Cranium was developed in 1998 by two Microsoft executives, Whit Alexander and Richard Tait, after Richard recognised the need for a boardgame that included a variety of activities that would give people with different strengths and weaknesses a chance at winning. In 2001 it won the Toy Industry Association's 'Game of the Year' award.
This is my favourite boardgame of all time, it is heaps of fun for the whole family or a group of friends, right from the get go when you select your character and hat. I have an adult version and content-wise there is nothing unsuitable for children, I suspect it refers more to the level of difficulty. Cranium Cadoo, a version for kids aged 7 and up is available, as is Cranium Hullabaloo, for young kids from age 4 - both versions won the 'Game of the Year' award in subsequent years.
The game is played in teams of 2 or more (it's a faster game with just 2 teams) and teams must complete activities to move clockwise around the board until they reach Cranium Central, where they must complete one final activity of the other team's choosing to win the game.
A team can't move forward on the board until they successfully complete an activity corresponding to the colour square they're on at the time. Players must stop at each purple Planet Cranium square and if successful with the first activity undertaken, can move onto the board's inner circle fast track, increasing the chances of getting to Cranium Central first.
The activities are divided into four categories - Creative Cat, Data Head, Word Worm and Star Performer.
Creative Cat includes activities such as drawing, drawing with eyes closed, and molding things out of purple putty - which is a lot harder than it sounds. One team member must complete the activity racing against the timer while the other team members guess the answer.
A 'kennel' believe it or not...
Data Head involves knowledge of facts and data in a multiple choice, true or false, or straight question and answer format. Word Worm naturally revolves around words, spelling and anagrams. Star Performer is my personal favourite with activities similar to charades, impersonating famous people, humming a popular tune and moving a team mate's hands and feet puppet style.
Cranium is aptly touted as 'The Game for Your Whole Brain' and the various activities certainly seem to engage both sides of the brain - all I know for sure is the result of performing these various activities is hours of hilarity and entertainment.