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Designer Diary & Game Overview: Think Again

bruno cathala
st pierre en faucigny
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Board Game: Think Again!
Party games are a kind of game I didn't touch very much, not because I don't like them — I looooooove funny games when they are good, such as Time's Up!, Spot it!, and Liar's Dice) — but because it is really hard to find THE good idea (or is that The Big Idea?), the idea so simple that you can explain the game in thirty seconds, clever enough to make everyone laugh, and — most difficult of all — different from what has already been done.

Working together with Ludovic (Maublanc), we decided to do everything in reverse order: Let's make a quiz game! And then we heard the crowd: "Boooo! So common!" Hmm, a quiz, yes, but a quiz that would not play with your knowledge because everyone would know every answer.

So, where is the originality? Well, if you already know all the answers, you'll have to be faster than the other players. What's more, you'll have to give WRONG answers!

Yes, therein lies the core concept of Think Again! I ask you "What is the color of milk" and you have to answer green, or red, but NOT white (or blue, if you are a Star Wars geek). And if I ask you who wrote Romeo and Juliet, answer Poe, but not Shakespeare!

Try doing this in your head, and you'll see that it's not that easy to QUICKLY give wrong answers to really simple questions!

Board Game: Think Again!
Board Game: Think Again!
Dunce and genius co-designers
But there is more: To trick the smart ones who would prepare wrong answers while the question is being read, the reader will show you the back of the next card immediately when he finishes reading the question. If that card back is red or has the word "Wrong" or depicts the character with the dunce cap, you have to answer wrongly, as explained above. But if the back is green or has the word "Right" or shows the image of a genius, you have to give a good – that is, a correct – answer, the real truth!

And this is all you need to have a great moment. You'll laugh because someone will answer the wrong/right way or the right/wrong way — you know what I mean! — with people saying things you would never think of in a lifetime, like ants live at the White House or you can make a phone call with a razor!

Oh, one last (nasty?) thing: The game includes a few absurd questions, questions that have no right answer, e.g., what is the color of the letters of the alphabet? It is soooo funny to see people search for answers to those questions, when of course the only correct answer to such absurd questions is "Think again!"


I thought that I'd give a game overview to accompany Bruno's diary, but he has summarized both the origin of the idea and how to play, so I'm left with little to do but second his assessment of the game, having played once on a press copy from IELLO. With each question read, everyone but the reader seems poised to blurt out almost anything that comes to mind. The challenge is that wrong answers must be in the "proper" category for the question, so you can't yell "Tiger!" for every answer that's supposed to be wrong but instead must think your way to the almost correct answer, discarding nearly every possible answer that could be given to a question in order to be off the target to just the right degree.

I'm not sure whether this is intentional, but as the reader I like to slide the card that determines whether an answer should be right or wrong from the bottom of the deck and flash it to others without knowing which way they're supposed to be answering. Their brows beetle together for a few seconds, then the answers spring out in a batch and you learn (perhaps) which type of card you revealed.

One nice feature of the design is that only the first answer matters. Whether someone is right or wrong with their right or wrong answer, that person scores or loses one point, and no one else scores anything. This keeps the focus of the game on being fast and first, which naturally spurs more mistakes than if players waited to bat second. If you're behind on points, you're on edge just a bit more, for both good and bad, as each question is read, but as with many party games in the end you're thinking (again) more about the experience and the players with whom your share table time than who won.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Rectangular cards in the 2012 French version become square in the English one
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