Ben Lott
United States
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Being a Lions fan is a gift...
...and a curse.
Arbitration is a strange game that takes the concept of Rock, Paper, Scissors and tries to adapt it to a party game. It succeeds in making you think about how your opponents are going to answer, but it is a bit too long.

Contents: In the box you will find the instructions, a game board, an answer pad, a six-sided die, 6 pawns, some win tokens, 6 pencils, 6 scorecards, and 90 Question cards.

Rules: Each player puts a pawn on the start space and gets a pencil, an answer sheet, and a scorecard. Players roll-and-move on their turn, pick up a question card, and read the question in the category color they landed on. The categories include Retorts, Opinions, Lingo, and Theoreticals.

All players circle Rock, Paper, or Scissors in the first empty blank on their answer sheet based on which answer they would choose. Then they write down a specific answer related to the general answer they chose. For instance, if the question is “What kind of movie would you like to see right now?” The 3 choices are Rock=Action, Paper=Comedy, Scissors=Drama. So you could circle paper and write down “Dumb & Dumber”.

Now the active player challenges someone who they think chose the answer that would lose to their answer. The 2 players play Rock, Paper, Scissors choosing the item that they circled on their answer sheet. Whoever wins the challenge puts a Win token under the appropriate category on their score card. Then all players pass their answers to the player sitting to the winner’s right side. All answers are read and if the winner can guess which answer the challenge loser wrote, they get a second Win token for that category. If there is a tie, the active player can still win a single token if they can guess the challenged player’s answer.

Wild spaces allow the active player to choose whatever category they would like. Arbitration spaces allow the active player to play a straight game of Rock, Paper, Scissors for a Win token in any category. The first player to get 2 Win tokens in each category wins.


Mr. Positive: “That was a neat twist on the old classic Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

Mr. Negative: “That took too long.”

Mr. Positive: “I liked the way you had to creatively think about how other players might answer.”

Mr. Negative: “That took too long!”

Mr. Positive: “It was neat how you could deduce which answer your opponent wrote based on what they chose in Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

Mr. Negative: “THAT TOOK TOO LONG!!”

Arbitration does create a lot of interesting deductive thought. I like the aspect of trying to surmise what answer your opponents might choose. I think this game would be virtually impossible if you don’t know the other players, because you won’t know how they will answer questions. And of course, as I have said several times already, the game takes too long. You can get all but one category and just keep rolling and rolling trying to get that category and yet fail again and again. This drags the game out past the point of it being fun. We have talked about changing the rules slightly. Our fix would be that if you win the challenge the first win token goes in the category you read, but if you also guess which answer your opponent wrote you can put that second token in any category. Either way, there are still a lot of better party games out there.
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