How ya doin? In 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, Apple TV+ released the show Ted Lasso about an American football coach from Kansas taking over the head job for an English football team in the Premier League. Based on a series of advertisements for the Premier League on NBCSports, Ted Lasso exceeded expectations and brought a story filled with laughter, heart, and some amazing character development. Ted Lasso: Party Game aims to take the spirit of the show and immerse the players in a world of Lassoisms and football glory. Whether it accomplishes that goal or not is a bit iffy.
Ted Lasso: Party Game is a fast paced cooperative game for 2-6 players from designer Prospero Hall and publisher Funko Games. Played over four quarters, I mean two halves, I mean four rounds, the goal of the game is to play “Believe” cards to different locations in order to raise the morale of players and staff from the AFC Richmond team. Score 45 morale points by the end of round 4 and you win the game!
At the start of the game, five locations such as the locker room and the Crown and Anchor pub are placed around the table. Each location receives a unique character card indicating a scoring condition, trouble tiles to be placed on the location, and a special ability. Trouble tiles have two emojis each that correspond to the cards players will use during their turns. Players must eliminate trouble tiles to activate the scoring condition. Some scoring conditions earn the players straight morale points, while others will require the roll of a football die before an award. Each character also has conditions listed on the card that alter the location, such as making certain cards wild when played, requiring extra trouble tiles to come out in certain conditions, and even adding scoring bonuses.
Each round, players deal out 24 Believe cards that are divided into 5 different colors. These Believe cards each have a symbol matching the trouble tiles on the locations and a quote that Ted Lasso uses in the show. A blue Jokes card will help a crying emoji and may say “I would not bet on that. I mean, unless you want to win a buttload of money,” and a yellow Coaching card helps a skeptical emoji and may say, “I do love a locker room. Smells like potential.” On their turn, players pick a color and reveal all the cards of that color in their hand. They then use the cards to take actions: Be Kind, Move a Coach, or Self Care. If a coach is at a location, you can Be Kind and play a Believe card to the character at that location in hopes of negating Trouble tiles. You can discard a card to Move a Coach to a new location. Self Care allows you to discard a card to a common discard pile. At the end of the round, players can discard 5 cards from the Self Care pile to remove any one trouble tile from a location. Once the active player uses all their revealed cards, the next player takes a turn.
At the beginning of each round, a special event card is drawn that affects how the round is played. All of the events are themed to the show: “First Day Jitters” requires an extra trouble tile to be played to each location while “Biscuits with the Boss” allows red “Quality Time” cards to be played straight to the card for morale points. Players are then dealt a hand of face down Believe cards.
A two minute timer runs down for each of the rounds and the game has a special app that adds some background noise and ambiance. The round progresses from player to player until all cards have been played or the time runs out. At the end of each round, trouble tiles are added to any characters at locations without Believe cards. Players can also remove trouble tiles if the matching cards are placed at the location. The Self Care discard deck is then taken care of. If all trouble tiles are removed from a character, the players score morale based on the character card. Footballers will roll a soccer dice and apply any score bonuses. Any character cards that were scored from locations will be replaced and trouble tokens distributed before the next round. If the timer goes off and any players still have cards in their hand, the team loses 3 morale. At the end of 4 rounds, if the players have reached 45 morale points, they win.
The production value of the game is of the high quality you come to expect from Prospero and Funko Games. The cards are high quality, the soccer ball die is a lot of fun, and the color palette of the cards is aesthetically pleasing. Rather than make artistic renderings of the players and staff from the show, the cards feature photographs from the show with only the Coach Lasso and Coach Beard standees getting the photoshop treatment. Another fun feature is using the bottom of the game box as a dice tray for the morale rolls and the edge of the box for the morale tracker using some small plastic markers. I’ve enjoyed when games integrate the box into the gameplay to help mitigate even more cardboard and plastic. Another fun touch is the use of Rebbeca’s daily biscuit box to house the trouble tiles. One unnecessary addition is the timer app. The functionality is sometimes glitchy and all it does is add background noise. In my opinion, if you have an app for a game, make sure it is essential to gameplay or why include it?
The gameplay of Ted Lasso: Party Game isn’t going to win any awards. The game is quick and full of energy. Players will need to discuss some strategy before starting the timer, and not knowing what is in your hand until the timer starts can make that tricky. The “think fast, act fast” nature of the gameplay makes it exciting. However, the novelty quickly wears off. The game does have a pretty low level of entry and could be a great introductory cooperative game for those who are not big gamers. More serious gamers will definitely be wanting something more. Fans of the Ted Lasso series will enjoy seeing characters from the show and reading the Lasso quotes on the cards between rounds, because there sure isn’t time as the timer counts down.
Ted Lasso Party Game
- BOARD GAME
- TABLE TOP
A fast-paced cooperative game in the world of Ted Lasso that brings the energy, but lacks the depth and emotional staying power of the source material. Good for a few laughs and an entry level difficulty to help draw in new gamers.
- Themes woven well throughout the game
- Perfect for fans of the TV show
- A fun, quick game to get the night started
- Novelty runs out quickly
- The app is unnecessary to the game