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Subject: Mina's Mini Review - America With Two! And More! rss

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Milena Guberinic
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Mina's Mini Review - America With Two! And More!




The Overview


America is a "trivia party game where close counts"! The game is played on a board that shows a map of the USA flanked by year and number bars. Each turn, the starting player selects which of two visible cards from a deck he wants to use and puts the questions on the card to the other players. Then, players take turns placing their guessing markers on the map, number, and/or year bars to respond to the questions. Players may also place their markers on the "no exact" or "no exact or adjacent" spaces to indicate that they believe that there is no marker on the correct answer (3VP) or that they believe there is no marker on the correct or any adjacent space (7VP).




Number bar


Year bar


Map


Once all players have passed, the card is taken out of the box to reveal the answers and scored. Markers on a correct space provide 7VP and markers on spaces adjacent to the correct space provide 3VP. Placed markers that don't score will be taken away! You will never see them again! No, actually, you will see them. All players who have 1 or more markers in the non-scoring pile of markers will regain 1 marker. And if a player ever falls below 3 markers at this point, he will replenish his markers to 3.

The game ends after the 6th card is scored. The player with the most points wins!



The Review


Played prior to review 4x






1. Ferris wheels, lobster rolls, vacuum cleaners, potato heads! School House Rocks!
It's all in here and it's all fun! I love the nature of the trivia questions in this game! I don't have much patience for trivia questions about old fart presidents and wars and blah. America isn't about those things...for the most part. It's mostly about fun American stuff like pies and potato heads! There are also quite a few questions about sports because America loves sports; I neither like nor know anything about sports, but that doesn't matter in this game because this is not your average trivia game!

2. Fun system that doesn't require that you have the most knowledge to succeed
I have a problem with trivia games. I just don't care for them because I don't care about the useless minutia that most trivia games address. I don't find games trivia games that simply compare players in their knowledge or largely useless facts and proclaim the one who knows more the winner. If I wanted to play a game like that, I'd just go back and sit in on a high school history class. No, I don't like trivia games and I don't like trivia nights. But I do like America! Because it's not a simple contest to figure out who knows the most useless facts! It's actually more of a contest to figure out who knows their opponents the best...and who knows the most useless facts...and who is best at using limited resources, but I'll address that later.

For now, I just want to emphasize my delight at the fact that you can play and succeed in America without knowing much of anything. Knowing your opponents is just as important as knowing facts!

3. This game actually works with two players! It's a party game, so of course, it is more fun with more than just two players
Yes, Peter and I played a party game with two players! Like many game boxes, it proudly displays a "2" and I wanted to verify the veracity of the box's claim. I've run into some pretty little lying boxes, so I approached this one with caution. But it didn't bite. Even though it's not necessarily the most fun way to play, it's pleasant enough. The tension of trying to figure out who might know the answer if you don't is lower, but still present and the resource management component that demands you not be wasteful with your guess cubes still works. Despite the fact that I am unlikely to ever choose to play America with only two players, I'm glad that the box didn't lie to me.

4. Good duration for depth/interest level
It took us about 15-20 minutes to play our first 2-player game and our 4-player games took only about 40 minutes, which is the perfect duration for a party game. The fact that America gives you more to think about than your average party game is a bonus!

5. More to think about than in a typical party/trivia game
America is not your average trivia party game. There is more to think about here than simply knowing the answer. First, you have to decide on the question to select and this already presents you with an interesting decision. If you don't know the answer to either of the available cards, which do you choose based on your knowledge of your opponents' knowledge? Second, you have to decide in which order to place your guess markers? There are effectively 3 questions on each card and you have to figure out the best order in which to place your markers on the answers in order to make the most of your knowledge and your knowledge of the other players.

6. This is the best part! This isn't just a trivia game! It's a resource management game!
If you take chances with your markers and place them stupidly and don't end up scoring points, you lose them! So if you have a particularly bad round, you could end up with only 3 guesses to make in the following one! And that could be devastating if the topic is something you're fairly sure about! I really love this aspect of America. It makes it gamer worthy! And yet it's still simple enough to teach to anyone and everyone! Even my game-phobic parents picked it up without much trouble!

