more words and phrases than the other players.
Having played over 600 different board games and having reviewed over 500 on this blog, I can comfortably say that I have played a lot of different board games. Having played so many games it feels like a lot of board games tend to blend together as many games end up using the same mechanics. While I wouldn’t say that VisualEyes is completely original, I can’t recall playing a game that plays quite like VisualEyes. The idea of rolling picture dice and using those pictures to create phrases is an interesting idea for a main mechanic. While it is far from the best game that I have ever played, I found it to be a solid enjoyable game.
One of the key components for party games is to be quick to play and accessible to new players. In both these regards VisualEyes does a pretty good job. I would say that it should only take minutes for most new players to learn how to play the game as the rules are pretty basic. Unless players struggle coming up with phrases I would guess that most games will probably last around 20-30 minutes.
While VisualEyes is pretty easy to teach to new players, I will say that it is a game that takes a while to fully grasp what you are trying to do. In your first couple of rounds, as you are trying to figure out how to play the game, you might not come up with a lot of phrases. VisualEyes is the type of game that you get better at the more you play it. Players who have more experience with the game or are really good at these type of word puzzles will have a pretty big advantage in the game. The more you play the game though the better you should get at it. I still see some players being naturally better at the game though.
As VisualEyes has two different modes, I am quickly going to look at the two modes.
Fast play not surprisingly relies on speed. While the main mechanic of the game is the same as slow play, this mode focuses a lot more on trying to think of words as quickly as possible. Once a die has been used for a phrase it is no longer available. Therefore you might be able to come up with quite a few phrases but if someone uses the die before you, there is nothing you can do. This mode basically feels like a word game mixed with a speed game. I had fun with the mode but it seems like a lot of the dice remain unused as no one can come up with a phrase that utilizes them. This means that the players need to come up with a house rule that determines when a fast play round ends as otherwise players could stare at the pictures forever and never be able to come up with phrases that use the remaining pictures.
On the other hand the slow play mode plays a lot more methodically. The goal in slow play is to try and come up with the most phrases. Instead of speed the key element of slow play is figuring out creative uses of the dice. Since any phrase that is given by more than one player is worth no points, players need to focus on phrases that the other players won’t come up with. This puts an emphasis on cleverly using the pictures. It is quite satisfying coming up with phrases that the other players are unable to come up with. The problem with slow play though is that it doesn’t give players enough time. The timer doesn’t give players enough time to analyze all of the different possibilities so players are just forced to write down answers as quickly as possible.
There is a lot that I liked about VisualEyes and yet I was still a little disappointed with the game. The biggest problem with the game is the fact that the game gets kind of repetitive pretty quickly. Even though there are 18 picture dice it is surprising how often you end up rolling the same pictures at the same time. Rolling the same pictures usually leads to all of the players using the same answers that were used in previous rounds. This becomes a pretty big problem in fast play rounds as only the first player to give the answer will get a point.
While VisualEyes is a fun game it is not a game that you can play for very long before it begins to feel like more of the same. Basically I can only see playing it for a short time before putting it away for another day. Before playing the game I thought it would have quite a bit of replay value with having so many dice. After playing the game though I question how much replay value the game actually has. I just don’t see being able to play the game a lot before it starts to feel like more of the same.
Outside of getting repetitive rather quickly, the biggest problem with VisualEyes is that like a lot of these type of party games it can lead to a lot of arguments. If you play the game with a lot of competitive players, the game could become miserable pretty quickly. I attribute this to the fact that the game doesn’t really have firm rules over what phrases should and shouldn’t count. While this shouldn’t be a big problem for players that aren’t that competitive, it will probably create quite a few arguments among competitive players as they fight over what should and shouldn’t count. If your group tends to get into arguments over these type of games, I don’t think VisualEyes is going to work for your group.
When I first looked at VisualEyes’ components I was actually pretty impressed. While you have to attach all of the stickers yourself, I liked that the game included wooden dice. The game also includes nineteen dice which is quite a few for this type of game. The main problem that I had with the game’s components is that the white paint on the dice keeping peeling/chipping off. I don’t know how much the previous owner played the game but the paint chipping off is annoying and makes a mess. Outside of this issue though, the components are quite solid.
Should You Buy VisualEyes?
VisualEyes has quite a bit going for it. The concept behind the game is pretty original as I can’t recall a game that I have played that has similar mechanics. The game is quick and easy to play and yet gives players enough challenge to remain satisfying. The problem with VisualEyes is that the concept get repetitive rather quickly. The same pictures seem to be rolled too often which leads to players just repeating the same phrases over and over again. VisualEyes could also lead to a lot of arguments with competitive groups as players fight over what phrases should and shouldn’t count. VisualEyes is a fun game but it just doesn’t have the lasting power to be anything more than a very average game.
If the concept doesn’t really appeal to you I don’t see VisualEyes changing your mind. If the concept does interest you though I think you can have some fun with the game. With the lack of replay value though I would recommend only picking up VisualEyes if you can get a good deal on it.