Catch Phrase Game

How To Play Catch Phrase

Catch Phrase Game Rules (PDF Instructions)

4 - 10
Play Time
45 MIN
Play Time
Catch Phrase is a great party game that gets everyone riled up and screaming at each other in a fun and exciting way. Catch Phrase is a simple and easy game to learn how to play (most already know how) and has few things to set up. You can play it just about anywhere and is an easy game to take with your where ever you might be going.

Catch Phrase Game BoardThe game is played by splitting up into two different teams and each player takes turns trying to get his team to guess a given word without actually saying it. The catch is, there is a timer. If you or anyone on your team is caught with the disk player (what gives out the guessing words) in their hands during your word or phrase when the timer goes off, the other teams advances on the board. You have got to be a fast talker, a good guesser, and a quick passer to win at Catch Phrase!

The basic Catch Phrase game rules are as follows. Divide players into two teams. One team chooses a player to start as the "phrase giver." The phrase giver is given a card with a catchphrase on it, which the other team must try to guess. The phrase giver cannot say the phrase or any part of it, but can use any other words or actions to get the team to guess the phrase. The team has a set amount of time (usually 30 seconds) to guess the phrase. If the team guesses the phrase correctly, they earn a point and the other team becomes the phrase giver.

If the team cannot guess the phrase, the other team gets a chance to steal the point by guessing within a shorter time limit. The game continues with players taking turns as the phrase giver and the other team trying to guess the catchphrase. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Join in the fun of this classic party game that you can start in only seconds of explaining the rules and play for hours of fun. Almost all ages can party on with this game. Purchase your own game or give it as a gift to someone else. Catch Phrase is a must have in any game collection.
  • The Game Should Include A Catch Phrase Disk Player
  • The Game Board
  • An Electronic Randomized Timer
  • Two Movers
  • 16 Double Sided Phrase Or Word Disks
  • Official Catch Phrase Rules And Instructions Two AAA-size Batteries Are Required For The Timer Which Are Not Included (Contents Are Per The Non-digital Catch Phrase)
How to Win
To win the game of Catch Phrase, your team must go from Start to Finish on the Catch Phrase board by not allowing anyone on your team to be still holding the disk player when the buzzer or timer goes off. Your team must be fast talkers, good guessers, and quick passers.
How to Win
Perparation: First make sure your batteries are installed and properly working on your Catch Phrase timer. Divide yourselves into two different team. The Catch Phrase rules and instructions do not state how exactly you should sit but it is best to sit in a circle alternating every other person as a member on your team. Place the board and timer in the middle of the circle or between the two teams. Place the two team movers on the Catch Phrase board on the Start location. Insert and install the first rotating disk into the player.

Game Play: Pick a team to begin the game with the first word. The first word is started by pressing the green button on the side of the disk player to reveal the new word. This is done while the opposing team start the timer. The person with the first word begins to give clues and the team members start shouting out their guesses until the correct word has been yelled out.

The rules on giving clues are such that you are allowed to make any physical gesture and almost any verbal clue. It is however, against the Catch Phrase rules to say a word that rhymes, give the first letter or say part of the guessing word. If a team member breaks one of these rules and is caught, the timer is stopped and the other team is awarded a point by moving them one place forward on the board.

Once the word has been guessed the disk player is passed to the next team as quickly as possible. Remember, you do not want to be caught with it in your hands when the timer goes off. This continues, alternating teams and new words, until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, the team that is not holding the disk player advances one space on the Catch Phrase game board. The next round is started by the team that was left holding the disk player when the buzzer went off.

A bonus point can be earned for stealing a word. If the timer goes off in the middle of your turn and your team has not guess the correct word, the other team has one chance to guess the word you were trying to get your teammates to say. The Catch Phrase rules state that if the correct word is guessed (only one guess is allowed and can be discussed amongst the other team), they move ahead one more space. Two points are awarded from not being stuck holding the disk player and guessing the opposing team's word. Whether they get it or not, the team that got stuck with the disk player begins the next round.

If for any reason you run out of words and they begin to repeat themselves, simply stop the timer, reload the disk player and begin again.

Please keep in mind that the official Catch Phrase PDF rules listed below could be different depending on the version you have. They should be an exact copy of what came in your original packaging. Download them to view now or print them for later use.

Share with us your comments, funny stories, tips, advice, strategies, creative ways to play, questions about playing, problems with the directions, etc. All submissions will be reviewed within 24 hours.



