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BRAIN STORM by Haim Shafir is a 2-10 player game of finding phrases by connecting pictures.

It is published by AMIGO and if you happen to obtain the German language version the English rules can be found on their website AMIGO

BRAIN STORM is a very simple game and there are no actual Right or Wrong answers, only the collective decisions of the players to agree or disagree with a player's call out.

The cards show all manner of everyday items, nicely illustrated so they are very clear to everyone what the drawings depict.

The deck of cards are shuffled and placed face down near the centre of the table. One player flips over nine cards face up into a 3 x 3 grid - this doesn't have to be a tidy grid, just 3 rough rows (or columns) of 3 cards, all cards easily visible to every player.

Because the game isn't played in Turns or Rounds, all players play at the same time, it is a good idea to have a different player flip over the cards each time they are needed - which is regularly because as cards are removed they are replaced - and if one player is controlling flipping cards over from the deck then they are a second or so behind the other players at looking at ther grid.

The idea of the game is to call out a phrase or saying, something most people will have heard of, an object etc, using at least two cards but as many as you can if you can link them; linking two cards is easy and keeps the game moving fast. The illustrations give you the basic idea for the phrases but you have a fair amount of leeway on your call out. For example, if two of the cards on the table are a Clock and some $Dollars you can call out the phrase "Time is Money", if there is a Stewpot and a Heart you can stretch them to be "Favourite Food" (as in I Potroast). The other players decide whether to accept your call outs and if they do then you take the cards and keep them face down in a stack in front of you. When the deck is exhausted the game ends, players count up the number of cards they have won and the player with the most cards is the winner.

It really is that easy and simple, and because of this simplicity is also a fun family game. When we play we try to make it a little more difficult by looking for obscure connections or amusing links rather than always call out the obvious. This doesn't make it a "gamer's game" but it can be a little more "adult" especially if played by like-minded idiots.

I have selected a few pairs of cards which you can think on and see if you come up with the same answers I did (I have given my answers below): Remember the answers can be tenuous as well as obvious.

Chain   +    Shaking Hands

Lion      +     Burger

Light Bulb    +    Glass of Beer

Fish (in a  Net)  +   Eye

Snake    +    Ladder

Red Pepper   +   Man wrapped in scarf, with thermometer in his mouth

Sun going down over the Mountains    +  Black Cat 

Linking Hands 

Leonberger  (a breed of dog)

Lite Beer

Fish Eye (as in a camera lens)

Snakes & Ladders

Hot & Cold

Mountain Cat

You have to see the connections fast and be quick to call out. Quite often when we play one or more players call out at the same time and, believe it or not, what they call out is regularly totally different from each other and regarding different pairs or sets of cards. If the same card or cards is/are called out but with different connections (or if only one of the cards called out by multiple players is the same) then all players have to decide between them which connection they like the most and award that player the cards. This will then affect the other call outs (if they have used a card that has now been won).


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015