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Subject: I used to like this game - what happened? rss

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Mr. Frothingslosh
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I used to think Scattergories was absolutely cool. Huge letter die, timer, category lists, and scoring pads are all the components you'll need.

I will say this - the die is awesomely HUGE surprise Other games should be kept separate, or else they may suffer die envy.

The general idea of the game is simple. Everyone chooses a category list to play and that list will have ten subjects. The die is rolled and that letter becomes the letter to use for all ten subjects.

So if a 'B' is rolled, you could write down 'Binders' for School Supplies, and 'Bumblebees' for insects.

Here's the thing though - you need to come up with a unique answer to score any points. If you have the same answer as someone else, neither person scores any points. In addition, if your answer has multiple words starting with the chosen letter you get more points - ex. Mickey Mouse is worth 2 points, while Ed, Edd, and Eddie (don't ask!) would be worth 3 points.

Now, back to my title of 'I used to like this game - what happened?' I think the love affair with the game wore off when the arguments over what words were acceptable started.

For you see, since all players are looking for that unique word to fill a category subject, some of the answers can be pretty strange. I don't mind using your creativity, as this is essentially what Scattergories is about. But why put down answers that 'could' work.

Here's some examples of why I hate this game:

Subject, Things found in Paris. An 'S' was rolled. The answer that came up was 'Swedes'. The player defended it by saying there COULD be Swedes visiting Paris. This is where the game falls apart for me. I could really have written ANYTHING here - shingles, shar-pei poodles, sinks, soda crackers, silly putty etc etc etc and it COULD concievably be correct.

There are many subjects that fall into this trap - things at the beach, things at the park etc.

Or how about 'K' for hobbies which lead to 'King Kong memorabilia collecting' which went through as being a 'well, could be..' sort of answer (sorry James if you ever read this!)

If there is a dispute over a word, there is a mechanism where all players (including the challenged player?!) vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the word. Of course the challenged player votes thumbs-up for his own word, but his vote does not count if there is a tie.

This voting mechanism leads to some strange decisions. 'Butterfly' for an insect was voted down as the majority believed it not an insect!!!! (although I think this may have been a case of leader-bashing, which is another problem altogether).

All-in-all, I play this game very occasionally - perhaps 1-2 times a year now (although much more often years ago). It can be a fun party game and DOES lead to some weird answers (and even weirder arguments), but there are just too many problems with this game to make it worthwhile for me on a more regular basis. If you take it too seriously like me, you'll probably want to steer clear.
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Evan Stegman
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randougall wrote:
...
Subject, Things found in Paris. An 'S' was rolled. The answer that came up was 'Swedes'. The player defended it by saying there COULD be Swedes visiting Paris. This is where the game falls apart for me. I could really have written ANYTHING here - shingles, shar-pei poodles, sinks, soda crackers, silly putty etc etc etc and it COULD concievably be correct.


We don't allow anything that COULD be there because, as you say, that is just about anything.

Instead of interpreting the categories as 'could be there' we interpret them as 'commonly associated with'.


randougall wrote:
...

Or how about 'K' for hobbies which lead to 'King Kong memorabilia collecting' which went through as being a 'well, could be..' sort of answer (sorry James if you ever read this!)

...

Nope, don't allow that either.

That's sticking a modifier in front of the actual word to make it fit.

We require that the subject word be the one that starts with the letter not just some random modifier stuck on the front.

That came up in the last game.

The category was Ceremony, the letter was S.

Someone put Son's wedding.

Nope, don't allow it. If you allow modifiers, you can use a wedding for any letter: aunt's wedding, brother's wedding, cousin's wedding, English wedding, father's wedding and so on.

We don't consider it in the spirit of the game and those kinds of weasel answers (both the modifers and 'could be there') aren't allowed.

I think you just need to establish before you start what kind of answers are acceptable ('commonly associated with' & 'no modifers') before you start rather than wait and argue about it during the game.
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EvanMinn wrote:
establish before you start what kind of answers are acceptable ('commonly associated with' & 'no modifers') [...] rather than wait and argue about it during the game.


And don't allow debates. Put disputed answers to a quick vote and move on. Otherwise, this game becomes all about the arguing.
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Richard Irving
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Quote:
And don't allow debates. Put disputed answers to a quick vote and move on. Otherwise, this game becomes all about the arguing
.

And what other reason is there to play it?????
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Mr. Frothingslosh
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LurkingMeeple wrote:
EvanMinn wrote:
establish before you start what kind of answers are acceptable ('commonly associated with' & 'no modifers') [...] rather than wait and argue about it during the game.


And don't allow debates. Put disputed answers to a quick vote and move on. Otherwise, this game becomes all about the arguing.



Agreed on both counts - establishing no modifiers and 'associated with' would make a big difference in our games, methinks.

We try to do a quick vote and move on, but it's not always as easy as it sounds. I've seen a player who gets voted down, immediately challenge the next few questionable answers so as to get his REVENGEdevil

This is why I've switched largely to Eurosshake
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Robin Bartlett
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yeah me and my friends played it the other night, guys vs gals.

the men kept using modifiers like vegetable "H" = husked corn >_<

we let them get away with that one, only because we knew we would win anyway
 
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Andrew C.
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My experience of this game is that most people are really bad at it. One person will quickly finish, and everyone else has only 2 or 3 answers.

