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I’ll be honest, the creators of Tipoff should thank their lucky stars for Jason, my co-worker, whose ingenuity and tireless persistence, on a Sunday no less, finally got the word-guessing app store game to work. Because this review could’ve gone a totally different way.

After everyone got a hang of how to play it, the room dissolved into laughter and jovial good-spirited (if not somewhat aggressive, sorry Jason) crap talking. Me and Eron were  able to emerge the heavyweight champs in the room. Seriously, the game is so entertaining that the hour and a half of toil to get it to properly operate seemed like a distant memory

But don’t worry, if you follow these guidelines I can almost guarantee that your experience will be a substantially smoother and overall much more pleasant experience the first time around.


What is Tipoff ?

Tipoff is a multi-player game created by Chicagoan Astin Hayes and team. The game is played between at least two teams, with 2 or more players on each team.

 During Team 1’s turn, a player will try to help his teammate guess the word on display without using the banned keywords placed below the word. If the player does use a banned keyword, the designated “Hater” on Team 2 will either flag the discrepancy to later determine if the use of the word was fair play or will use the “Nah” button to dismiss the card.  Each player on the team has a turn to guess the word, hint at the word, or be a hater for the opposing team.

The game is essentially Taboo with an urban feel and has a variety of  free categories to play with, including: Classic, Church, 90’s and Holiday. You can choose to pay for categories if you want, such as Chicago, Rattler, VSB and Travel.


If you do decide to make the in-app purchase, a portion of the profits will be dedicated to funding STEM programs in Chicago and scholarships for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.


It was pain before pleasure…


Let that sink in — an hour and a half of people aimlessly tinkering with their phones trying and repeatedly failing to get this application to properly function. I was ready to give up.

But during this process, I learned some valuable lessons:


  1. Android users and Iphone users cannot play together; do not try.

The game will only function with compatible phones, i.e everyone has to either have an Android to play together or an iPhone. Example:  Three iPhone users and one android user cannot play this game together. This is critical. If you try to do this, as the android player, you will get kicked out of the app immediately after the game has started. As an iPhone user, not only will you get kicked out of the game but the app will continually crash afterwards every time you try to re-enter it.


If this happens, you must delete the app and reinstall it.

  1. The volume for the ‘How to Play’ video provided in the app is extremely low, even when the volume is turned all the way up. If you want to hear the video, you must plug in earphones to hear the accompanying audio.


But, you’re better off sticking to the written instructions anyway.


  1. If you manually add players to the game yourself, it will crash – even though it is an option. Although not as aggressively as previously mentioned when trying to combine Android and Apple users, it’s still cumbersome to say the least.


If you want to add players, you must give each player the game room code for the new game and each player has to manually join the game  in order for the game to work.


  1. You cannot invite people to the game by just using a phone number as detailed when you first register for the game. You must have each player saved as a contact.


  1. Because of the nature of this game, you can only play it in person and with people you know, so it’s not a convenient on-the-go kind of game. But it is a great party game once everything is setup.



The Verdict

Once the game was set up, and the learning curve was conquered, no thanks to the inaudible volume provided by the “How To” video, it was really a lot of fun. I still have the Tipoff app placed on my phone.


If you’re remotely competitive and live for bragging rights, this game is for you.


That being said, I do have some critiques for the game, that don’t solely lie with the functionality of the game.


This game is urban and has some dated African American terminology placed in its categories. Some keywords had banned words that could be interpreted as racist and offensive. (Spoiler: Hair weave had Korean as a banned word)


Furthermore, the game does need more cards for every category. After playing a few rounds, people become familiar with the cards and can guess what the answer is based off of prior experience, which could be a bummer or an asset at times — but mostly a bummer.


Overall, if you’re wondering whether or not I would recommend this game, please feel free to visit the Chicago Defender website and watch the video of me and my friends playing and reviewing this game. Have you played Tipoff before? What did you think? Let us know in the comment section of the video!


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