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Subject: No Set-up Time Variant rss

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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Randy Cox brought up the idea of not starting the game with any chips which is a version of the game that we are currently working on. Although the variant we are working on uses a different board and some different components, I thought I'd modify it to work with the components that currently come in Wits & Wagers.

Benefits of this version:
- The game play is quicker since the banker does not have to collect chips.
- Almost no set-up time (very important when playing the 2nd game at a party)
- Players cannot end the game with fewer chips than they started with (which leaves a sour taste)

Setup:
Each player starts the game with an answer board, a pen, and 2 betting cubes.

Game play:
The game play is almost identical to the current rules of the game except that players use their betting cubes to bet each round. Each of these markers count as 1 red chip (5 points) but players get their betting cubes back each round even if they bet incorrectly. On the final question, each of these betting markers are worth 1 blue chip (10 points) instead of the normal red chip (5 points).

Game play edited based on Randy's suggestion below...
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Brian Jones
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Dominic, I love your game, have introduced it to many non-gamer friends, and brought it to a couple holiday parties. I know this is just a variant you're suggesting, but honestly, how long does it take to count out poker chips? One, maybe two minutes, max? Is everyone at this party smoking crank?! The chips/betting are where the fun is, I don't think the game would go over half as well without having them from the start. I do see that this version might be a little "friendlier", but the game takes maybe 10-15 minutes to play already, and that includes conversation after each question.
 
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Randy Cox
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It's not just set-up time that's saved. With this variant, there is no give-and-take between bettors and the banker. It's one direction only--correct betters get money from the bank; no money goes to the bank (except for that last round). That's the glory of it--you don't get people mixing up money.

Dominic,

Does this variant remove the $10 bounty given to the correct answer writer? That would make it even sweeter.
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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Randy Cox wrote:

Does this variant remove the $10 bounty given to the correct answer writer? That would make it even sweeter.


You can play without the $10 bonus among particular friends, but I don't recommend it as a variant. I have tried the game without the $10 bonus and it sometimes breaks down into everyone giving ridiculesly random answers (usually starting off with someone trying to be funny). I've seen people in separate games independent of each other decide to keep the same answer for each question so they don't have to erase their answer board. The game is not as much fun when this happens because half of the fun is in seeing what other people really think and betting on people who you think might know the subject better than yourself. When I design a game, I try to create mechanics that motivate people to do the activity which is FUN. This is why I prefer to keep the $10 bonus in this variant. While it is true that peer pressure can get people to "play within the spirit of the game", that breaks down when different people interpret the "spirit" of the game in different ways.
 
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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bclayj wrote:
I know this is just a variant you're suggesting, but honestly, how long does it take to count out poker chips? One, maybe two minutes, max? Is everyone at this party smoking crank?!


Crank?!! That's a great idea. I'm getting tired of my normal cocaine and lithium mix. zombie

NO, this is the correct way to picture the scene: I'm hosting a game of Wits & Wagers with 10 - 15 people standing around a table and playing. There are 5 - 10 people hanging out in the adjoining room. Most people are drinking beer or wine. People are making jokes, flirting with each other, laughing and having a good time. (Check out the video on our homepage and you'll see: www.northstargames.com). Setting up the chips before the first game was no problem because no one was waiting on me.

Now the first game is over and people decide they want to play again. I have to collect all of the chips from the table with a crowd of people in my way, organize the chips, and then count out 7 sets of 10 red chips and 7 sets of 3 blue chips. No one else knows how many chips each players starts with and people are still laughing and playing so it takes a while before people realize the setup takes some time. Sometimes people are joking with me which diverts my attention from sorting. Someone is usually trying to talk with me about how our business is going. Someone is trying to help out and is asking me how many chips everyone gets. I'm torn in three different conversations. Within a minute of waiting, several people have drifted off to talk with people in the adjoining room or are sitting on the couch. Sure, three or four minutes later I can get everyone back in the room and we play the second game. But how much cooler would it be if we could immediately start the second game?

