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Subject: Wits & Wagers Family - A Light Review rss

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Image Courtesy of domcrap

All of my 'Light Reviews' aim to offer a brief overview that allows people to get a good feel for what a game may offer them, the options involved and general flow of play.

My modern Light Review format aims to keep the length under 2000 words, which may sound like a lot but is really quite succinct.

Summary

Game Type - Party/Trivia/Social Game
Play Time: 20 minutes
Number of Players: 3-10 (3-5 without teams)
Mechanics - Trivia, Wagers
Difficulty - Pick-up & Play (Can be learned in 10 minutes)
Components - Very Good
Release - 2010

Designer - Dominic Crapuchettes - (Clubs, Wits & Wagers, Evolution, Say Anything)

Overview and Theme

North Star Games made a name for themselves in 2005 when they released Wits & Wagers. It was a trivia game where the onus was not necessarily on knowing the answers. Instead the players made use of educated guesses and their estimation skills and then had to work out who they felt might know the answer best in each round.

Five years on and Wits & Wagers Family was released. This follows pretty much the same principal except here the questions are a little more family or 'kid' friendly as the number ranges for answers are much lower and the scoring also gets a more family friendly refinement.

How many Crapuchettes does it take to refine an already successful game franchise? I've no idea but my Meeple is on you knowing the answer by the end of this review. Let's find out.

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The Components

The game is a very efficient beast, using the minimal components possible, which must be a real bonus from a company point of view.

d10-1 Question Cards - These of course are the reason why we all came. The game offers up 150 cards in total with 2 questions featuring on each card, for a total of 300 questions.

One side features the questions and of course the reverse has the answers. All questions are referenced as to their origins or source material as well. The top question of each card generally offers a smaller number range and are possibly best used when playing with younger children, whilst the bottom question is a more open affair.

The little tray that can be lifted out of the insert is a nice feature, which helps to keep the cards together and allows for easy access.

Oh and I should mention that the cards also feature one red card that is used to help separate the questions, so you know which ones you have been through already. That's a nice addition.


Image Courtesy of EndersGame


d10-2 Scoreboard - The game provides a functional dry-erase board for up to 5 players or teams. A series of circles (15 in all per player\team) are presented in rows. To track scoring, the players simply mark off each circle as they accumulate points, so no tokens are required.

The graphics on the board are simple but fun with family friendly meeple playing soccer, a guitar or riding a skateboard etc.


Image Courtesy of domcrap


d10-3 Answer Boards - The Answer Boards are nice mid-sized affairs that feature the same icons used on the Scoreboard. Each comes in a different colour and the reverse side is nothing more than a blank white dry-erase space in which to record your answers.

These are clearly the best component ever released in any game...like evar...because the green board features the Soccer Meeple and my favourite colour is green and I'm a soccer fan! cool

The game also comes with an additional Answer Board in black with the number 1 on it. The reason for this will be made clear shortly.


Image Courtesy of EndersGame


d10-4 Meeple - For each team, two coloured wooden meeple are provided. One is large and the other small and this is important in relation to the points they can earn.


Image Courtesy of EndersGame


d10-5 Dry Erase Markers - These are standard markers for use on dry-erase boards. My copy is 4-5 years old now and...yep...they still work well.


Image Courtesy of EndersGame


d10-6 Rules - The rules are in keeping with such a simple but well executed concept. They outline the game efficiently and clearly and really, any half decently educated 8 year old could teach their parents the game using these.


Image Courtesy of domcrap


Overall the components here won't have you rushing to take component shots and upload them to the masses of the world. Not because they are poor, but simply because they are functional with a nice touch here or there. They do the job and don't get in the way of a good time.


Image Courtesy of EndersGame


Set-Up

WWF (yes I'm using this as my acronym) is about as easy to set up as using a tv tray to eat a muesli bar.

Put the scoreboard to one side, give each player a pair of meeple in a colour of their choice and the matching player board. Each player also gets a dry erase marker and the questions are put within easy reach.

The game is ready to begin. The only difference if playing in teams is to form your teams.

It will probably take longer to organise the drinks than it will to set up.

