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Subject: The Gamer Nerd Review: Wits and Wagers rss

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Nicolas Shayko
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For full review with images visit: http://www.thegamernerd.com/reviews/wits-wagers/

Trivia Games are possibly the most stale version of the party game. There are countless games to be found at thrift stores with games that have obscure trivia questions of various types in a box. The king of these games is Trivial Pursuit. To win at Trivial Pursuit, you need to be that person who knows the most random facts in a variety of categories. Many people playing the game know they have no chance of winning. Well, Wits and Wagers makes it so that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to win a trivia game. Wits and Wagers needs at least 4 players to play, but is best with 7–14 players in my opinion.

The Components

Wits and Wagers comes with 7 mini-white boards, 7 dry erase markers, 2 cardboard betting chips, a felt board, trivia questions, a sand time and cheap plastic poker chips. The components to the game work well, and the highlight is clearly the white boards that work great. The felt mat is well designed and fits the game well. The only major gripe I have with the components is with the trivia cards themselves. Each card has 7 questions on it and are supposed to be the 7 questions used in a single game, and it’s hard for the question reader to play without reading the future questions which may interfere with gameplay. I would hope there would be a screen that comes with the game so only one question and answer is read at a time. Overall though, the components work great.

The Gameplay

Wits and Wagers works like this. A question is read with a numerical answer. Ever player or team of players writes down their best guess to the question and places it face down on the felt board. After all the answers are in, they are all flipped up and arranged from lowest to highest. The players then take their two wager chips and can add any chips won from previous questions under them in order to pick the answer that is closest to the correct answer without going over. Some questions just about no one will know the exact answer of, but should be able to make a good guess, such as “In inches, how tall is the Oscar statuette?” (13.5″) or “For how many years was Nelson Mandela imprisoned in South Africa” (27.3). Years are another popular type of question, such as “In what year was the microchip invented” (1959). Players who pick the closest without going over get paid off in chips ranging from 2:1 to 6:1 depending on how much of an outlier the correct answer is. Also the person who wrote down the correct answer gets 3 chips. The two cardboard wagering chips can’t be lost, but the extra chips that are bet later can be. The winner is the player with the most chips after 7 questions.

The Strategy

The key to winning in Wits and Wagers is to understand range. The best answers to bet on are the ones that have the largest range. I have seen some people play this game and always bet on their own guess and that is just silly. Use both the wisdom of crowds and math to maximize your chances of winning. Most of the questions have information that players aren’t going to know the exact answer, but if you do, of course bet the farm.

My Thoughts

Wits and Wagers is a great game. It is probably my favorite party game. The questions are fun and interesting. What makes this game great is that you don’t have to know anything in order to win, you just have to know who to bet on. There are categories which people know I know a ton, mostly politics and sports, and they can just bet on me and my edge is taken away. The only bad experience I have had in the game is when one player was moving his chips around on the felt mat in the last second and trying to hide how many chips he had. He was just taking the game way too seriously. Wits and Wagers is still a party game, please don’t play it like a heavy euro. Wits and Wagers is best played with 7–14 players, making sure there are 7 unique answers each round. You don’t have to know it all, you just have to know who will.
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Max DuBoff
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I agree with much of what you said, but I disagree that the format of the cards is poor.


Also, based on your comments, I can tell you're using the newer version. Have you ever played the older version? I find the components to be better, and, even though I have both, I still use the board from the older one.


If you don't mind my asking, how do you play with 14? I've never had more than 7. Do you just play in teams of two?


I agree that it's the best party game out there!
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
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niczone wrote:
Each card has 7 questions on it and are supposed to be the 7 questions used in a single game, and it’s hard for the question reader to play without reading the future questions which may interfere with gameplay.


Actually, the rules say to use 7 question cards each game. You are supposed to ask question 1 from card 1, question 2 from card 2, etc...

But too many people don't realize this, which is why question cards in our latest print runs have 2 questions per card.
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Bill Gallagher
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Having knowledge from your job can help as well.

One example: The question was: "How many blocks out of one million does Lego ultimately reject as being defective?". My answer was 97. It was the low answer; the others ranged from 100 to well into five figures. Being a Quality Assurance engineer in RL, I knew the answer had to be low - so I put almost everything on the "under" block, with two on the "100" just to be safe. Everyone was shocked when the answer was below 20! Needless to say, I won easily.
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Max DuBoff
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Everyone always groans when I'm the game and Question 7 is a history question.

Alternatively, I groan when I'm playing with my friend and there's a math question.
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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MD1616 wrote:
If you don't mind my asking, how do you play with 14? I've never had more than 7. Do you just play in teams of two?


Playing in teams is a much more lively experience. My favorite way to play W&W is at a party with 7 teams of 2 - 3 people each. If you try it, make sure you allow for a little extra time. The more people on a team, the more time you'll need to give.
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domcrap wrote:
niczone wrote:
Each card has 7 questions on it and are supposed to be the 7 questions used in a single game, and it’s hard for the question reader to play without reading the future questions which may interfere with gameplay.


Actually, the rules say to use 7 question cards each game. You are supposed to ask question 1 from card 1, question 2 from card 2, etc...

But too many people don't realize this, which is why question cards in our latest print runs have 2 questions per card.
TBH, I actually preferred the old system, as then there was less confusion as to which round we were on. Yes, somebody should know who started reading questions and just count that offset, but it wasn't that difficult to explain that the first player reads the 1st question, 2nd player reads the 2nd question, etc.

However, the one nice thing about the 2/card is it'll keep others from picking their own questions. 1) this takes longer as they now read through all questions and 2) it can be a bias towards what someone knows.
 
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