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Wits & Wagers Family
List Price: $19.99
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from 6 customer reviews
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Wits & Wagers, the most award-winning party game in history, is now for the whole family!
First, every player writes down a guess to a fun question. Then players try to score points by choosing which guess is closest to the right answer. Wits & Wagers Family combines laughter and learning in a game that all ages can enjoy together!
Wits & Wagers Family features 300 brand new family-oriented questions. The simplified rules and scoring system also make the game more accessible for families and kids.
North Star Games
Players: 3 - 10
Time: 20 minutes
Ages: 8 and up
Weight: 635 grams
Language Requirements: This is a domestic item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. Game components are printed in English.
- 150 question cards
- 5 dry-erase pens
- 5 dry-erase boards
- 1 dry-erase scoreboard
- 5 large wooden Meeples
- 5 small wooden Meeples
- 1 full-color rules
Average Rating: 4.2 in 6 reviews
The big success for North Star was Wits & Wagers (2005), which puts a whole new spin on the trivia genre, by not making the trivia element play a lead role. After all teams have submitted their answer to a particular trivia question, you may bid on an answer that another player/team guessed. This is a great concept, because it means that you stand a chance of earning points even if you don't much idea about the real answer. The game proved hugely popular, and rightly so.
North Star later came up with the excellent idea of making a family friendly version of their original hit, which they released as Wits & Wagers Family (2010). The Family Edition of the game removes some of the "betting" elements and gambling feel of the original Wits & Wagers, by adding meeples as a simpler scoring system which is more suitable for families - some even prefer this method above the original. The trivia questions are also less obscure, and ideal for a broader audience which can include children from as young as 8. Even though it is geared towards a younger crowd, it's still fun for adults as well!
The Family Edition of Wits & Wagers was the first North Star game we played, and it continues to be well received and see table time on occasion. Highly recommended!
I will preface this review by saying that I received a free copy of this game in a giveaway on The Dice Tower podcast.
Trivia games are a difficult thing to pitch at a family. Either the questions are too easy, and the adults get bored quickly, or they are too difficult, and only Great Uncle Clive gets any of them correct. Wits and Wagers Family manages to successfully bridge this generation gap, and delivers a trivia game the whole family can enjoy.
The premise is very simple - a question is asked with a numerical answer. Everyone writes their answer on a dry-erase board, and puts it in the middle of the table. Players then select which of the answers they think is closest (without going over.) A single point is awarded for having the closest initial answer, but up to three points are available for guessing which of the given answers is closest. This clever rule means that people who don't have a clue about a particular subject can still remain competitive in every question.
I have played a few games of this with my family (myself, Mrs J, and my son, who has just turned eight.) I was genuinely surprised at quite how well the game worked despite the obvious disparity in general knowledge levels between us. The games we have played have all gone right down to the wire, with most of them being won either by one point (winner is the first to 15) or on the tiebreaker.
The questions are spread out over a wide range of subjects, from the number of different coloured Froot Loops in a pack to the height of the Eiffel Tower. There have been a couple of questions that all of us have just known, such as the temperature water boils at, but this has not detracted from the game.
The litmus test of any game is whether it gets played. This game has been requested both by my son and wife every day during the last few weekends, and at no more than about 20 minutes a game, it has been a very easy choice to say "Yes."
(note: originally posted on BoardGameGeek here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/606337/a-review-wits-amp-wagers-family-style )
How many questions are in the game? (flip card over)
There are 150 separate cards, each of which has two questions/answers. The answers are usually detailed and have citations which many players find very useful, like this explanation you're reading right now.
How many questions have a numerical answer?
All answers are a number, which can be a decimal or combination of units, such as pounds and ounces.
How many people (or teams) can play Wits & Wagers: Family?
The five different colors are blue, yellow, green, pink, and purple.
In the reviewer's opinion, what is the minimum age to play?
Note: Not all six year olds are the same.
After each players' guesses are revealed, how many meeples does each player put on
the card (or cards) she thinks is correct?
Two meeples are provided, a large one and a small one, worth two points and one point, respectively. Each meeple can be placed on a different card or the same card.
How many points does the winning card earn?
The winning card is the player's card with the closest guess without going over, Price Is Right style.
What is the maximum number of points a player can earn from a single question?
Four points: one from the small meeple, two from the big meeple, and one point for having the winning card. The game is played to fifteen points.
How many more of these silly questions is this review going to have?
5? No, 6!
As a percentage, how many questions did the six year old referenced above have no
clue on how to answer?
Approximately one in three questions were blind shots in the dark, but there are several questions that a child can get dead-on that an adult may have trouble with, like the number of Disney princesses.
As a percentage, how many questions did the reviewer have no clue on how to answer?
This can lead to adults having a runaway game, so some handicapping may be necessary to keep the younger kids competitive. Only allowing the small meeple to be used, for example.
In pounds and ounces, how heavy is the reviewer?
That's rather personal don't you think?
I'm just saying, you look pretty good. Have you been working out?
Wow, thanks! I have been trying to hit the gym more regularly, but isn't this starting to stray off topic?
