SNAP Review – Motley

[Anitra] Andrew, do you know what “motley” means?

[Andrew] You mean, like Mötley Crüe? I mean, Anitra, you do Kickstart my Heart.

[Anitra] What?

[Andrew] You’re not a doctor, but you do make me Feelgood :)

[Anitra] Not the band, Just the word “motley”. The word motley comes from an old word that means “speck” and originally it meant patterns that were full of dots, or mottled… But it eventually came to refer to the multi-colored clothing that jesters wore, and then it became a description for anything with a wide variety of elements to it.

[Andrew] But if we’re not rocking out to 80’s and 90’s tunes, what does that have to do with this video?

[Anitra] Because it’s the name – and the theme – of the game we’re reviewing! This is a SNAP review for Motley.


Motley is a picture guessing game for 2-10 players (or maybe even more). It was designed by Carla Kopp and Jeff Hale, and it’s published by Weird Giraffe Games.

The box says it plays in about 30 minutes and it works for ages 8 and up.


[Andrew] So, obviously art is a major component here; with a name like Motley, I’m going to assume the art is kind of… motley?

[Anitra] Well, every card in the game has five different colored shapes on it, and every card is different. Katie Khau illustrated these cards, and they pull in the “dotted” idea of motley as well as looking like they’ve been pieced together from smaller bits.

[Andrew] The opposite side of each card has three categories written on it, and it’s still decorated with the motley bits around the edges.

[Anitra] And they come in this handy little pull-out box. Nice!


[Andrew] Let’s talk about some more serious things. What are the mechanics of this game, and how do we play it?

[Anitra] Pick a first player. The rules say it should be the person who is worst at storytelling. I guess that’s me, then. They draw five cards off the deck. After looking through them, they must pick a category from one card. Then they use at least three of the five cards to make a clue for some word that they choose in that category.

[Andrew] This part is incredibly free form – the cards can be in your hands, they can be on the table, they can be touching, overlapping, or they can be separated. It’s all up to the clue giver – and empty space can even be included, as part of the clue.

[Anitra] When they’re ready, the player tells the rest of the table the category they picked and a very brief description of how to interpret their clue, such as “this is seen from above” or “look at the yellow bits”.

[Andrew] Now everyone can guess. The way we play, everyone just throws out guesses until someone gets the word correct. If no one can figure it out, the clue giver can give a second small clue, like “look at the spaces” or “this would fit in a shoebox.”

[Anitra] Once someone guesses the word correctly, they are awarded the card that had the category on it. The other four cards are passed to the next player to be the clue giver, and then they add one more card from the deck to make it five.

[Andrew] Keep playing until everyone has given clues three times, you run out of cards in the game… or you just feel like stopping.

[Anitra] That’s it! Whoever has the most category cards at the end of the game wins.

[Andrew] There’s also a cooperative mode, where the group works through a reduced pile of cards, discarding one every time it takes more than three guesses to get the word.

Motley game Clue card: Dessert, Instruments, Baseball Teams

Other cards put together in an image that looks kind of like a trumpet.


[Andrew] So Anitra, what did we expect from this little tiny party game?

[Anitra] First of all, I thought it was interesting to make a party game that’s just 27 cards. And it says it works for as few as two players but up to ten or more! That’s a huge range in a small box.

[Andrew] Games from Weird Giraffe are always kind of quirky and unusual. I know when I open up one of their games I’m going to find something that probably isn’t like any other game I’ve tried.


[Andrew] But these quirky games also surprise us. So what surprised us about Motley?

[Anitra] My biggest surprise was how well this game worked for our kids. It did take them a little while to warm up to it – the shapes are weird, it’s hard to make good pictures – but then they really got into it. They made really interesting clues and they were coming up with really, really clever guesses. This is the kind of game where two or three people can really get locked in and communicate exactly what they mean with very few words.

[Andrew] I really like games like this that are fairly free form but provide enough of a framework that kids don’t get lost. They get to flex their creative muscles to try to win something! So not like Story Cubes where there’s nothing to win but you’re just telling a story. And it’s not something where you’re just playing a game and not using your imagination at all, because all you want to do is win. Our kids (and your kids) are clever! And a game like Motley lets them show that.

[Anitra] I think part of why this game worked so well is the sheer variety of categories. It’s got everything from “sports” to “Marvel heroes” to “emotions”. When you’re the clue giver, you’ve got fifteen categories to choose from! So even though it can be really hard to make exactly the kind of picture you want, you can find something that will work for you.

[Andrew] But having so many choices does mean that it is possible to get overwhelmed sometimes when you’re the clue giver. And that can slow the game down a little bit.


[Anitra] We recommend Motley as a party game for families, especially when you’re limited on space or on time. We actually rarely play it all the way to “everyone has given three clues”, but it makes a great game to play for a few minutes at a restaurant or right after dinner.

[Andrew] The box is just a little bit larger than a standard pack of cards, so you should be able to pack this one up and bring it basically anywhere.

We’re going to rate Motley 3 clues out of 5.

And that’s Motley – in a SNAP!

The Family Gamers received a copy of Motley from Weird Giraffe Games for this review.

This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?

  • Clues


Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 2-10+
Playtime: 30 minutes (or less)