Review: Girl Talk Date Line
Publisher: Western Publishing Company
Year: 1989
Tagline: The Talking Dating Game

Girl Talk Date Line cover showing two girls on the phone

how we met

We started out in the car one morning to go thrifting and my husband asked me, “What would you like to find today?” I replied, “Girl Talk Date Line.” It’s not like it happened immediately, but it happened that day. The game was sitting on a shelf in a thrift store near Milwaukee just waiting for me.

FUN FACT: according to the BGG forums, the voice actors on the tape all came from the Wisconsin area. It’s possible that I found this game in Wisconsin for that reason and not because of my mojo this time.

how it plays

Girl Talk Date Line is all about finding good matches. Being the kind soul that you are, your object is to find a match for all the boys and/or girls in your stable before finally finding a match for yourself.

You start the game with two or three cards, each representing a boy or girl, depending on the number of players. Girls are on pink cards and boys are on yellow cards. You have an additional card that represents you and has a sticker that says “Make-A-Date.”

Four cards showing Make a Date, one girl and two boys

Sample starting hand

You need a tape player. Plug the Girl Talk Date Line speaker into your tape player, insert the audio cassette and press play. Now you’re ready!

From this point it’s a roll and move game. The spaces on the board will indicate what you are able to do, including returning one of your cards, drawing an additional card, trying to find a match from one of the numbered groups (which limits your choices), trying to match with a blind date from the center section, trade cards, etc.

The game board

The game board

To determine whether a couple is a match you place both cards together with their stickers facing toward the front of the speaker. If you are lucky (and found audio cassette equipment that still works) you will either hear music or a conversation taking place. If you hear music just sit back and enjoy it for a moment – the conversation will start soon. If the two teens agree to go out during the conversation then you have made a match! Place both cards back in the container in the location that initiated the match. Nice work!

If the two teens did not agree to go out or if you only heard silence then you do not have a match. Keep your card and return the one you drew from the middle. Better luck next time.

Pink speaker close up

The coolest speaker I own

Play until your teens are matched and out of your hand, and until you yourself have a date.

how it went

This game is light, fun and dripping with cheesiness. It plays better with four players since it introduces more teens, more commentary and more of the phone conversations. It’s fun to see the styles of the teens and read about their likes and dislikes.

do not read below if you do not wish to know how the speaker contact happens. Skip to the play or pass section. ** SPOILER ALERT **

Mixture of teen cards

Some of our teens

When I purchased Girl Talk Date Line, I assumed it was magic. It’s not. It behaves a lot like a VCR game (think Party Mania, Nightmare aka Atmosfear, etc) where the tape goes continuously. The little pink speaker acts as a barrier to the content playing during your game, unless you are testing for a match. If your teens make contact inside the speaker then you will hear the tape and find out whether or not your teens are keen on each other.

The cards show marks where the contact is made. If you think of those small pegs as spaces then the contact is one away from the right and left edges. Even though Brad gets a lot of love in the game instructions, he still needs a match that has the opposite peg. And, yes you guessed it, this is bad news for Gert and Homer who just aren’t bringing anything to the table and need one of the six teen all-stars that will make contact with anyone.

Close up of the bottom of three cards

If you look closely you can see the marks where contact is made

What does this all mean? Well, a few things. If you end up memorizing which teens are the all-stars then you will probably want to play the game blindly, where all teens face away from you. Otherwise every chance you get to draw one of them results in speaker contact and potentially getting a match. And that’s less tape, less music and less teen hobby info for you to enjoy.

Another thing this means is that girls can match with boys, girls can match with girls, boys can match with boys. The instructions do say, “Make sure you match girls to guys!” but it doesn’t really matter. Which is pretty damn cool.

Close up of six cards that have pegs in both required places

Our all-stars, assuming stickers were placed correctly

Each group of boy and girl cards contain the same mixture of card bottoms – or each card bottom is represented by one girl and one boy. I’m not a statistics guru (as I am about to demonstrate), but your original odds of finding a teen to make contact with are X in Y. If you decide to open your teen’s chances up to both genders then the chances only change slightly away from 2X in 2Y since it now includes their opposite sex card which will not make contact with them (unless they are an all star in which case it will make contact with them).

play or pass

Play. If you could wrap up being a young girl in 1989 into a box, it would probably look a lot like this. And yes, that’s a good thing. From the blue notebook paper rules to the self-described “rad” music to the inane conversations taking place between teens – this game is a lot of fun for a light-hearted walk down memory lane.

Girl Talk Date Line is less of a game and more of an experience, and certainly there is no meaty strategy involved. Your outcome will depend a great deal on luck. But if you have the game then you are probably lucky anyway.