Sort It Out Board Game Review

29 March 2013

Growing up I knew someone who insisted “board games” was spelled “bored games”, since they were something you played when you were bored.

It's an understandable mistake to make, and especially right now with the summer time upon us with winter weather still persisting, there's every chance there's a fair bit of boredom around UK homes and families.

So how about a board game like Sort it Out*(£18.99)? It's a board game in the classic case in that you've got to progress from one end of a physical game board to the other, but you do so not with the roll of a dice but rather with a combination of colour co-ordination and good old fashioned general knowledge.

The game board itself isn't too complicated, or too big. It folds out from the classic 10-inch squared box shape once to make a 20in by 10in playing surface, which makes it an ideal game for playing in the car on long journeys.

Designed for two to six players, the object is to get your coloured moving piece from the Start space a total of 47 spaces along a spirally laid out path to the Finish space. There's only one route to follow, but the interesting bit is in how you get there.

With everyone together on the Start square, the youngest player kicks off (according to the rules, though this isn't a crucial point). The player picks a Topic Card from the massive pile supplied, and reads out the question and the five answers to be “sorted out”.

Red Topic Cards involve listing the five items in a specific order (animals by the number of years they can live in captivity or British buildings by the year they were built, to quote two examples), while yellow cards see you having to select from the list of five which items conform to a specific list (fours-sided shapes and foods qualifying as seaweed).

Initially, each person moves forward however many spaces they've answered questions correctly, then it's the turn of the next player to the right.

However, from then on what happens to each player depends on the space they're on. Some involve moving forward a set number of spaces for each right answer, some send you backwards for each wrong answer, while some are a combination of both.

In practice, then getting from one end of the board to the other takes longer than expected, so each game takes longer than you might expect – although extra grey matter always goes a long way to speed things up.

As for the questions themselves, it's a combination of trivial and specialist knowledge, plus a large helping of everyday general knowledge.

The fact that the answers are given to you, and you just have to sort them, makes Sort It Out far more accessible than many knowledge-based games, and gives you the option of just guessing depending on what's on your square on the board, which adds an element of strategy.

It's also surprisingly accessible to both younger (it's recommended for ages 12 and up) and older agegroups, which is surprisingly difficult to get right.

On the down-side, the box has no dedicated slots for the huge number of Topic Cards, or any of the other supplied components. It all just sits in a main central well running the width of the box.

Also, the half-size of the board itself may suit playing in more cramped conditions or on smaller circumstances, but also makes Sort It Out feel like a “board game light” compared to your classic full-size square boards.

That's not a major downer, though, and overall Sort It Out is better than I thought it would be, and may be just the thing to keep young and old occupied as the long wait for Spring continues.

The Good

  • Board games are good, full stop. They stop the bored, at least and are great family bonding time.
  • The design is bold, bright and colourful
  • There aren't too many fiddly bits
  • The rules aren't hard to follow
  • The board is small, so could technically fit on a train table, or without small children around, on a plane's tray table.

The Bad

I suppose there could be a bit more of a space for the cards to be kept, a stand or two.

The Verdict

It's a nice game, perfect  for long cold evenings, and particularly suited to the braniacs and those who like puzzles and crosswords. It gives your brain the same kind of work out. It's not really suited for children, but gives families with older children something to do together too. All round, a good game, good purchase and should provide a good few hours of entertainment.

What do you think?

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