Much more fun can be had by coming up with your own categories, and just using paper and pencil (and hence not spending AU $50 on this game).
 
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Lance Hampton
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You need to play with people where you aren't the only common relationship.

The last game I played was with my brother and wife. I matched one or the other on practically everything. I was filling in virtually every spot, far more than either of them, but I finished third by a good distance.
 
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Raven Johnson
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Andrew, if the people you play with are "really bad at it," if by that you mean not filling in any answer at all for most question, then the people you're playing with are just stupid (meant as a real-life adjective rather then an insult), or else they are slow writers.

"King Kong memorabilia" is not only something that people COULD collect, but something that people DO collect. I guarantee you will find websites selling things related to King Kong, and I absolutely guarantee that at least 100 people in the world collect things that are related to King Kong. Answers like his are usually given when the human playing can't think of anything else to write in that category.

Crackers, shingles and sinks ARE found in Paris. There is no doubt, whatsoever, that Paris contains at least two crackers, at least two sinks, and at least two... shingled buildings. "Swedes," on he other hand, may or may not be in Paris at any given moment. If the players mutually know a Sweedish couple who is currently honeymooning in Paris, then there are DEFINITELY Swedes in Paris and, for that games, is an acceptable answer. Since the category does not say, "Things that COULD be found in Paris", things that MIGHT be are illegal. Since the category DOES say things that ARE found in Paris, anything that is DEFINITELY THERE is legal. I am not sure why there is so much debate on these forums (and only on these forums, never in real life!) about rules that are clearly explained. The category very clearly says, "Things that are found in Paris," so the only answers I can think of that there should be a debate over are things that the other people are not sure whether or not they exist in Paris.

In the case of insect vs. Butterfly, you should not be solving that by vote, since it is not a votable issue. You should be solving that by either
a) Internet/Dictionary/Encyclopedia or
b) The other people in the group just recognizing that you're the smartest human being present. This was frequently the case when I was playing Scrabble with a group of uneducated (Chicago) people, some of whom would frequently just make random letter combinations and ask if it was a word. Sure, sometimes they looked them up, but usually I would just say, "Um, there's pretty much no possibility that that's a word," or I'd say something like, "That COULD be a word, but it's not something I would try...". Most of the time when I put down a word they didn't know, they would say, "That's not a word," and I would say, "It's a chemical used in processing gold," or whatever it was, and they would believe me. Obviously, it's usually a bad idea to cheat if the people you're playing with are significantly stupider then you! But of course that recognition depends on who you're playing with.

Of course you can use the voting method for factual disputes if you prefer, but Google is a better method IMO because if you vote and they vote wrong, that's like cheating without knowing it. Tomato can be factually used under both fruit and vegetable, but I don't count nutritionists as legitimate scientific species classifiers... that's the only possibly dispute I can think of that would be both Google and vote. For the most part though if anything comes up in this game it easily works itself out, and is more likely to be factual then categorical.
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Nick
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I completely agree with this review. I used to play Scattergories as a kid with my sister and a friend and it was a fun game. I just played again this past weekend and the game was a disaster. The game completely plays into arguments and the vote system does not help. Does "Things that are black" mean things that are always black, sometimes black, or usually black? Then, when what you consider a perfectly reasonable answer is voted down, you are not going to be too happy about it even if you don't care about who wins too much.

The premise of the game is to come up with uncommon answers, but they better not be too uncommon or you risk getting voted down. Sorry, not fun Scattergories.

And finally, I would be willing to wager any amount of money that Paris, a city of over 2 million with the third most annual visitors in the world, which is only 1,000 km from Sweden and has a Swedish embassy, has Swedes in it now and any other time in the foreseeable future.
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Luke Jaconetti
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Honestly, I would have voted up Swedes for sheer creativity.

(Another good answer would be sommeliers!)
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Derrick Reisdorf
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Good take. I can't believe how many think King Kong memorabilia collecting and Swedes would be acceptable answers. Just because these things exist or could be or likely fit a category, does not mean the answer is acceptable!
It bugged me when I played games with people that have these answers and thought they were acceptable- it's like they didn't understand the spirit of the game. Like another person said here, no modifiers should be allowed, and "things found..." should be thought of as "commonly/expected to be found". Arguing should not be what Scattergories is about...a player either thinks of a word that fits the category properly or not.
Creativity is only "creative" when an answer fits but in a different way. One example the game gives is if the category is "types of sandwiches", perhaps you give someone credit for "knuckle". Though a knuckle sandwich is not an actual sandwich, it is a common figure of speech. I know people will try to argue for their "Kale and Salami" sandwich, but those kind of answers are not in the spirit of the game. Just avoid playing with those players- you know who they are- and the game finds its fun.
If you run out of categories, just make up your own if you can think of some good ones. This old 1988 version is great with the big die and noisy wind-up timer. I remember trying to come up with that answer for the last category, thinking surely the timer has gone on longer than the round before. You continue scrambling for an answer knowing the snap of that timer is going to go off right then. That noisy timer certainly has its presence accounted for in the game.
The game isn't great with the wrong players, but it's a solid game with the right ones.
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