Careful and Subtle Communication: Crosstalk Review

Careful and Subtle Communication: Crosstalk Review

  • # of Players: 4-8+
  • Best # of Players: 6+
  • Play Time: 30 Mins
  • Ages: 10+
  • Designers: Brett Sobol & Seth Van Orden
  • Publisher: Nauvoo Games


Crosstalk is a party game that challenges players to guess a secret word or phrase before the opposing team. Each team has a player who knows the word or phrase, and offers a new clue each turn… just one catch, they have to give the clue to the opposing team.


  • Simple rules that are very easy to pick up
  • Fairly quick play time, with very minimal downtime
  • Extremely engaging
  • Can support groups of 8 or more
  • Very challenging


  • Requires at least four players
  • Many of the words and phrases are a little obscure, which could be frustrating for some players


Each round begins with the clue givers selecting a new word or phrase, either by agreement or by rolling a die. Each clue giver secretly writes a one-word clue for their team. All other clues are written on the public clue board. Each team has five chances to guess the selected word or phrase. The first team to score ten correct guesses wins the game.

My analysis

Crosstalk is a game were knowing your teammates is vital to your team’s success. Knowing how a teammate thinks will allow you to give a clue that will mean little to your opponents, but will nudge your team in the right direction. This makes the secret clue the most important piece of information in Crosstalk. A well thought out secret clue will give significance to all the public clues that follow. However, a poorly selected one can make it nearly impossible for a team to reach the correct conclusion.

Aside from the secret clue, there is only one other tool that clue givers have to communicate directly with their team: the hint board. Using a combination of symbols and lines the clue giver is able, once per turn, to attempt to show connections between clues and guesses or the significance of a clue or guess. Just like the secret clue given at the beginning of the round, if used properly this tool can be a major boost to your team. Used poorly… it can drag your team down into confusion.

Finally, the words and phrases that Crosstalk uses come from a wide variety of fields, interest, niches, and times. Because of this, It helps to have a good mix of players on your team, and it is extremely important for team members to discuss the clues that have been given.

My verdict

Crosstalk is a phenomenal casual party game. It is easy to pick up and it can support a large group of players. Additionally, the vast selection of words and phrases included offers unlimited replayability and variety.

That being said, I do have one complaint. Although the game is rated for ten and older, and the gameplay is simple enough for a ten-year-old, the words and phrases used in the game are often beyond the vocabulary or experience of younger players. There are a few that would be suitable for a ten-year-old, but these are not the norm. In fact, while playing the game for this review there were a few words and phrases that had my adult players stumped. I personally would not recommend this game for players younger than fourteen.

However, even with the above issue, I cannot recommend Crosstalk highly enough. It is a fast, fun, engaging, and oh so challenging game that is more than worth your time.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this game from the publisher to review.


If you like this game you may also like Cards Against Humanity.


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