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Andrew Simpkins
United States
Pleasanton
California
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Dibs is a nicely streamlined trivia game with bidding and strategic elements that does a great job of keeping all players involved. For years my sole experience with trivia games has come from Trivial Pursuit, so much of my opinion is informed by comparing the two games.

Although I've seldomly craved a game of Trivial Pursuit, it has always been a better than average alternative way to spend time with my family. But there has always been some problems with that game, and Dibs does a good job of fixing them all.

The most superficial problem is the constant rolling of dice to move around the board, the roll again spaces which compound this, and excessive time spent answering questions which don't directly advance the game by giving you a pie slice. Dibs solves this by giving players numbered cards. When a question is correctly answered the player moves his piece forward that number of spaces. The first player to reach the end of the track wins.

The other big problem with Trivial Pursuit is that many players can be left out of the game for long stretches or nearly the entire game. If you aren't being asked a question or you don't know the answer or a teammate is answering all the question for you then you have nothing to do but sit there and watch. Dibs does an excellent job of involving all players at all times -- even players that know much less trivia than others.

The questioning aspect works as follows: Each player takes turns being the questioner. He announces the category of the question. Each question will have multiple correct answers. (Example: "Name one of the seven largest cities in the United States.") Players then play their cards based on their confidence in the category and their immediate movement needs on the board. Players that play a low card get to answer first, but move less if they are correct. Players that play a high card have to answer last, usually after all the easy answers have been taken, but get to move farther if they are correct.

Everyone gets to participate in each question. Weaker players can stay competitive by bidding low and taking the easy answers and hoping that stronger players miss their higher bids. Stronger players can show off by answering last. And as the questions change in category everyone gets the chance to be a strong or weak bidder.

Finally, there are some interesting strategic elements with special cards and bonus/penalty spots on the board. Some cards allow you steal another person's answer, cut to the front of the line, etc. Some spaces on the board give you a potential bonus for landing on them, so some thought has to be given to playing the right numbered card. This adds another level to the game. You'll find yourself saving cards for certain situations and having to weigh multiple options.

If there's any problem with the game it's the lack of questions. There's only one question per card and only one box of questions. If you play this game a lot, you could run out.

Personally, I'm not crazy about trivia games. But some situations call for them, and I'm happy to be playing Dibs.
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