Match 5–A Creative New Release by Synapses Games

Match 5 is a new roll and write by Synapses Games which they generously sent us to review. Synapses is known for their creative, colorful games and this is a beautiful addition to the collection that is different from the other roll and writes we own.

To play, you roll your dice and place them on category cards. When the timer starts, you have 3 minutes to write down a word or few that connect each card to one another. The write-in sheet has a handy color guide that makes it easy to keep track of what connections you need to make.

You want to try and get the same answer as your opponent(s) to score an additional point. If the group votes that your connection doesn’t make sense, you will not get any points at all.

In this household we love language and literature, so word play games are always welcome at our table. This game accepts creative answers which we loved. Pato had to make a connection with “sweet” and “fly” and he came up with “fruit fly”. For “sweet” and “smart” I wrote my answer as “Pato”.

There are two rounds and the only difference with the second round is that you cannot repeat your answers from the first round. This is a rule we liked that added the tiniest extra challenge without being overwhelming. In addition to re-rolling the dice, we chose to also flip the category boards for extra variety.

The time crunch is easy to underestimate at first. There were multiple times where one or the other of us was missing an answer because the timer ran out. It still feels like a perfect amount of time though where you can never dawdle but if you hurry you can get all the answers down.

Since every card has to match one another, sometimes the repetitive nature within a single round can be difficult. If you need to come up with connections for big + house, big + medicine, big + carnivorous it can feel like the same thing comes up a lot. However, this is also a positive, as it makes the game more challenging to think of answers that are different enough from one another.

Between rounds however, it feels like there is not too much repetition at all and each game is unique. The game has enough categories to make the combinations vary. This is a game that would also be nice as an expansion though to add even more possibilities!

Language Barrier Playability: This game feels language dependent if played as intended but if you really wanted to, you could go off of the dice symbols and try to make connections based on the pictures.

Replayability: There is a nice amount of categories and the game being quick and light makes it great for replay. This is a nice party type game but we also loved it as two players.

Artwork: The colors POP. Bright colors also assist players to figure out what color categories they need to be paying attention to as a quick visual cue. The dice colors match the category boards and have nicely ingrained images. It all comes in a very light box with beautiful almost graffiti style portraits on it. Even though they are bright the symbols and mats make them colorblind friendly.

Quality: Clean and nice. The dice having the ingrained images makes the images last, the category boards are thickly cut, and the sheets are good quality paper. You do unfortunately have to supply your own writing utensil. We wished it came with a set of pencils as other roll and writes usually do, but it wasn’t a deal breaker!

Strategy: Light strategy. You want to try and guess the same answer your opponent(s) have for more points but you don’t have a lot of time to think about it! You need to strive for quick and creative but don’t worry if you don’t get all the answers filled in! It is about having fun.

Instruction Manual: This game doesn’t need much instruction but the manual is light to match the game style. They give prompt examples that make it easy to learn the game in just a few minutes.

Organization: The box has the perfect amount of components to make it easy to put away and bring out–a timer, notepad, category boards and a baggy for dice.

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