Heidi had unearthed some old from a relative's attic, including "Botecelli In The Can" (?) and "Black and
White", a game about race relations that came out in the sixties. We instead chose to try "Facts in Five", an
old 3M game that I have seen in many a thrift store.
Facts in Five is a evolutionary link between the old parlor game "Guggenheim", and the modern game
"Scatagories." Each player gets a score sheet, which features a 5 x 5 grid. Along the top of the grid,
categories are written, ranging from the very specific ("Human organs") to the more broad ("Universities").
Along the side of the grid, everyone writes down the same randomly-drawn letters (e.g. "M, P, T, P, B").
Now a five-minute timer is flipped over. Players spend the time trying to come up with entries for each box
on their score sheet, entries that fit under the specific category on the top and start with the letter on the side
(So if the first category was "animals" and the letters were the ones mentioned above, a person could write,
going down, "Marmot", "Parrot", "Tiger", "Platapus" and "Butterfly' -- anthough the categories are never
as easy as "animals") When time is up, each player scores points for each row and each column. In each row,
a player gets points equal to the number of valid entries squared (so if you have four valid entries in a row,
you get 16 points). Ditto for each column. The totals for the rows and columns are added up for the final
score. Since each row or column can generate up to 25 points, and there are 5 of each, the maximum score
possible is 250 points.
Facts and Five is much more taxing that either Guggenheim or Scattagories, both of which feature much
broader categories and give you only a minute to come up with answers. (While either of these game might
have "Animals", Facts in Five would more likely have "Animals: African" or "Animals: Reptiles"). Also,
this game does not feature the rule in Scattergories in which players do not receive points for entries that
were thought of by other players (so if two players put "parrot", they wouldn't get points for them) which
adds a bit of psychology to an otherwise trivia-only enterprise.
Full disclosure: I don't really like trivia games and I can't stand Scattergories. But Facts in Five wasn't too
bad, although it would never be my choice as a game to play. For one thing, five minutes is a looooong time
to just sit around silently scribbling answers in a "party game".
We played twice. I don't remember who won the first time, although I am certin it wasn't me (I'm awful at
these kind of games). I do remember that James won the second round, though, because he did it with a
perfect score of 250. James, I should note, is some kinda freaky human trivia reservoir, and could clean
anyone's clock at a game such as this. If I ever get on "Who Wants to Be A Millionare", I'll probably be
calling him up as a lifeline on the $2000 question.