Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Wits and Wagers (North Star Games)

Despite all the sophisticated electronic games that flood the market, I don't think there is a kid around that doesn't enjoy gathering around the table for a good, old-fashioned, family board game.  When my kids were younger, that usually entailed Candy Land, Trouble, or some other tolerable, but not overly interesting game.  Now that my kids are older, game requests have gone to the other extreme with complicated strategy games. Not only are many of these games time-consuming, but often these requests take place late at night when my brain power has been depleted for the day.  As much as I love board games with my family, it is difficult to find a game that is entertaining, easy to learn, quick to play, adaptable in game length, and enjoyed by all.

When Wits & Wagers Family by North Star Games arrived for review, I wasn't quite sure how it would go over in our family.  It certainly looked simple enough, but sometimes there is a trade off in simplicity.   Would it be entertaining for all involved?  The box indicated that Wits and Wagers is suitable for ages 8 and up. Our family ranges in age from 11 through 40-something, with varying tastes in board games.

The rules of the game are amazingly simple. Each player gets a one large and one small meeple.  Meeple is a generic term for little wooden people used in board games. In Wits and Wagers Family, meeples are are used to make wagers.  In addition the meeple, each player gets a color-coded Answer Board and a wipe-off marker.  An Answer Board with a “1” is place in the center of the table.  One player is selected as a Scorekeeper, and given a Scoreboard.  The youngest player is given the duty of asking the first question from the tray of Question Cards.  Sounds simple so far, eh?

Each round involves answering a question on one of the question cards.  All of the questions require a numerical answer.  Everyone places their Answer Board in the center to be arranged numerically.  Next, the wagering begins.  Feeling confident with your answer?  Place both of your meeple on your own Answer Board.  Did you guess on the question “How many stomach compartments does a cow have?”, but know that Uncle Joe knows livestock better than any other player at the table?  Then by all means, put your meeple on Uncle Joe's Answer Card.  Part of the fun is trying to figure out which player might have the knowledge to best answer the question. You can also split your meeple and put them on two cards.  A large meeple will earn you 2 points, and a small meeple 1 point, when placed on the card closest to the actual answer without going over.  If your own Answer Card was the winning answer, you gain an additional point, regardless if your own meeple are on it (believe me - it happens).  The first player to reach 15 points wins.

Wits and Wagers Family was enjoyed by each member of our family.  It was both entertaining and educational, depending on the question card.  Some of the questions call on reasoning skills and others are just wild guesses.  I was shocked to discover just how many times a bee beats its wings in a second and admired the marketing genius of Disney when a princess total was revealed (Seriously? Does the world need this many Disney princesses?).  It received a thumbs up from our whole family.

Wits and Wager Family retails for $19.99 and can be purchased, along with other great North Star games, at the North Star website,  as well as at online retailers, and local book and game stores.

Read more reviews on this product at the official TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result in my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. I was provided the product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I have received no other compensation.

I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool.


Dominic said...

Woot! I'm glad you enjoyed my game. I designed it specifically as a game that could be enjoyed by both children AND adults, so that it could be played with the whole extended family and entertain EVERYBODY!! :-) I'm glad that my goal was reached. It's very difficult to make a game that does this.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!
Dominic Crapuchettes
Designer of Wits & Wagers and Say Anything

Diane Allen said...

This was a favorite in our family too! I can't wait to try it with the extended clan this weekend.