Players are divided into two, three, or four teams; each team picks
a mover and puts it on the "Planet Cranium" Start space. The board is
laid out as a circuit, consisting of different coloured spaces. Each
colour corresponds to a question card category. Purple "Planet Cranium"
spaces gives the team their choice of category.
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.
 Card Categories
These blue cards are, as the name suggests,
creative activities. Cloodle cards require a team member to draw on a
piece of paper while the other team member(s) attempt to guess the word
or phrase, much like Pictionary
Sensosketch cards are the same but the drawer must have their eyes
closed. Sculpturades requires one player to mold the included putty
into shapes for the other player(s) to guess the word or phrase being
sculpted. All of the blue cards have vague hints.
These red cards revolve around, as the name
suggests, knowledge of data and facts. Selectaquest cards ask a
question and present four possible multiple choice answers, of which
your team must choose the correct answer. Factoid cards present a
question that your team must answer outright, and a third type of card
requires your team to evaluate a statement to determine whether it is
true or false.
These yellow cards are themed around words,
spelling, and anagrams. There are two types of spelling involved in
this category; one type involves one team member spelling a moderately
difficult word (such as vacuum) correctly on the first try without
writing down the word. Another type of spelling challenge in Word Worm
is Gnilleps; again, a moderately difficult word (such as achieved) must
be spelled correctly on the first attempt by one team member with the
caveat that they must spell it backwards. Lexicon cards require teams
to correctly identify the definition of a word out of four
possibilities, usually a relatively unused word such as syzygy or
bedizen. Blankout requires the team to use a vague hint to fill in the
blank words with only some letters filled in. Finally, Zelpuz requires
your team to use a vague hint to re-arrange the letters in an anagram
to form the correct word or phrase.
These green cards are themed around acting out clues with a vague hint such as in charades
acting and speaking like a famous person or fictional character but
without using proper names, or humming or whistling a popular tune to
get your group to guess the song, such as with Hummdingers.
On each turn, a team has a chance to complete an activity on one
card and advance along the board. If the team is on a purple space (as
all teams are on the start space), they can choose the first card from
any of the four categories. If they are on a coloured space, the first
card from the corresponding category is selected. If the team
successfully completes the card they have chosen, the die is then
rolled to determine what space the team moves to.Whether the activity
is completed successfully or not, the turn always ends after one card.
If the team completes an activity successfully before timer 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
 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. Acting is
to be performed in front of all the teams. Each team may guess the
answer by looking at anyone performing. The same applies to
sensosketches and cloodles. Whichever team gets it first gets to roll
the die and move, and play continues with 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 team whose turn it was.
If a team gets a Club Cranium card correct while on a Planet Cranium,
they may move on the fast track if it was their first activity while on
the Planet Cranium; if their first activity on a Planet Cranium is a
Club Cranium and they do not win it, they still try for the fast track
on their next turn. The only penalty for not getting a Club Cranium
right is not being able to take an extra move.
 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
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.
 Expansions and spinoffs
Booster BoxesBoxes of cards (and clay) sold separately from the game that contain a new deck of each type of card. As of 2007[update]
, Booster Boxes 1 and 2 are available, along with a special New York edition pack.CadooA kids' version of the game that has some elements of tic-tac-toe
.CongaA version with a slightly older target audience than Cadoo. Incorporates a musical timer and magnetic drawing pad.Cranium Turbo EditionA version of Cranium designed for a faster game.Cranium The Family Fun Game'A game similar to the original Cranium with some minor changes.Cranium WowA similar game to the original with new cards and activities from Cranium Turbo.Cranium KabookiiA game version available on the wii
platform. Activities comprise a mixture of some from the original game
and new games better suited for a video game environment.Cranium HooplaA timed version of Cranium, designed for two or more players to play cooperatively.Cranium ScribblishPlayed very much like the game of .
Players start by drawing a caption card from the deck and must draw the
caption, then pass to another player who captions what they believe the
other person has drawn, then draw said caption. Winners correctly guess
which drawing started as their own.