Celebrities (also known as Celebrity or Lunchbox) is a party game where several teams, generally made up of two players each, play against each other to guess as many celebrity names as possible before time runs out. The game takes place in three rounds of increasing difficulty.
It sounds simple, but Celebrities is a great deal of fun. We've never played a game in which players didn't spend much of the time laughing.
The published game Time's Up is based on Celebrities and is the version we usually play.
4 to 12 players, in teams of 2. We enjoy Celebrities most with 6 or 8 players.
All that's needed to play Celebrities are several slips of paper (3x5 index cards are perfect) and pens or pencils for each player.
The goal is for your team to guess more of the celebrities than any other team over three rounds.
Before play begins, each player receives several slips of paper (usually 5 or less) and writes the name of a different celebrity on each. The names must be kept secret. All of the names are then placed in a hat, a bowl, or a similar receptacle. (If you use index cards, they can simply be shuffled and then stacked face down.)
Legal names can be pop culture figures (e.g., Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper), sports stars (e.g., Aaron Rodgers, LeBron James), fictional characters (e.g., Hercule Poirot, Lieutenant Horatio Caine), famous animals (e.g., Lassie, the Geico Gecko), or any other name that is well known to the players. (An interesting variant is to use titles -- such as books, films and television series -- rather than names.) Some players like to limit how obscure a name can be, perhaps by requiring that at least half of the players know who the person is.
After all the names are placed in the hat, the players are split into two or more teams of two players each. (It's also possible to play in teams of three or four.) Randomly choose one team to go first.
The first team chooses one player to give clues. One of the other teams keeps time, and the clue-giver has 60 seconds in which to get his teammates to guess as many of the names as possible.
Gameplay - Round One
In the first round, the clue-giver has few restrictions. He can say anything, as long as it's not part of the name or a direct reference to the name.
Example: For Aaron Rodgers, you can say, "He's the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers." You cannot say, "He's the football player known as A-Rod." It is also illegal to give clues such as, "His name begins with 'A'."
Whenever a name is guessed correctly, the clue-giver sets that piece of paper aside and draws another from the hat, continuing until time expires or there are no names left in the hat. If an illegal clue is given, that piece of paper is set aside and another name is drawn.
When time expires, the team is given one point per correct guess, which can be marked simply by collecting the correctly guessed names. Some players also like to subtract one point for each illegal clue.
Keep all of the correctly guessed names out of the hat, but return any that were set aside due to illegal clues. The next team then picks a clue-giver, and play continues until there are no more names in the hat. (Each member of a team must be the clue-giver before anyone is clue-giver for the second time.)
When the last name is guessed, make a note of which team is guessing and how much time remains.
Gameplay - Round Two
After the first round ends, the scores are noted and all of the names are returned to the hat.
Starting with the team whose turn was interrupted at the end of the first round, the second round proceeds in the same way as the first with one major exception: The clue-giver is limited to only one word (which can be repeated). Gestures are also permitted, as are sound effects.
Gameplay - Round Three
Starting with the team whose turn was interrupted at the end of the second round, the third round proceeds in the same way as the second with an additional exception: The clue-giver now cannot speak at all. Only gestures and sound effects are permitted.
After all the names have been guessed in the third round, the scores from all three rounds are added together. The team with the most points wins.