Anyhow, the "family version" we are working on has 3 colored poker chips per team/player instead of 2 wooden blocks so you still get the gambling feel of the game, but you aren't actually betting chips. You also keep track of the score on paper which makes the game much cheaper to produce. This is important because we need to get the price of the game down from $30 to $20 if we really want to break into the mainstream. Not only that, but the current version of the game should be selling for $45 based upon the cost of the components and the normal industry markup. We are simply taking a hit (and not making money) because we don't think people are willing to pay $45 for a party game.
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Randy Cox
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Tried this with my wife and her brother a couple of days ago. My 2-year-old daughter also played, but she just wrote 000 on her card every turn and, of course, bet arbitrarily. So, essentially it was a 3-player game with 4 people betting. I really think this game would need at least 5 to shine.

Anyway, the "no chips" version (I really don't think that the selling point is "no set-up time") worked extremely well. That is, until the final round. Explaining that people can now bet up to 5 chips that they could possibly lose, but that their two cubes still count as "safe" $5 tokens is a little odd. I really think that eliminating the 5 chips for the final turn is the way to go. If you really want to get that "all-in" concept, then I'd suggest making the cubes worth $10 each for the final round. That way, you're still doing the same mechanic and the chips really only amount to victory points.

For the record, I won with $85, my wife had $75, my 2-year-old had $70, and my brother-in-law had $30.
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Alex Rockwell
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I love the no chips bet variant scoring, as all it does is save time. You can also give 1 red chip to each player for each unplaced bet token, to simulate them not betting in the original rules.


I really like the 'correct answer earns $10' rule. It is a LOT of fun to try and one up others guesses. Like you think somoene will guess 100 and you put 101. Or you put 102 trying to one up the guy doing that. Or you go 110. Or 111 to beat that guy! And then maybe your slight one upping makes you go over!

When it happened in one of our games, that I had written 16.11 to one up the guy who put 16.1 who was trying to go over the 16 guessers, it was REALLY funny and we were all laughing. (Of course, thats for that could have a decimal, like a %age one, not a year).

The reward for correct guess is needed in order to get reasonable guesses. Otherwise, if I know the answer is 42, I can write 1, or 1000, or something more rediculous, to try and push the right answer to one side or the other for better odds.
If you want to do that now, you give up your chance at the bonus. (We had somoene write 10^800 for something involving a number of people, it was pretty funny, and it pushed the bets down, which was his goal, but then by doing that he couldnt get the bonus). I think if there wasnt that bonus, I would usually write rediculous answers and the game would be less fun.
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Alex Rockwell
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OOh, next time I play, I have to write: e^(i*pi) + 1 as an answer
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I"m not sure what the purpose is of introducing the betting limit on the final round. That seems like a separate change.

Also, if you wanted to make the game even more like the original, players could have the option of not betting on any particular round, and then getting one red back per cube withheld. Betting on the 1-1 and winning would get you 2 reds, and so forth.

Edit--And I see I posted the same thing Alex posted.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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We had a question where I thought the answer was around 13% and I put 12.7% as my answer. I almost put 12.71%, but I thought: nah, no one else will put exactly 12.7.

The answer was....12.7! Hehe.
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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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Randy Cox wrote:
If you really want to get that "all-in" concept, then I'd suggest making the cubes worth $10 each for the final round. That way, you're still doing the same mechanic and the chips really only amount to victory points.


I think your idea is the best on this account. In fact, I like it a lot! You have my official endorsement on it for this version!

In the family edition of the game that we are currently working on, we decided to go with a score track along the edge of the board. This game does not need an "all-in" question because the length of the game is variable. The tension of the game remains because the leading player may not win any points for several questions in a row which means that everyone still has a chance of winning the game all the way until the end (how ever slim).
 
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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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Alexfrog wrote:
We had a question where I thought the answer was around 13% and I put 12.7% as my answer. I almost put 12.71%, but I thought: nah, no one else will put exactly 12.7.

The answer was....12.7! Hehe.


One of the funniest things that happened recently was at the Wits & Wagers Game Show event that we put on at Game Days in Baltimore. There were about 50 people in the event and another 10 or more watching. The question was "How many movies is Alfred Hitchcock credit with directing?" One of the teams was in such a habit of "one-upping" that they wrote 17.1. Some other team wrote 18. So their answer would pay out only if the correct answer was between 17.1 and 18 (which is wasn't)! laugh We all had a good laugh at their expense.
 
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