Human Question:
Which game starts with the same letter as Mancala: Chess, Uno, Monopoly, Battleship or Rummycube

Irene Wilson says:

How to change the discs in the classic Catch Phrase game. Please send instructions on how to change the discs
Joe says:

As long as one team is not purposely taking long to give their clue or if the guess is quite clear but one team is purposely taking long to give their clue, it is fine for one team to struggle to answer. The game is basically like hot potatoes. Once the displayed words are accurately guessed, you pass it on to the next person on the other team. If the buzzer goes off in your hands, other team gets a point. Happy playing!
Christina says:

What happens if team 1 takes a whole round to guess their answer and only hands it to the team 2 at the last second before the buzzer? Does that still count as a point for team 1? It just doesn't seem fair to win like that.
Andrew says:

Did we get an answer to Darlene's question about Pabst blue ribbon? I had a similar situation where my word was our and my teammate guessed Boston cream pie. I felt like it should have counted and passed on the device but then got challenged about it later. Any consensus?
Jean says:

If a player fails to get their team to guess the word/phrase - can they just skip to the next word/phrase without any consequences or losing any points?
Tyler B says:

"USC Trojans" was the word. My friend said "Southern California" and we said that's a violation because USC stands for the University of Southern California, he said it was fair because 'Southern California' didn't appear on the screen, and was just using it as a clue. This led to a very detailed argument about the use of abbreviations. Who's correct?
MJ says:

??. Clue was Default on a loan. I said "There are 4 words..." My team said Loan. Could I say "Loan" is the 4th Word.
Terry says:

If the word you're trying to get them to say is princess can you tell your team... not a prince but a??? Also, if the phrase your team is guessing has the word "your" in it does this make using the word "you" illegal when drafting the phrase?
Karen says:

The word was Iceland. I used Greenland as the clue. Because the word "land" was part of the word I was told I couldn't use that word. Is this not permissible?
Darlene says:

If the phrase is "blue ribbon "and the caller yells out Pabts blue ribbon would this be accepted for the phrase blue ribbon
Donna K says:

We have played Catchphrase for years and love it. While we were playing someone decided to start out with "this is a four letter word". Can you say how many letters there are in a word. I agree rules are vague.
Chris says:

Rule about having game device "in hand" when timer goes off is insufficient: if game device is handed to opposing team member after correct answer, is device "still in hand" if timer goes off regardless of how much time said opposing team member takes to receive it? This happened with game device being held/given less than 1 foot from other team member when timer went off? The opposing team member did not take the game device immediately and ruled our team therefore retained the game device as timer expired and credited themselves with the point. Conclusion is therefore to literally throw the game device at opposing team player vs. hand it to them? Really? Set it down or push it in front of them? What if they haven't yet picked it up when timer goes off? This rule has no definitive point in time when said game device has been successfully passed/given to opposing team for their turn against running timer.
Ben says:

What was the answer to Laddie's question of 12-11-2007.
Dick ballew says:

How do u turn off the device. Or does it turn off itself
Hartini says:

Once your guesser guesses one of the words in the phrase is I it okay for you to say it from then on, as in "'flight' is the second word"?
KIM says:

Betty Garcia says:

I want to play this game with my 6-8 students who are learning Spanish. I would like to make the game (homemade) from scratch, instead of buying it. Can I do such thing? Please let me know. Thank you.
ur loohooserers says:

Catch phrase is awesome. Work it out over a beer
john j says:

arguement over whether it is permissible to skip words while in play, the opposing team feels it is acceptable while I feel it is against the guidlines of the game, the rules do not specify.
Kellie says:

Catch Phrase = MRI. The other team used 'magnetic' as the clue. Our team thought totally unacceptable. However, the rules do not specifically rule it out. Any and all reasonable ways to interpret the rules would be appreciated.
F r a n k says:

For really competitive players, more concise rules should be established.......examples are - how precise must we be (for all adult players).....e.g. should "Lost your Marbles" be correct when the game calls for "Lose your Marbles", or singular/plural cases, etc. Best way to deal is probably to establish specific game rules before the game starts.........
Johnny says:

I love Catch Phrase, but recently, my electronic version gave out. Too much use I guess :). I did a search for the game to buy it online and came across that there's a fun iPhone app called "Pass the Words" that's basically Catch Phrase for the iPhone, so I went ahead and bought that since it's only $2.99. Yay for savings and Catch Phrase!
Billie says:

two questions..... word was revolution - they voted down my clue revolt.....saying it was using the word...but I say NO word was Miss ..... I said Mrs. but was voted off for that too.... what do you say about these two?
Linda says:

Can someone help me? If the game has Greek Goddess-can you give Greece as a clue?
Jenna Sacco says:

I was playing catchphrase tonight and my word was longitude so my clue was not latitude but and they guessed longitude however the opposing team said I cheated because "tude" is in both words even though this is not a word. I strongly feel they are wrong please help. The game is currently under protest so please get back to me ASAP! Thank You
Migraine says:

We love this game! An answer to the question below you would not be able to say thing that goes in a pen to get your team to say ink since pen in part of the phrase you need them to say. Also, "Pen Ink" is different than "Pen and Ink" but since the rules are vague you can adopt "House Rules". We allow our younger players to skip words they do not know. We also allow adults to skip words if their team is made up of mostly young kids. This makes for a more level playing field for ALL members of the family!!

We usually have three generations playing at one time. Ages ranging from 10 to 60 yrs. old. What a blast!
Laddie says:

The rules don't clarify whether the guesser has to guess the exact phrase... or if they can guess part or most of it and that's good enough for a pass. Example: having "Pin and Ink", the reader says, thing that goes in a pin, the guesser says Pin Ink, and the reader passes. Is that a legidamate guess? or does the guess have to be exact?
Rachel K. says:

Catch Phrase is one of my favorite games! There is hardly any setup and few pieces. It's easy to learn and most people already know how to play. I love playing it with larger groups. I give Catch Phrase a 10!
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