How to Play Outburst

By James Holloway
The family that plays together...

The guessing game is a party classic, calling on players to display knowledge, intuition and quick thinking. Outburst adds a new element to this traditional formula -- frantic shouting. Two teams compete to see which can guess a greater number of answers inspired by a particular topic. The game is fast-paced and unpredictable, with players calling out answers as fast as they can.

Setting Up the Board

Before play begins, shuffle the topic cards and place them in the center of the playing area. Divide the players into two teams; designate one player who will take on the role of the MC, who guides the game and tries to keep the players on track. The designated player can be from any team, and will still participate in the game. Each team receives a scoring token and three pass tokens. Teams roll the included dice to determine who will go first.

Starting the Turn

Starting with the winner of the die roll, each team chooses a topic card. The MC reads out the topic; the ten correct answers are printed on the card but you cannot see them until you place the card into the card reader. For example, the topic of a card might be "things you say to a dog." The players decide whether they want to attempt the topic or pass. If they pass, they spend a pass token and draw another card; the original topic is then placed to one side to be taken by the next team. A member of the opposite team takes the topic card and places it in the card reader, making the answers visible. The active team rolls the dice to determine which answer will be their bonus answer, as well as another die to determine how many points the bonus answer is worth.

Guessing the Answers

After starting the timer, the active team now begins shouting out possible answers to the question. The scorekeeper from the other team uses the switches on the card reader to record which of the answers they've guessed. For instance, the topic "things you say to a dog" might include "sit" or "good boy" as answers. Only answers printed on the card count as correct answers; while some topics have more than ten correct answers, only the printed answers count for points. When the timer runs out, the team receives points equal to the number of correct answers, plus any points for the bonus answer. Play then transfers to the opposing team, who take their own turn with a new card.

Winning the Game

The first team to circle around the scoring track twice, accumulating 60 points, is the winner. Each team gets an equal number of turns, however, so if the first team to play wins, the opposing team receives a last turn as a chance to tie the game.

Outburst Variations

Like many classic board games, Outburst has spawned a number of variations, including a Junior version with kid-friendly topics. Some of these versions add new modes of play, such as Ultimate Outburst's ReverseBurst mode, in which teams hear the answer choices and have to guess the topic heading.

About the Author

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.