In 1992 a new telephone hotline was introduced in to the UK, a hotline that I’m sure was dreamt up to be a great idea when in actual fact it was a failure and a big waste of money. This was the Cones Hotline. Thankfully cones have been repurposed and are now STACKS OF FUN for family game nights with the party game Top It from Cheatwell Games.
Top It is a family tabletop party game for 2-6 players, aged 10+ with a playing time of around 30-45 minutes. Top It is a board game where you score points by naming things with certain letters and stacking cones to beat your fellow players, as fast as you can. A game where are the answers are just there, right on the tip of your tongue – the problem is getting your brain and mouth to work together to get them out and TOP another player’s answer! The object of the game is to be the first player to score 50+ points by placing your cones on the letter discs or, better still, on top of other players cones to steal all the points. It you give an answer to a question another player can TOP IT and potentially steal the points.
In the box:
- 76 Top It Topic Cards
- 60 Top It Cones (6 different colours)
- 18 Letter Discs
- 60 Second Sand Timer
- Scoring Pad
Setting up to play the game is quick and easy. Each player is given 10 coloured cones (each player has a different colour). There are 60 cones in the box so up to six people / teams can play. The names or initial of each player or team is written on the provided score pad at the top of the column that matches the colour of their playing cones. Then randomly select 9 letter discs and place them in a 3×3 grid on the table in reach of everybody (you can use either side, red or blue). Give the topic cards a good shuffle and place them on the table so that all players can reach them. That’s it for setting up. This only takes a minute or two, it took the kids longer to pick their snacks for our game night.
Game play is simple. There are 9 circular cards already on the table in a 3×3 grid pattern, each card has a different letter on it. One player picks up one of the topic cards and reads it out aloud so that all the other players can hear (topics could be fruits and vegetables, Disney characters, towns and cities in the UK, things with handles etc.). The 60 seconds timer is then flipped over and ALL PLAYERS (no turn taking is required) need to start naming things that match the topic card but can only begin with the letters on the 9 letter discs. For example, if the question was to name towns and cities in the UK, you would look at the letter discs and have to use those letters for the names – if there was an L disc you could say London. If something is named correctly and matches one of the letters on the letter discs, then that player places one of their cones on that disc (duplicate answers aren’t accepted). There is no point grinning yet as at this point you haven’t actually scored any points. If you said London and placed your cone, if another player then says Leicester, they can place their cone on top of yours, stacking them up, and then they are in pole position to win the points unless you or another player then said Liverpool and placed their cone on top of the others. When the timer expires, points are added up. Letter discs with a single cone on them are worth 1 point and players with a cone on that disc get 1 point each, if you have letter discs where the cones have been stacked up, only the player whose cone is at the top of the stack can get the points – but they get all of the points, if 5 cones are stacked then they get 5 points. You can also receive 5 bonus points if you get 3 of your coloured cones in a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) making it a game of strategy as well getting correct answers (getting three singles in a row could be worth than a single stack of cones). All points scored must be noted on the scoring pad. Turn over the letter discs and continue with the next round (swapping the discs out every two rounds). Play continues until a player reaches 50+ points and is the winner.
Overall, Top It is an extremely family-friendly fun game. It is very easy to set up, the rules are simple to understand, and it is very easy to play. The idea is simple, and the gameplay is fast, frantic and fun. But it is surprising how many brains seem to be wiped of all knowledge and you can’t think of ANYTHING that begins with one of the nine letter options available.
The game is great, and we loved the added dimension of being able to play strategically as well by looking to get 3 in a row or timing your answer just right to top another player’s cone. You must be watchful of the timer as you could find yourself losing out.
I think Top It really is a fun family game where language skills and speed of thought are a must. We played as a family of 2 adults and 2 children – a 10 and 13 year old, and the kids didn’t have any issues joining in as the questions are wide and varied and will suit all age groups. You would be surprised how many things can, or can’t, be named in 60 seconds. 60 seconds is a lot longer than you think when your mind goes blank, and you can’t even name something in your kitchen beginning with the letter T (whilst staring into the cup of tea in your hand or looking at the toaster).
We all enjoyed playing Top It as it was fast and exciting with lots of fun and laughter had by all. It is a great game to spend quality family time together, showing your competitive streak but most of all, enjoying yourselves and having fun (and no need to phone a hotline when a cone falls over).