There are two types of people in the world: those that love Ted Lasso, and those who haven’t seen it. (And if you’re in that second group, please do yourself a favor and watch it.) With the Ted Lasso Party Game, Funko is bringing the joy, one-liners, and delicious biscuits to your next game night.
Ted Lesso Party Game is a cooperative game for 2-6 players, ages 10 and up, and takes about 20 minutes to play. It’s currently available at Target for $19.99.
Ted Lasso Party Game was designed by the team at Funko Games.
Inside the box, you’ll find:
The components in the game are great, just as you’d expect from Funko.
When you first open the box, you’re immediately presented with a
soccerball football ball emblazoned with the AFC Richmond logo. It’s just the back of the game board, but it gives you a fantastic first impression of the game you’re about to get.
The other side—the side you use in the game—is nice and simple: a grass background of the
playing field pitch with the three zones in which you’ll play cards.
The five location cards: the locker room, Rebecca’s office, coach’s office, training pitch, and the Crown & Anchor all feature a beautiful photo from the show, with spaces representing the spots in which you’ll play cards.
The event cards likewise show still from the show. Let me pause here and note that this was actually a pleasant surprise. Most of the recent TV and movie-themed games—including lots of titles from Funko—have featured artwork, rather than actual photos. It’s not a big deal, but the photos here really nicely capture the show in a way that I think artwork wouldn’t have. The event cards are all events taken from things that happen in the show, with relevant impacts on the game.
The coach movers are Lasso and Coach Beard, and they do break the style used almost everywhere else in the game in that they are somewhat abstract representations of the two characters rather than photos. I’m not sure why they did it that way, but it’s not enough of an issue to detract from the game. I do like that the plastic bases are really substantial pieces, rather than the flimsy plastic clips that are the norm.
The character cards include all of the remaining main players from the show: Dani Rojas, Keeley Jones, Nate Shelley, Rebecca Welton, Jamie Tart, Sam Obisanya, and everyone’s favorite Roy Kent. (But. sadly, poor Higgins didn’t make the cut.) Each character is represented on two cards, with slightly different abilities on each. They all feature a photo of the character.
The believe cards are the deck that’s fun just to go through, as each card features a line from the show. Most are Lasso-isms, but there are a few lines from Beard in there as well (including his wonderful “you got the boot for puttin’ boots in the boot.” The quotes don’t have any impact on gameplay, and you probably won’t have time to read them while playing, so you should spend some time with them beforehand.
The cards are divided pretty evenly into four groups—Coaching, Quality Time, Jokes, and Inspirational Speech—along with biscuits, which are wild. Each group is boldly represented by a color—yellow for Coaching, red for Quality Time, blue for Jokes, and purple for Inspirational Speech. As the color is the main gameplay element, the design here is nice as you really don’t need to pay attention to anything but that color, although they also include an icon of a face that is either crying (blue), neutral (yellow), angry (red), or asleep (purple), so like any good game design, it doesn’t rely on color alone.
Worthy of note is that each deck of cards is a different size, meaning there’s no need to sort through them to separate the decks between games.
The biscuit box is a simple pink cardboard box that definitely didn’t have to be there. The game would play just as well with the trouble tiles in a pile on the table or in a bag, but here again, the designers show their own appreciation for the show, bringing one of the more iconic elements from the series into a simple game component.
The trouble tiles are cardboard, each with two of the face icons from the believe cards. That’s the gameplay element, but again, the little details that really elevate the game: the backs of the tiles look like the shortbread biscuits that Lasso cooks to win over his boss.
The game needed a die that could have values between 0-4, but given the repetition of some of the values, they really needed a d20. And they could have just thrown in a normal d20 with custom sides for the distribution of numbers they wanted (two 0s, four 1s, eight 2s, four 3s, and two 4s) and we would never have known the difference. But instead, they once again went above and beyond here and gave us a custom die in the shape of a
soccerball football. It’s one of my favorite game components of the year.
The final component listed above is a scoring marker, which is a simple red clip. But what does it clip to? Well, the real final component: the box itself. During setup, you pull out the box insert and reveal that the inside of the bottom half of the box is printed to look like Richmond’s stadium, which provides both a build-in dice tray and the scoring track along the top edge that the marker goes on. It’s the one other component that is artwork rather than a photograph, but it’s such a great use of the box that I’m not at all bothered by it.
The quality and creativity that went into the components would probably have been enough to make this a game I’m sure to show to everyone who comes over, but the gameplay is just as great.
The goal of the game is to work together to raise your team’s morale by the end of the fourth round.
Place the board and location mats in the center of the table. Make sure to leave space below each location to play cards. The order of the locations doesn’t matter.
Shuffle the event cards and place four in a face-down deck on the main board. Put the rest aside (but not back in the box, since you’ll need that.)
Shuffle the character and believe cards separately and put them in face-down decks.
Put the trouble tiles in the biscuit box and give it a shake or two to mix them.
