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Your goal in Assist is to guess the chosen word, and on each turn you have a choice: ask your question or give your answer. Atthe same time, you're trying to "assist" other players in losing their chips by guessing a hidden word before they can.
Each round, one player draws an illustration card that shows six words on it, chooses one of those words, and tells all players which number he has chosen; each other player receives a hand of three question cards, then antes one chip into a central pot. (Question and illustration cards have text in Italian, English, German and French.) On a turn, a player either plays and reads a question card – which the player who holds the illustration card must answer as honestly as possible – or tries to guess the word hidden on the card. Before a player guesses, he can ante any number of chips into the pot. If no one else matches his ante, he claims all the chips in the pot without having to guess the word; if at least one other player antes, he must give his guess, winning the pot if correct.
When a round end, the next player chooses a word from an illustration card and the game continues. When one player runs out of chips, the game ends and the player with the most chips wins.
Angelo Porazzi Games
Players: 3 - 7
Time: 15 or more minutes
Ages: 6 and up
Weight: 175 grams
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
By Rick Partin
Assist is a new card game for 3 or more players in which players bet their “Neurons” (colored chips) and play Question cards while asking questions to figure out a secret word that is chosen by the dealer of each hand.
Created by Marco Donadoni and Angelo Porazzi (produced by Angelo Porazzi Games of Italy, in collaboration with Cartamundi of Belgium and Spielmaterial of Germany), this game is an international collaboration and comes with directions in Italian, French, German and English.
There are 80 plastic chips, the in all—all worth 1 in value—which are distributed evenly among players (rounding down, of course, for odd numbers of participants).
Each round, one player—the dealer—draws an illustrated card that shows six words on it, chooses one of those words, and tells all players which number (down from the top of the card) he has chosen. He then deals each other player a hand of three question cards. All players with question cards ante one plastic chip into the ‘pot.’
Starting with the player to the dealer’s left, players can choose any one question to ask (sometimes the questions won’t be relevant, so asking certain questions becomes a way of dumping one card to draw another that may be more useful--or, asking a seemingly useless question to prevent other players from gaining too much useful information).
On a turn a player either reads a question or tries to guess the word hidden on the card. Before a player guesses, that person or any other player besides the dealer can ‘raise’ the number of coins placed into the pot. Raising gives that player the first option of guessing the answer; if no one sees the raise that player simply wins the pot without having to guess at all; but each player who ‘sees’ the raise can in turn try to answer the chosen word, so long as the preceding player doesn’t do so first. If everyone misses, play simply continues to the next player to the left.
When a round ends, the next player chooses a word from an illustration card and the game continues. When one player runs out of chips, the game ends and the player with the most chips wins.
When players ask a question they discard face down and immediately draw a replacement card from the draw pile, so that they always have 3 question cards.
There are 25 answer cards with six answers each, for a total of 150 answers. There are 30 question cards, for 30 questions total. Players will soon find that the same questions come up repeatedly. The writer can only comment on the English on the cards, but with some of the cards, some interpretation is necessary in framing the proper question. Also, I can’t be certain linguistically whether this observation holds true in all four languages, but given that some answers are conceptual in nature, many of the questions don’t pertain to concepts, which makes it more difficult to guess correctly.
At the same time, there is a good mixture of concrete, easier answers, and conceptual, more difficult answers that probably will require extended questioning. Keep in mind that dealers choose the answers, so it can be expected that a tough answer might be followed by an easier one. And, as with all Porazzi games that invite players to add their own ideas or variations, players may simply add ‘wild’ cards to the deck that would allow them to make up their own questions.
Part of the fun rests with the dealer, who must answer questions in such a way that he or she provides useful information while not saying something that makes the answer too obvious. As with Porazzi’s card game “Love Pigs,” psychology plays a part, and this is a game that will shine with players who tend to be imaginative. (One question even evokes ‘charades’ into the mix.) And, as in poker, players may raise simply to bluff others into ‘folding’ and thus handing the pot to a crafty player.
If the game is popular enough, it would seem expansion decks of questions and answers—especially more of the former—would be in order. As previously mentioned, the same questions come up repeatedly, and over more extended play, eventually the same answers would become too obvious. But again, players also could easily invent their own additional questions and answers, and it would take many, many plays to exhaust the possibilities with 150 total answers.
Either way, “Assist” is a good party game, a good couples game, and, assuming kids who play have above-average vocabularies, a good game for friends or families of various ages. It mixes word knowledge, psychology, communication skills, and yes, a bit of bluffing, into a package that will bring fun and laughter to many a gaming group.