Learn How to Play Catch Phrase Rules For Those Who Hate Rulebooks

I wrote this Learn how to play Catch Phrase rules guide for gamers like me who hate reading rulebooks and want to get started quickly.
If you are still new to Colt Express and are wondering if this game is suitable, click here for our quick overview of the gameplay, what makes it fun and videos of the game.

Players: 4 to 16 | Game duration from: 30 mins | Game Complexity: EASY
Click here for the official Catch Phrase! rules pdf / rulebook

What is the goal?

  • 2 teams compete to guess words during the round/
  • When the timer goes off, you and your teammates must not be caught holding the disk player!
  • Points are scored each round. Team that reaches 7 points wins.

Game setup

  • Divide into two teams – divide however you wish if you have an odd number of players
  • Place board and timer in between two teams
  • Each team picks a mover and places it on START
  • Install your first disk by placing your finger in the slot above the large green button on the side and opening the lid (Do not force it open beyond 90°).
  • Simply line up the three small holes on the disk player’s base with the three plastic pins. Snap the lid shut. (If the lid snaps off by accident, lay the bottom of the disk player flat on the table, disk side up. Now hold the lid flat over it, aligning a word in the window. Now drive in one little post on the hinge post, then rock in the second).
  • To choose a word, press the large green button on the side of the disk player. Do not HIT the green button when you advance the disk to the next word, PRESS. You’ll miss fun words and use up the disk prematurely if you whack the disk too suddenly.
  • Press the large centre button to start (or stop) the timer. A random length of time will be selected, up to 60 seconds. It’s random on purpose so you won’t know exactly when your time is up. TALK FAST!… PASS FAST!


Each round involves the following:

  1. Pick a player on your team to go first.
  2. If you’re the first clue-giver, press disk player green button to reveal a new word . Other team starts the timer.
  3. Start giving clues to your teammates to make them say the new word. Teammates shout their guesses simultaneously until someone says the right word.
  4. If your team guesses the word, pass the disk player to the other team.
  5. Play continues with other team pressing the next button and guessing the word.
  6. Round ends when buzzer sounds and timer runs out
  7. Score the round
  8. Team holding the unit begins next round by pressing the button

Rules about giving clues in Catch Phrase

Any physical gesture or verbal clue can be used by the clue giver to get their team to say the word.
Illegal clues
Say a word that rhymes with the word
Say the first letter of the word;
Use parts of the disk word in your clue such as “shoe” for ” shoe horn”.
The other team presses the timer button to shut off the timer if you commit one of these and you’re caught, and they automatically win that round and move ahead one space

Scoring a Catch Phrase Round

Team not holding the unit gets 1 point and gets a chance to guess the word the other team did not get. 1 bonus point is awarded if guessed correctly.

Entering points
One point is awarded to the winning team by pressing the Team 1 Score or Team 2 Score buttons.
If the winning team scores the BONUS point, press the Team 1 Score or Team 2 Score button one more time.

How to win?

The first team that reaches the FINISH space wins.

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