7. Generates surprises, laughs, and conversation
This is the true test of a party game. Is it fun? Does it generate interaction and conversation? Does it create surprising and genuinely "fun" moments? America satisfies on all counts. The fact that it's equally important to know your opponents and be able to guess who may have the answers as it is to know the answers themselves makes the game highly interactive and a great learning experience. For example, my mom didn't believe that Peter knew anything about School House Rock and went with my answer instead of his, thinking that I knew everthing about cartoons. She was sorely disappointed to find that her daughter (who spendt countless hours of her life, adulthood included, watching cartoons) wasn't the one with the answers to cartoon-related questions.

soblue


soblue 1. Impossible to find in BGG database!
The worst thing I can say about America is that trying to find it in the BGG database feels like wading through quicksand. The moment you think you've got a foothold on solid ground, it disappears and you start to sink into the abyss of the "America" database.



Final Word


In which year did the world's fair that ignited the club sandwich craze take place? Which state has the highest tomato production? How many unique ingredients are in a turkey club sandwich? Now that's important life-altering trivia! Right? Maybe not, but it is fun. What's more fun is the fact that America presents you with choices (ACTUAL CHOICES!) rather than simply triia questions to answer. If you don't have the answers, you have to decide who to believe. If you think everyone is wrong, you can put a stake on that too! And if you're right, you can end up making as many points as you would had you known the exact right answer! You have to decide which questions to pose based on your knowledge and your knowledge of your opponents. And you have to decide how to best manage your guess cubes because if you use them on incorrect answers, you will lose them in the following round.

I'm not a big fan of party games, but America surprised me. I actually enjoyed playing it in a 2-player situation and that encouraged me to make a date with my parents to get a few 4-player sessions in. Of course, it was even better! Until now, Dixit was my party game of choice with my parents. It was something they could understand, but the imagery frequently got the best of my octogenarian step-dad. But America caused a lot less confusion. Between the fun-filled trivia questions, the high level of player interaction, and the laughs and conversation the game generates, America has quickly become one of my favorite party games! But I'm not a big party game person, so take that with a grain of your choice of condiment, topping, or whatever you prefer.


MINA'S LOVE METER heart heart heart SOME LOVE (this is my rating for the four-player game; it would be lower but still positive with two)




***


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Mina's Love Meter


angry Burn it! - I dislike this game so much that it makes me angry. (I rate these 4 or less on the BGG scale)
Dislike - I don't like this game, but I can see why others like it.
(5 on BGG scale)
heart Some like - I find this game somewhat appealing, but it doesn't really grab me. I am glad to have had the opportunity to try this game, but it is unlikely to stay in my collection for very long.
(5.5 to 6.5) on BGG scale)
heart heart Like - I like this game and appreciate the design. I am happy to play this game occasionally when the mood strikes and enjoy doing so.
(7 to 7.5 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart Some love - I love this game. It's not perfect, but it really appeals to me and I will play it frequently.
(7.5 to 8 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart heart Lots of love - I really love this game. The design really speaks to me. I want to play it most of the time.
(8 to 9 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart heart heart All love all the time - I ADORE this game and can see myself playing it many times and for many years. I would go to sleep clutching it in my arms and want to play it all day every day...only not literally because that would be insane.
(9 to 10 on BGG scale)



To see my other reviews, visit this geeklist.



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Bart Quicho
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The subject matter of the questions in America seem a lot more fun than Terra's, and like the idea of the "no exact" spaces, but I don't think I can justify having both in the collection due to them being so similar, and the fact that I have too many games and finite shelf space. *sigh*

First world problems: from when did "first world" originate | current States that did not originally have first world problems | number of Americans with them.

Answers:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1940s-1990(Cold War) | Hawaii and Alaska (gained statehood in late 1950s) | 318 million (U.S. population as of 2014)


 
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