I'm supposed to be the only one asking the questions.
That wasn't a question.
I'm supposed to be the only one asking the questions?
That's just ridiculous. I think it's time to call it.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "Bantha poodoo" and 10 being "OMG OMG DOUBLE
MEEPLE ALL THE WAY", what did this reviewer rate Wits & Wagers: Family?
Wait, can I change my answer to 7.5?
I think he rated it an 8 but I don't want to go over.
I should say up front that I have not played original Wits & Wagers, only the family version, which may color my opinion. The components are high-quality, and clearly designed with a family game in mind. There are whiteboards and dry-erase pens for writing down your answers, of a good size for kids. Using dry-erase for the scoring track is also nice, as it doesn’t require kids to add, and saves paper. The tray that holds the question cards is a bit flimsy, but serves the purpose well enough. And, of course, there are meeples, in small and large variety, which adds to the fun for any kid already familiar with Euro-games.
What makes this trivia game not like a trivia game is the scoring method -- you don’t necessarily need to get the question right to score points. Each player writes down their answer on a white-board, and then all the answers are displayed. Each player then gets to “wager” on which answer is correct -- not necessarily your own. So if you have no clue what percentage of Americans own a dog, but you suspect your sister does (because she’s a dog breeder, or a master of useless knowledge), then you can bet on your sister’s answer and still score points. The wagering system is simple enough for kids -- a big meeple scores two points, and a small meeple scores one. This scoring system nicely levels the playing field between kids and adults. In addition, the answer to each question is a number, which makes it easier for kids to participate, because you can always guess randomly and have at least some chance of being close to the answer.
The only spot where the scoring system falls down, in part, is that if you happen to know the exact answer, and you’re certain of it, you can score four points on one question, and since the game goes to 15 points, if you have a few such questions in the round, you’ll be done pretty quickly, and the kid will be left behind. For example, if the question is “What is the boiling point of water?” and both the parents know the exact answer, but the child doesn’t, that’s should be obvious to the child (when both parents have the exact same answer), but each parent is going to score four, while the kid can score three at most. If there’s too many such questions, the child may become frustrated. That’s a small concern, though, because the game is already more kid-friendly than most.
The questions are pretty good, given that this is both a children’s game, and a game where the answers have to be numeric. Two things about the questions that I especially like: each question has its source listed, and all answers have a bit of explanation to go along with the bare number. For example, take the question: “How many total Disney princesses have there been?” That’s kind of a vague question, because the definition of “princess” could vary, depending on the reader, but the card lists the source as “Disney, 2009,” which tells you that it’s Disney’s (broad) definition, and that you shouldn’t count the princess from the movie that came out in November 2010. Naturally, simply listing a number on the back would beg the question, “Well, which ones?” so the answer lists them, which won’t entirely quell arguments, but at least it gives you a basis to start the argument from. I could argue that there aren’t enough questions, but each card has two questions, for a total of 300. It’s not really enough for game geeks, or for kids who get obsessed with the game and want to play every night for a month, but it’s probably sufficient for families who only play it every once in a while.
Bottom line: It’s a party game that can both kids and adults can enjoy without the adults feeling like they’re playing down to the kids’ level, and that’s a pretty rare thing. Given its entirely reasonable price, its’ a good addition to any family’s game cabinet.
When I first heard there was a family edition of Wits & Wagers I was more than a little surprised. Of all the games in my collection this seemed like one of the more family friendly ones, and I've been playing it with my nephews since they were fairly young. So it seemed almost unnecessary to create a special edition for families. Still, Northstar Games has yet to strike out with me, so I had to give it a shot. But was it a useless republishing of the same idea or a brilliant change of pace? Read on...
What do you get with Wits & Wagers Family? In the box are the rulebook, a score sheet, a pack of question cards, 1 minimum answer board with the number "1" on it, 5 dry erase markers, 5 player answer boards in 5 different colors, 5 small meeples in the same colors, and 5 large meeples in the same colors. (For those who aren't aware a meeple is a little wooden piece that is shaped like a person.)
How does Wits & Wagers Family work? Each player is given a marker along with an answer board and the 2 meeples that match the color of their board. The "1" board is placed in the middle of the table. Then one player reads a question from one of the question cards. All questions have a numerical answer, so players estimate what they believe the correct answer might be and write it on their answer board.
When all players have their answers written the answer boards are lined up under the "1" card from lowest to highest. Players then place their meeples on 1 or 2 answers that they believe are the closest to the correct answer without going over. Then they look at the correct answer on the back of the question card. One point is scored by the player that wrote the answer which is closest without going over, one point is awarded to each player that placed their small meeple on that answer, and two points are awarded to each player that placed their large meeple on that answer. You continue with more questions until one player has scored 15 points, and wins the game.