Draw character cards from the deck, placing one face-up one each of the locations in the large space provided for that purpose. Make sure you have different characters at each location—if you draw the same character twice, simply put it on the bottom of the deck and draw again. Then, draw trouble tiles to match the number indicated on the character card (the grey rectangles in the blue box above the description of the character’s ability.) Place them on the spaces provided at the location.
Place Coach Lasso in the coach’s office and Coach Beard on the training pitch.
Remove the box insert and place the scoring clip on the zero spot on the scoring track. Put that awesome
soccerball football die in the box.
Open the app or set up something else with a two-minute timer.
“The game is played in
four quarters two halves four rounds.” (The “ soccerball football” thing is my running joke, but that one is straight from the rulebook.)
To start each round, the top event card is flipped over and read out loud. It’ll introduce some game effect that applies throughout the round, and the deck itself is the round counter: when you flip over the last event card, you’re on the last round. One player is the dealer (it doesn’t really matter who). They count out 24 believe cards and deal them as evenly as possible to the players—it’s OK if someone gets an extra card. No one should look at their cards yet.
Read each character’s ability out loud so everyone knows who does what. You should discuss potential strategies at this point as well because there won’t be time once you get started.
Start the timer. Everyone can look at their cards. The dealer goes first.
On each player’s turn, they pick a single color and play all of the cards of that color face-down in front of them. They must play all of the cards of a color. Biscuits are wild and can be played with any other color or on their own. They don’t have to be played all at once.
Now, you play each card that you laid down in one of three ways.
Be sure to pay attention to the traits on the characters and the special “this color is wild here” text on the locations as you play.
Once a player has played all of their cards of one color, play passes to the next player, who repeats the process. Keep going around, with each player playing all of their cards of a color, until either everyone has played their cards or the timer ends. It’s OK if one player runs out of cards before another player; simply skip them and keep going.
When everyone runs out of cards or the timer runs out, the round is over.
Moving from one location to the next, remove trouble tiles where the correct combination of believe cards was played. Return the tiles to the biscuit box, and discard the believe cards.
If you remove all of the trouble tiles from a character, you score their morale. Rebecca, Nate, and Keeley all have a set morale—simply score that. All of the players, though, have a number of die icons, so instead, you roll the die (inside the box, of course) and score the total morale. Discard that character card.
If you did not remove all of the trouble tiles from a character, remove any that you can, but leave the character card there.
If you did not play any believe cards at all to a character, add another trouble tile to them. If it’s the sixth tile, lose one morale instead (morale can’t drop below zero) but don’t add the tile.
If there are five or more believe cards played to self care, discard five of them to remove any one trouble tile. You can do this as many times as possible.
If the timer expired while any player still had cards, lose three morale.
Discard the top event card. Shuffle the believe deck again. Don’t include the cards in self care—those stay for the next round—but do include any played to any character, move a coach, or are still in players’ hands.
Then, deal a new character card to any location without one. Again, you can’t have two of the same character in play at the same time. Draw trouble tiles for any new characters. Leave the coaches where they are, and start a new round.
The game ends when either the players reach 45 morale, in which case they win, or the fourth round ends, in which case the players lose and Richmond is relegated.
Ted Lasso Party Game is GeekDad Approved!
For a lot of reasons, we here at GeekDad don’t review a lot of party games. We give the GeekDad Approved label to even fewer. While I can’t speak to all of my fellow writers, I can say that personally, I’m not a huge fan of most of them. They tend to be variations on a few themes, tend to require lots of players, and tend to lack a lot of the things that I–and we–like.
And all of that is what makes Ted Lasso Party Game so special, and definitely worthy of the GeekDad Approved label.
(I need to pause here and admit a bias: as you have probably figured out by now, I’m a very, very big fan of the show. Does that potentially cloud my judgment somewhat? Maybe?)
As mentioned above, the game has some of the best components you’re going to find out there at any price point, but especially not for $20. From the
soccer football die to the stadium box/dice tray to the biscuit box, the game shows so much care and so much devotion to getting the game right. I’ve played and reviewed a lot of games based on TV shows and movies—at one point, I thought about starting a series to review just that category of game but realized that it would be a series that ran into the triple digits. Any of the good ones invoke the feel or theme of the property, but few seem to have been done with as much love and care as this game. The game’s unnamed designers clearly love the show as much as I do (and as much as everyone else who watches it does—did I mention that you really, really need to watch it?) The designers took Coach Lasso’s advice—“don’t you dare settle for fine”—to heart and produced something truly great.
But there are plenty of games out there with perfectly-designed components that aren’t very fun to play, but this isn’t one of those games. No, there’s no deep strategy. No, you aren’t going to have the Ted Lasso Party Game World Championships at Gen Con 2023. No, it’s not going to win Spiel des Jahres.
But what it will do is entertain you and your friends for a half hour. And while it’s easy to get lost in this hobby and forget this, the reason why we play games (or at least, the reason why we should be playing games) is to have fun. And you will certainly have fun playing Ted Lasso Party Game.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.
This post was last modified on August 11, 2022 8:33 pm
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