Review – Things in Rings

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Designer Peter C. Hayward

Artist Snow Conrad

Publisher Allplay

Category Inductive Reasoning

Length 15-20 minutes

Release Date 2024

Player Count 2-6

Things in Rings is a new party game from Allplay. Placing cards onto a Venn diagram, players try to find logical connections and get rid of all their cards first. Can you figure out the rules?

Review

There aren’t many inductive reasoning games out there, but Things in Rings is the latest one. In this game, players try to figure out the logic rules of a triple Venn diagram.

To begin the game, players lay out three overlapping rings, and label them with the categories Attribute, Word, and Context. One player is chosen as the Knower, and the rest are the Finders.

First, the Knower secretly draws a Rule card from each of the three category decks. Attribute rules are about the physical properties of a thing (e.g. size, weight, shape, etc.), Word rules are about the word itself (e.g. spelling, pronunciation, number of letters, etc.), and Context rules are about where/how/when the item is used (e.g. “Related to sports,” “You could find it at a wedding,” “Invented or discovered in the last 50 years,” etc.).

Then, the Knower draws five Thing cards and places three of them onto the Venn diagram as starting clues. The Finders each draw a hand of five Things and the game begins.

On a Finder’s turn, they place a card from their hand wherever they think it belongs. This could be anywhere in the Venn diagram, or outside of it altogether if they don’t think it fits. The Knower then tells the Finder if the card is in the correct position, and if it is, the Finder gets to place another card. The Finder may keep placing cards as long as they continue being correct, but if they place a card in the wrong spot, the Knower moves it to the right spot and the Finder draws a card and ends their turn.

All shiny/reflective…
…not shiny/reflective, first letters not repeated, and cannot be brought on an airplane

As soon as a player correctly places their last card, they win!


Things in Rings is an entertaining and thought-provoking party game. With three different categories at play, Finders are asked to think in literal and abstract terms — to consider the physical properties of a thing, how/where it is used, and the actual linguistic structure of a word. Collectively, this means there is quite a bit to ponder each turn, and the fun of the game comes from trying to figure out why one card fits somewhere and another doesn’t. (It should be noted that players can use fewer rings/rules if they want an easier game.)

Also, the Rule cards have different difficulty levels.

The most popular inductive reasoning game is the classic Zendo, a game in which the goal is to correctly guess a secret rule. One thing I prefer about Things in Rings is that in this game, players don’t actually need to figure out the rules to win. Often, a correct guess comes from a hunch based on the cards already in the display; the player might not know exactly why they were right, but they can use logical connections and similarities to make their predictions.

The production quality of Things in Rings is high. Its stylized imagery feels like it could have come from Dr. Seuss, and its illustrations feature lots of fun details. The rings themselves are large enough that they can fit numerous cards, but not so large that they become a table hog. The rules are clear and concise, and everything fits nicely back into the compact box. Overall, this game looks great.

Things in Rings is in the upper echelon of party games. It is a clever design that offers lots of replay value, and it expertly employs a mechanism that is sorely underused. I expect that this game will make a big splash, and I recommend it.

A review copy was provided by Allplay.

The Bottom Line

Things in Rings is in the upper echelon of party games. It is a clever design that offers lots of replay value, and it expertly employs a mechanism that is sorely underused. Recommended.

 

7.5

Author: Stephen Hall

A bard pretending to be a cleric. Possibly a Cylon, too. I was there when they dug up the "E.T." cartridges.