Cranium (board game)

From Academic Kids

Cranium is a board game manufactured by its own company, Cranium, Inc. Cranium is billed as "The Game for Your Whole Brain." Unlike other games, which usually focus on a single activity (like Trivial Pursuit, which is just question-answering, or Pictionary, which is just clue-sketching), Cranium includes a wide variety of activities, so it doesn't "get old" quickly.

Dave Edelstein of Foundation Design created the packaging and brand identity for the game, and Gary Baseman, creator of the animated series Teacher's Pet, did the art.



Cranium involves teams advancing around the board toward "Cranium Central" in the center, by doing activities on the Cranium cards. The cards are divided into four decks, and each deck involves a skill that players will need to use to complete the activity. Each deck is divided into several specific activities.

Creative Cat - involves artistic skill

  • Cloodle - A player must sketch a clue for his teammates to guess, just like Pictionary.
  • Sensosketch - Just like Cloodle, but the artist's eyes must be closed while sketching.
  • Sculptorades - A player must sculpt a clue with clay for his teammates to guess. (The game includes "Cranium Clay" for this activity.)

Data Head - involves knowledge of trivia

  • Factoid - The team must confer to answer a trivia question, just like in Trivial Pursuit.
  • Selectaquest - Just like Factoid, except the team will choose their answer from four different choices.
  • Polygraph - The team must decide whether the statement given on the card is true or false.

Word Worm - involves language skills

  • Spellbound - The team must choose one person to spell the word given on the card (on the first try, and without writing it down).
  • Gnilleps - Just like Spellbound, except the word must be spelled backwards.
  • Lexicon - The team must choose, from four different choices, the definition to an obscure word.
  • Zelpuz - The team is given an anagram puzzle and must unscramble the letters to find the answer. A clue is given with the puzzle to make it easier.
  • Blankout - Written on the card is a word, phrase, or title with some letters left out. The team must fill in the blanks to find the answer. A clue is given with the puzzle to make it easier.

Star Performer - involves performance skills

  • Cameo - A player must act out silent clues to get his teammates to guess the word, just like in Charades.
  • Copycat - The clue on the card is a famous person or character, which the performer must get his teammates to guess by imitating the person's actions and speech.
  • Humdinger - The clue on the card is a famous tune, which the performer must get his teammates to guess by humming or whistling it.


Players are divided into two, three, or four teams; each team picks a mover and puts it on the "Planet Cranium" Start space.

The rules of Cranium state that the team with the player whose birthday is coming up next starts the game. Play then continues clockwise to the next team.

On a Team's Turn

On each turn, a team has a chance to complete an activity on one card and advace along the board. Whether the activity is completed successfully or not, turn always ends after one card.

When the team's mover is on the start space or any other "Planet Cranium" space, they may decide which deck they want to do an activity from. Otherwise, they must do an activity from the deck that corresponds to the color space they are on (Blue = Creative Cat, Red = Data Head, Yellow = Word Worm, Green = Star Performer).

If the team completes an activity successfully before time runs out, they roll the color-faced die and move to the next space of the color they roll, or to the next Planet Cranium space, whichever is closer. If they roll purple, they go to the next Planet Cranium space.

Scenic Path and Fast Track

A team's first activity on a Planet Cranium space, including the start space, determines whether they will take the "scenic path" or the "fast track" to the next Planet Cranium space. If they complete their first activity on a Planet Cranium space successfully before time runs out, they will take the inside fast track to the next Planet Cranium space. If they do not complete their first activity successfully, or if time runs out, they will not be able to take the fast track, and, when they do complete an activity successfully to get off the Planet Cranium space, they will have to take the longer scenic path to the next Planet Cranium space.

Club Cranium

On some of the Creative Cat and Star Performer cards, there is a "Club Cranium" symbol. When one of these cards is drawn, every team competes and has one of its members do the activity for them. Whichever team gets it first gets to roll the die and move, and play continues with the team after the team who the Club Cranium card was originally for. If no one guesses the answer before time runs out, no one moves and play continues with the next team.

Cranium Central

Around the "Cranium Central" space in the center of the board are four black spaces, each with the name of one of the decks on it. Before a team can go into Cranium Central, they must collect one card from each deck by moving around these spaces.

When a team reaches the end of the path, they must place their mover on the black space that with the deck name that corresponds to the color of their roll. If they roll purple, they may decide which black space to start on. They continue play in the normal fashion, except that when they complete an activity successfully, they keep the card, and instead of rolling the die, they move clockwise to the next black space.

Once the team has a card from each deck, they may move into Cranium Central. Once they are in Cranium Central, on their turn, they will receive an activity from the deck that the other teams decide on. If they do not complete the activity successfully, they must wait until their next turn, when the other teams will pick another activity for them, either from the same deck or another deck. Once the team successfully completes an activity while in Cranium Central, they have won the game.

Other merchandise

  • Refresher Boxes - boxes sold separately from the game that contain four brand new decks of cards. Booster Boxes 1 and 2 are currently available.
  • Cranium Cadoo - a kids' version of the game
  • Cranium Hullabaloo - a children's movement game
  • Cranium Cariboo - a treasure hunt game for young children
  • Cranium Balloon Lagoon - a carnival-themed children's game
  • Cranium: Turbo Edition - a version of Cranium designed for a faster game
  • Cranium Conga - a version of charades played with multiple media. Available in a metal tin.
  • Cranium Hoopla - a card game loosely based off Cranium. Available in a metal tin.
  • Cranium Zigity - a card game similar to Rummy printed on clear plastic cards

External link

Cranium, Inc.'s website (


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools