Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Line Up

Line Up

Fall 2011 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: MindWare
Price: $24.95

If you combined the 1970s board game Guess Who? with one of the all-time classic board games Clue, you might get something like Mindware's new game Line Up. Played on a traditional game board that's reminiscent of Clue's crime location layout, Line Up tests your powers of observation and deduction.

The board is divided into six crime scenes-the Bakery, the Bank, the Car Lot, the Pet Shop, the Warehouse and the Wharf. Each location has sixteen suspect cards. Players roll the die to move from the Police Station in the center toward a crime scene. When they land on a crime scene, they draw the top suspect card, take five seconds to look the suspect's face over carefully, then place it face down. Players can't look at their face-down suspect cards again until they land back at the police station and request a line up.

When a player requests a line up, another player works behind a "Security Shield" to take the chosen suspect card and group it with other suspect cards from the same crime scene. Each suspect card in the lineup is attached to a plastic stands (one labeled "guilty" on the bottom for the originally drawn suspect card and the others labeled "innocent"). When the lineup is ready, the Security Shield is removed and the player who requested a lineup scrutinizes the suspects looking for the one he drew originally-the guilty one. The first player to identify correctly four suspects wins the game.

Don't let the novel rules of this game daunt you, because once you start, the concept clarifies and it gets fun. What you quickly find out is that the 16 suspects from any one of the crime scenes are all generally the same character-expect with minor alterations. Maybe the difference is one eyebrow too high, or a slightly different smile, or the haircut isn't the same. It's subtle stuff you may not notice during your five seconds to observe. But those who do notice end up the winners.

Line Up adds a detective twist to tried-but-true memory games.

Don Oldenburg   ©2011 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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