Who hasn’t played this game at one time or another, without the help of actual cards, or a board? My brothers and I, and now my wife and I, routinely try to stump each other with lyrical trivia.  Any music lover would like Encore (Endless Games, 1989). This is the kind of party game that nobody really wants to start playing – who wants to show off their own tone-deafness, after all? – but ends up getting everybody gathered around, laughing, and contributing a song or two from their own repertoire.

The game very simply requires each team to identify and sing lyrics from a song, at least six words in length, that include one target word that is drawn randomly from the deck. Teams alternate on the same word until one team fails to come up with an original answer, at which point the other team wins the right to move closer to the end.

There is a newer version of Encore out (first picture), but we played the older version (pic number 2), and because the old tunes are still around, it was still full of relevant words. Unfortunately, I can’t offer an opinion on the cards available in the current edition – but I honestly have no doubt the target words are a decent sample of easy, difficult, and in between. In addition to the word cards, the game comes with a board,  a die, pawns, and a marker.

The target cards are shown below – each listing five everyday words. On one team’s turn, the die is rolled and their pawn moved; the color of the space they land on refers to the colored word on the card they must play. That team them must come up with a song including that word, and sing at least six lyrics that include it. Once they do, the other team must come up with a different song. Turns alternate until one team appears stuck. At that point the other team can impose a time limit (20 second sand timer), but if that first team comes up with a song, the other team then has a time limit as well. Once a team fails to come up with an appropriate answer, they lose control of the dice.

The yellow spaces on the board correspond to “category” questions, and are self explanatory. Otherwise there is nothing special about the color categories on the cards.

Encore is billed as a game for music lovers, but it really is a democratic game, with musical elements for the whole family. As bad as people might consider their singing to be, once among friends all bets are off, inhibitions are cast aside, and it’s all about laughing and enjoying the company.

This is an easy game to recommend to just about any group. The fact that players are matching their own repertoires against the word in question makes it appropriate for any age group (over 8, that is) and any English-speaking country. It is definitely a nice family game, because it can bring people together across generational lines.

Buy Encore from Amazon!


7 thoughts on “Encore”

  1. Stan said…

    This sounds a lot like another game-Spontuneous-except in that game, you get to write your own list of words…very challenging!

    1. Spontuneous is a ton of fun, and more flexible because you come up with your own lyrics, but really requires you to play with like-minded people. Definitely not a good mixer! Also, Spontuneous is brand new this past year. Encore has been out since at least 1989.

  2. Hi Johnny,

    I have the 10th anniversary edition, and there is no game board – just the cards like you have in the 2nd picture. Do you know if the colors have any associated category? I haven’t played the game in years, and am trying to remember if there is any strategy to picking one color over another (aside from yellow, obviously).


      1. Hi Kristin,

        I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you on this, but it’s kind of a stumper. I can’t get my hands on a 10th anniversary edition of Encore, and it is in fact different than the one I have, which is an original edition, because it (the 10th anniversary edition) lacks a game board. In the original, the color of the space you land on determines what color clue (on the card) is read, and therefore must be included as a lyric – but there is no systematic correlation between color and word. In other words, the placement of the words on the colors seems arbitrary.

        In your version, I don’t see that a die or dice are included, so I don’t know how a clue is chosen on any given card. In the original the board is also the scorekeeper (i.e., the first to the end wins), but in the 10th anniversary edition, there is a scorepad.

        I will keep trying to find the answer because this bugs me! I will also try to find an electronic file with the rules to post for you, so you can download them and print them for yourself. In the mean time, just use a six-sided die to pick a word randomly, and that should work fine, unless you keep rolling the same number over and over again. I hate that! : )

        Take care, and I’ll check in again when I have something to report!


  3. Thanks for looking into it Johnny. I do actually have the instructions included with the game, but there are a lot of unanswered questions. For example, the scorepad lists 8 different items that must be checked off by each team to win. The first five say Color 1 through Color 5. and the instructions direct each team to choose a color to play for (then the card is flipped, and play goes on as in the original version). Once a team has completed 5 colors, they move on to the last 3, which are Player vs. Player, Team vs. Player, and Finale. I’m not sure if the original has those, but I can explain them if needed. Anyway, back to the example question – Why do you only do 5 of them rather than all 6? What strategy is there for picking one color over another? Which is what led me to post on here in the first place.

    The ironic thing is, the directions list a direct phone number of the inventor of the game (or so it says) that you can call for a ruling on whether a song is valid or not. Wonder if I should just call that number? lol It would be very surprising if that was still the same person!

    By the way, I don’t see that I have a way to upload the rules here, but if it would help you, I could scan them and send them to you somehow – email maybe?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s