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After Rachel, and then Bo, arrived we decided to start the evening with a party game. Both of our new visitors have played Euro strategy games before and enjoyed them, but the trivia game with the pants seemed a good choice for our first game together. Just after we started, Alison arrived, and then, a few minutes later, Paul and Diana Blake arrived from Kentucky.
We reset the board and started over again with all seven of us playing.
Smarty Party is a trivia game with a scoring mechanism that helps keep the game somewhat close, and players who aren’t good at trivia are not penalized every turn. To begin, players place their pawns on the start square of the game board. 7 penalty markers (1 marked 3, 2 marked 2, and 4 marked 1) are placed in the center of the table. At the end of each round, players will be required to move their pawn toward the Finish if they took any penalty markers that round. As soon as one player’s pawn reaches the Finish then the game ends and the player whose pawn is closest to the Start space wins.
One player is the Reader each round and takes the next question card from the box of questions and reads one of the two questions on it to the other players. Every question in the game has multiple answers such as ‘Name the US states that border Canada’,’ Name the NBA Players with most MVP awards’ or ‘Name popular Christmas Carols’. The Reader will tell the players how many answers are on the list and then the other players must, in turn, give one correct answer for the question. If they give a correct answer they get to take the Smarty Pants (it is good to have the pants!). Also, some answers will be marked by a Smiley Face on the answer sheet and if a player guesses one of these more difficult answers they immediately move one space back toward the Start. If they give a wrong answer or cannot think of an answer then they take the highest numbered penalty chip remaining in the center of the table.
Players keep answering until they get all the answers, or until there are no more penalty chips in the center of the table. Players then add up the numbers on their penalty markers and move their pawns that many space toward the finish. However, the player who gave the last correct answer, and thus has the Smarty Pants, may discard the Smarty Pants to ignore their highest penalty chip (if any).
At the end of each round, whichever player is closest to the Finish (i.e.: who is currently losing) gets to be the Reader for the next round. Before reading the question the reader looks at the top of the question card and notes the number that appears in the picture of the smarty pants at the top of the card. The reader will then select either YES or NO whether the players will get that many correct answers before the round ends. If the Reader’s bid is correct then the Reader’s pawn moves one space back toward Start. If the Reader is wrong then the Reader’s pawn moves one space closer to the Finish.
We began the game by selecting a Reader for the first round randomly. Rachel won the honor and chose the question ‘Name Popular Ballroom Dances’. I was fourth to answer, and everyone had taken the obvious answers by then so I was stumped and had to take the 3 penalty marker. We were unable to come up with all the answers so most of us, with the exception of Alison and Rhonda, had to move our pawns toward the Finish.
Thanks to my not so voluminous knowledge of ballroom dancing, I became the next Reader and would find myself in that role for much of the game. Everyone would get a laugh out of some of the more humorous attempts at answers, but I will spare the players any embarrassment and not mention any specifics.
Rhonda would hold her position on the Start square for much of the game, but would finally get dislodged during the question about naming the countries that have the largest armies. The rest of us were within five spaces of the finish when Diana landed on the final space and the game ended with Rhonda being the smarty pants for the evening.
*Finals: Rhonda wins
*Ratings: Paul 4, Rachel 6, Kevin 6.5, Rhonda 6.5, Alison 6.5, Bo 7 *