Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Wits and Wagers Family

Okay, so confession time.  When I found out I was on the list to be reviewing Wits & Wagers Family from North Star Games, my response was, well, not very family-friendly.  Why me?  Why couldn't somebody get this who would actually enjoy it?  Why did it have to come to someone who would have to force themselves to play it for the sake of some silly review?

Not a great way to go into it, huh?

Well, I'm proud (not!) to say... that it showed up at my door and sat in the box it came in, completely unopened, for about two weeks.  I finally gave it to my 12 year old son for his birthday.

HE was excited, and so I forced myself to pretend to be excited too.

We pulled it out the weekend after his birthday, read through the rules, got started playing... and I absolutely loved it.  The kids loved it.  Dale thought it was fun, but would still rather play chess or backgammon.  But those don't involve the entire family

Game play (in my family) goes something like this: 
  • A player reads a question.  In our case, we assigned an adult to read all the questions, but you could rotate through, taking turns.  All questions have numeric answers.  Some are fairly straight-forward like "How many teaspoons in a tablespoon?" and others are, well, pretty out there, like (paraphrase here...) What is the world record for the number of tennis balls held by a dog in his mouth at one time? (The real question was phrased much better!)
  • Each player writes down an answer on his/her white board.  For both of the above questions, we had answers ranging from 2 to about 14.  After all players have noted an answer, the boards are shown and then put in order from lowest to highest.
  • Each player tells the Meeple Minder (aka either the 4 or 6 year old) where they want their meeples (adorable little game pieces) placed.  In the case of the teaspoons question, everyone pretty much assumed I was right, and I think everyone put both of their meeples on my answer.  In the case of the tennis balls, people stewed about it a whole lot more, and divvied up their pieces to improve their odds of getting at least some points.  In normal families, a Meeple Minder is unnecessary, and each player controls their own pieces.
  • The correct answer is read aloud, usually with some type of additional information.  For both of the above questions, the answer was 3 (I think... sure wish I could find that question back!).  You figure out which answer is the closest without going over, and that board scores a point, and every meeple placed on that board scores as well.
  • You clear off the boards and ask the next question.
  • First player to fill up the scoring board wins.
We had a ball.  Some of the questions were really easy for one or more of us.  Some of the questions required total blind guesses.  You can score a lot of points without ever actually answering a question correctly yourself, but just being good at figuring out which person you are playing with is likely to be correct.

We had a lot of fun laughing about how we came up with some of the answers.  Or coming up with ideas as to why someone would actually keep track of some obscure little statistical measure.

When my parents visited, we played with them as well.  They both had fun, much preferring it to the very, very long game of Monopoly they had endured the day before.

If you are looking for a game that you can play as a family, and where you can actually converse at the same time, this might be it.  I particularly loved that it wasn't asking you to reveal silly little things about yourself, and really, it isn't about how smart you are either. Nor does it take 45 hours to finish a game (more like 15-20 minutes!)  This game retails for $19.99.

You can check out what my fellow crew-mates have to say about this game at:

Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive Wits and Wagers Family from North Star Games.  The fact that I received complimentary products does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.


Our Homeschool Reviews said...

Glad you ended up liking it! I wish we would have gotten to review it, it looks fun!

Deanna said...

I love your totally honest review! I have felt that way on some of the other things that I have received in our reviews. I am glad you wound up liking it.

Blossom Barden (NorthLaurel) said...

That is too funny! I was very glad to be on the list to review it because I knew my kids would like it but honestly wasn't looking forward to playing it either. I am more of a card playing person myself and do my best not to grumble when the kids want to play a 'bored' game (haha). I love your review!
Since I did like it so much I omitted my feelings of not wanting to play it in the first place in my review but I'm glad I'm not the only one ;)

Tess said...

As usual, I like your review better than mine! I am so glad you ended up liking this game. We haven't played it with Nana yet but I know we will.