The Play

For those not familiar with the concept of Wits & Wagers, here is a very simple look at the play.

d10-1 Read a Question – Any player can read the next question. Each card has two questions to choose from and they tend to differ slightly in the number range of possible answers.

d10-2 Record Answers – Each player or team must then make their best guess and write it on the back of their player board. Answers will always be in the form of numbers. Answers are kept secret at this point.

d10-3 Reveal and Arrange Answers –

Image Courtesy of MyParadox
Once all players/teams have recorded their answers, the boards are revealed and placed in numerical order on the table from lowest (starting with the 1 board, which is always in play) to highest. It is possible for two or more answers to be identical (and more likely in this version of the game given some of the questions posed here). These are simply arranged side by side.

d10-4 Back Your Pony - This is the first major change in play for the family edition. The players/teams must assess the range of answers and decide which ones they think are closest to the real answer without going over it. Each player/team has 2 meeple with which to back answers. They can load up both on one answer if they are extremely confident or they can hedge their bets if they are not sure but want to increase their odds of scoring something.

Selecting which answer(s) to back is as simple as placing your meeple on the answer boards of choice and this is done at the same time by all players\teams.

Why is the '1' answer board included I hear you ask? Well it is possible for a player\team to believe that all given answers are higher than the real answer. Thus it is possible to place your meeple on the '1' board in order to score, should your hunch be true. This also implies that no question will ever have an answer of zero or lower.

d10-5 Unleash the Kraken!...err...Reveal the Answer and Score - The real answer is then revealed and the answer board with the closest response to it, without going over, is deemed the best answer on the table.

Scoring is as simple as earning 1 point for having your small meeple placed on that answer board and 2 points for having your large meeple placed on it. Of course multiple players\teams may score in this way.

The game also rewards knowledge by offering an additional point to the person\team that correctly made the winning answer\guess. whistle

d10-6 Winning the Game – The first player\team to reach 15 points takes the win. If two or more players\teams should reach the milestone in the same round, the one that exceeded 15 by the most is the winner. If still tied the youngest player\team takes the win (this is family fun after all). Or if your family must always end every game in bloodshed, like mine, you could have a playoff round I guess...where the closest answer takes the win. cool

The Final Word

Wits & Wagers as a concept has always been a winner for several reasons. The most important is that it doesn't make people feel dumb, which is a major turnoff for millions of people when someone mentions Trivial Pursuit. Wits & Wagers is all about accessibility, the focus is on the fun and whilst thinking is important, everyone has a chance. Another element to its success is the notion of knowing the players and backing someone who you think should know the answer or get pretty close. Of course when dad the soccer nut (that would be me) decides to deliberately make a wrong guess...cue shenanigans...the slaps to the head ensue!

This family edition makes the game even more accessible than the original, especially for younger gamers as the categories are kid and family friendly. The questions too have also been devised such that the top questions feature much smaller number ranges (How many different coloured Fruit Loops are there? for example) and the bottom questions open that up a lot more, often using percentages as an answer point.

The scoring is the other major shake-up over the original game. In the original, bets had to be wagered and this could often give an adult gamer a big advantage over a younger player as there is some craft and guile involved in weighing up one's total assets and wagering them in smart ways. This is totally removed in the family edition to simplify the scoring to at most 4 points in a single round. This makes the play tighter, everyone is going to feel like they have a shot at the title right up to those last 2-3 rounds. One last point worth adding is that this game is deliberately timed to keep younger minds engaged...this won't outstay its welcome and several games are likely to be played in a sitting.

For me Wits & Wagers Family is a winner for the family market. There are still a few issues for people in countries that don't use the imperial measurement system but these are not too big a deal. Some may have trouble with the number of questions in the box...300 to be precise, but for me this isn't a problem either as these games might get played 5-6 times a year. And of course anyone who likes classic trivia and showing off their 'brain'...need not apply here as it will frustrate them terribly. zombie

Till next we meet, keep your Dom out of your Crapuchettes and all will be well. Oh and the answer to the Crapuchettes related modification of a game franchise question? It takes 3 - One will be too busy designing a new game, another will be on a fishing boat for old times sake and the third gets the job done because...like...someone needs to pay the bills

Review Links

For a full list of my 400+ reviews in a search-able Geeklist -

My Review Geeklist for Easy Reference

Other Trivia/Party-Based Game Review Links


Concept

Crappy Birthday

Say Anything Family Edition

Wits & Wagers (2nd Ed.)
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DomaGB
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I enjoy this among all the Wits & Wagers titles the most. It is a top 5 game for my wife. While it's not even a top 100 games for me, I enjoy it for what it is and the setting to use it.
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