Our Christmas day this year was spent with a small group of eight friends who'd decided not to leave the city this year. Some had spent the night on Christmas Eve and the rest of us showed up early in the morning. By early afternoon we'd been sated by an obscenely delicious brunch, had lounged/napped it off, and were ready for game playing.
The hosts had bought each of us a game for Christmas. I got Bogus. On retrospect, I'm not sure what that means about their feelings for me.
We'd played a few card games and had a quick bout of A2A, when one of the hosts suggest we try my game. We opened the box with enthusiasm and pulled out the bits and pieces and got set up. The enthusiasm didn't last very long, however, and here's why:
1. Rules: Everyone starts with $50,000 (two $25,000 chips) and lay bets on knowing the correct answer to questions, with players take turns reading (you can't bet when you're the player reading the question, obviously). If you get the answer right, you win your bet and take the money from the pot in the center of table. First person to $1,000,000 wins.
The other rule which "adds another level" to the game, according to the rulebook is ... Sabotage! Meaning you can point your arrow card which you lay your bet and True/False card on at another player and, if you win your bet, take your money from that player.
2. Game play: It seems like a feeble attempt to marry the perrenial popularity of Trivial Pursuit with the current craze of Poker. I imagine the pitch was something like: "Hey! What if you could place BETS during Trivial Pursuit!" Our first attempt at playing we stuck with the basic rules and were immediately bored. There's no interaction between characters and it feels, basically, like a race with everyone running on different tracks.
We found the questions to be incredibly obscure, to the point where most of the time you felt like you were guessing, which quickly became frustrating.
The "Sabotage!" rules added player interaction, but with confusion. Many people found the divvying up of "stolen" money to be confusing -- especially when many people were betting against different players -- and it also lengthened the game almost to the point of tedium.
3. Bits: The cards look nice enough and are of a decent paper weight. However some people found the questions hard to read and the answers/explanations below them near impossible to read (this must be 5-6 pt. type). The arrow cards are of a nice thickness. The only problem here (and with the True/False cards) is that the yellow cards are so bright, that the type which is dropped out in white, is nearly impossible to read. The betting chips are your basic cheap plastic chips with a logo in the middle -- fine for what they're for.
4. Overall: Some people found the Sabotage rules confusing, and everyone found the questions to be too obscure and the betting mechanic uninspiring.
There's a part of me that wonders if this game might be better than our two experiences -- that the Sabotage rules might induce some great, nasty play. But we didn't see it and I can't imagine anyone wanting to give it another try.
We immediately went back to more tried and true games. And more Christmas cookies.