What does Blott dislike about Wits & Wagers Family? My minor complaint with Wits & Wagers Family is the reduction of the number of players. Although the game can easily be played as teams, it would have been nice if we wouldn't be forced to break into teams even with 6 players. But my bigger complaint about the game is some of the questions. Put simply, there are some questions in the game where players will know the answers. I often sold people on Wits & Wagers by describing it as a trivia game where you don't have to know trivia, but when people know the answer in Wits & Wagers Family it starts to bring this awesome game system down to the level of the common trivia game. My wife, a trivia game hater (but a Wits & Wagers lover,) complained after our first game because every player except her got a couple questions exactly right. She said that this gave her the same "I feel stupid" embarrassment that she feels when playing a game like Trivial Pursuit.
What does Blott like about Wits & Wagers Family? I love the introduction of simple scoring to the game. In the original version I spent more time counting out chips than I did actually playing the game. This also makes it so that all players totally "get" the scoring. Some people, who aren't into gambling, would struggle with how a 3-to- 1 bet works and so they would just rely on a banker to make that calculation for them. The removal of the betting mechanism also takes away the chances that one question will swing the balance in one player's favor. Since they can get a maximum of 4 points on a question it will take several questions for even the most knowledgeable player to win. And, finally, the questions are an amazing variety. They range from things that kids will know well, to things that teenagers will know well, all the way up to things that adults will know well. They run a nice spectrum and many of them are very interesting facts too.
Who will enjoy Wits & Wagers Family? This is an ideal family game. The questions are varied nicely and kids will have just as much chance of winning as anyone else. However, those that loved the strategic edge they found in Wits & Wagers might be disappointed in the changes made for this new edition. The strategy involved in playing the odds is removed. But, clearly, this game is focused towards a different audience. The great new scoring system will make this game more enjoyable for people just looking for a fun party game to play with family and friends. If ever there was a game that should be advertised over the Monopoly, Life, etc. for "family game night" it is definitely Wits & Wagers Family.
Any parting comments about Wits & Wagers Family? Something must be said about these components. First of all the player boards have some cute art on the back which gives each color meeple its own personality. And these boards are really thick, almost too thick, if that's possible. Northstar Games continues their mission to make every component dry erase compatible too, so the erasable score sheet is really nice. A few people complained of issues with the dry erase markers in select copies of Northstar's prior games, but they clearly have a new distributor because these ones work great! The question cards are much smaller for this game. They only have 2 questions per card, but there's enough that you can play a number of games before repeating questions. The question cards even come in a little tray that you can pass around the table, which is a nice addition. All in all, I think that Wits & Wagers Family is a high quality game that simplifies/improves scoring from the original. I have had nothing but positive reactions to the game from almost everyone I've played with and, despite our complaints, my wife and I really do enjoy playing it. In fact, there is a good chance that I will take the questions that I love from the original game and pack them in this box so I can play with the new components/rules. I liked the changes that much!
I'm reviewing Wits & Wagers Family, a simplified, family-friendly version of Wits & Wagers. My wife and I like the standard edition of Wits & Wagers quite a bit. It is a simple and fun trivia game that you don't really need to know trivia to play. The way this works is that each player (or team of players) has a card, a wet-erase marker and a pile of poker chips. A question is read aloud, to which the answer is a number. Each player or team writes down their guess on their card, and then all the cards are arranged from high to low on a felt play mat. Position in relation to the median bet determines the odds and the payout for a correct answer. And then everyone bets on what they believe to be the correct answer with their poker chips. Then the answer is read, the correct guesser is given a small payout, and then correct betters are paid out according to the odds. There are seven rounds, and all but the last round have betting limits. Pretty simple, right?
The standard version of Wits & Wagers is fairly simple for adults, and, as per the box, can accommodate up to 21 people (assuming seven teams of three, since there are only materials for seven). As with any betting game, it favors those who play the odds and are somewhat savvy to those kinds of systems. It is a great game for adults. We can get non-gamer friends to play this and enjoy it every time. But it isn't the best for kids.
Wits & Wagers assumes an understanding of risks versus payouts that most people of age teen and above are likely to have acquired, but not younger kids. Also, when you bet chips and guess wrong, you lose them. In a trivia-based game, kids are already at a bit of a disadvantage for not having the breadth of knowledge an adult does... so losing your cool stuff on top of that can seem mean to the younger ones. Those reasons, as well as the nature of the trivia questions themselves, make the standard version somewhat inaccessible to kids. Enter the family version.
Wits & Wagers Family streamlines this. The questions are things children are more likely to have encountered, but still challenging to them and adults. Betting is simplified to using meeples. Each player has a large meeple and a small meeple, and there is no odds track with different payouts. The game plays as above, but you score one point for a correct answer, one point for betting on the correct answer with your small meeple and two for your big meeple. So you will score 0-4 points in a turn. The score is tallied on a score track, and the game ends when a person gets to fifteen points. Much simpler.
My family favors the family version of Wits & Wagers over the standard version. It is far more accessible to children, and we have succcessfully played it three times already with our five year old daughter. She has had a blast, and was able to be competitive. The questions are still challenging, and there will still be a range of answers each question. Quick to learn, quick to play, easy to enjoy. As an owner of 500+ games and a blogger about games (see my profile for link), I give this game the highest possible recommendation. You won't regret having this game in your collection.
Growing Up Gamers