I have an uncanny knack of losing most games that I sit down to play with my family and friends. As a child, I think this bothered me a little - that I wasn't all that great at strategy.
Okay, it bothered me a lot. Sometimes, board game play ended with me in tears or immense frustration when playing games with my brother and sister. Sometimes, I just felt like picking up that board or deck of cards and dumping it over. I probably did that more than once, I'll admit.
Well, fast-forward to 2010, and things haven't improved all that much. The only thing that has improved in my game-playing ability is my level of patience and acceptance that I will almost always lose or come close to last. In other words, I've become a good sport out of desperation!
Sure, there have been moments when I play better, or even win a game. And while I'd love to jump around and screech and open the door and shout my head off to the neighborhood that I won that particular game, I don't. That would be poor sportsmanship, right? And my children would be very embarrassed and would claim to not know me. But if it's a game involving strategy, even if I know what the strategy may be, most likely I won't be doing all that well with it.
I've learned to survive this with playing games truly "for fun", with no expectation to win or trounce everyone else. I've given up on the idea that I will always come out a winner. That's not a bad thing. Little things that help me stay more humble are not bad, just annoying at times!
A few weeks ago, our family received the board game, Wits & Wagers Family, to play and review here for you. We have enjoyed it and have played it numerous times together, all four of us. Let me tell you about the game.
This is a game where all of the question cards' answers are written as numbers. For example, a card may say, "When you first purchase Mario Kart Wii, how many characters can you choose from?"
Yes, there are some children (and adults) who will know the exact answer to this question. However, most people will only be taking a best guess at the answer.
Wits & Wagers Family is a trivia game where the players don't have to know the exact answer to win the game. In fact, each player tries to write down their answer on their own little dry erase board so that the number they have selected for their answer won't go over the correct answer (that's a key point or strategy to this game).
Here's how to play the game:
1. A question is asked from the card deck of questions.
2. Everyone who is playing the game writes down their answer or best guess on their own personal dry erase-style board.
3. After everyone has finished writing down their answer, the guesses are placed face-up on the table or playing area. The answers are placed in order, from smallest to largest.
4. Each player looks at all of the guesses provided by the players. Each player chooses where to place their two Meeples (one small, one large) on the individual answer boards. This is where each player places their wager, on the answer or answers that he or she thinks are closest to being correct.
So, back to our Mario Kart question: if I think that the correct answer is 5, but no one has written down "5" on their own answer card, then I'll choose to place my Meeples on the highest answer closest to 5 without going over.
I can either place both Meeples on the same answer card, or one on each of two different answer cards. If I most definitely know the correct answer (such as in how many feet are in a mile), I can place both of my Meeples on my own answer card...and if I was correct, I would earn a total of 4 points:
The first player to reach 15 points wins the game.
150 Question Cards (total of 300 questions)
5 Dry Erase Boards
5 Dry Erase Pens
1 Permanent Answer Board (with a "1")
5 Large Meeples (worth 2 points)
5 Small Meeples (worth 1 point)
1 Dry Erase Score Board
1 Full-color Rules
Here are some of the things our family likes about Wits & Wagers Family:
1. The most intelligent person may not necessarily win the game. Sometimes, the person who has the closest guess without going over will win a turn. There's a little bit more chance built into this game which evens out the playing field a little bit.
2. The inclusion of little dry erase boards (a total of 5) mean no endless pads of paper all over the place, or running out of paper.
3. This can also be a team game. While the game is designed for people ages 8 and up, teams of people could play this, enabling younger children to participate and help out their team. Nice!
4. For home educating families, or other families as well, a parent could make up his or her own questions to use for this game, as long as the answers were numbers. This could be used with science and history questions, and even literature questions, as long as the answer was a number.
5. Even if all of the playing pieces (Meeples) become lost, you can still play this game. You could grab some coins, nuts and bolts, buttons, seeds, or many other small objects. Just keep children under the age of 3 away from this game, as it does have small parts.
6. If your dry erase markers dry up, you can always use other kid-friendly, low-odor dry erase markers from the store. Or, you may choose to use pads of paper or little squares of scratch paper that you've cut out. Basically, it's not a big deal if you happen to lose parts to the game.
7. Free Parts Replacement - Don’t let a lost or broken component stop you from playing. If any of our game component(s) should fail (or even be lost) within the first year of ownership, North Star Games will deliver an identical or comparable replacement to your door free of charge. Requesting replacement parts is a breeze... simply e-mail us the requested part(s) along with your mailing address. We’ll send the parts out within two weeks. Here is North Star Games' email address if you have lost or missing parts:
Customer Service Email
While I don't know that Wits & Wagers Family is going to be my family's all-time favorite family game, we have enjoyed playing it. Each game play takes about 30 minutes and needs to be played by at least 3 or more players.
I learned a few interesting things about the developers* of Wits & Wagers Family, from their website:
Dominic is the Founder and Co-President of North Star Games. In 8th grade, Dominic earned the much-coveted “bad boy” title when his first game, Kabloogi, was banned from school because kids were playing it during first period. It is because of his great passion for games that he stopped captaining a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska to start the most innovative board gamecompany on the planet.
Satish Pillalamarri is the Co-President of North Star Games. He was a cog in the wheel at a New York hedge fund when a life-changing event took place: he became a contestant on Jeopardy! This experience prepared him for his position as the Chief Question Writing Officer at North Star Games. Inspired by his love for having fun, Satish’s mission is to bring innovative games to every man, woman and child (and the occasional monkey).
*From North Star Games website
Wits & Wagers Family version is available from North Star Games as well as other retail locations where family games are sold.
Bottom line? We like this game!
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
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