Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wits & Wagers Family - Product Review


North Star Games is a game-making company that claims to "[bring] friends and families together with fun, innovative party and family games" (North Star Games website). Having had the opportunity to review one of their games, Wits & Wagers Family, I'm inclined to agree!


Touted to be "The Most Award-Winning Party Game in History" (from game box), Wits & Wagers Family is an equal-footing, competetive game for ages 8+.

"How," you might ask, "can it be both 'equal-footing' and 'competetive'? How can an 8 year-old compete fairly with an adult?" The premise of the game is that teams are asked a question  (sometimes rather outlandish) to which a number is the answer. Each person or team records their guessed answer secretly on a mini white board, then when everyone has recorded a number, all answers are revealed and ordered numerically from lowest to highest.

Players then have the opportunity to modify their own opinion by voting for one or two numbers that they think could be correct, even if they're different from what they wrote down. They simply place two little markers (called "Meeples") on whichever answer(s) they think might be closest without going over the actual answer. Points are then scored for writing the closest correct number and guessing the closest correct answer. Because it's virtually impossible for anyone to be absolutely certain of all the answers, each player has as good a chance of guessing the correct answers as the other players. This makes the game both challenging and fun for everyone.

Our family played Wits & Wagers several times -- but not enough for DD8 and DS11. Both kept saying, "Let's play again!" Each round takes less than half an hour, so it is easy to fit a round in here and there -- and everywhere. (We carted the game around to a few places!) I can imagine modifying the game to a travel challenge in which family members simply take guesses at the answers without recording anything -- making it a simple trivia game to pass the time while driving.

Here's a small sampling of some of the questions we encountered in the game:
*How many different colors of Froot Loops are there?
*How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?
*How many feet across is a Major League Baseball pitching mound?
*How many total Disney Princesses are there?
*How many smaller cubes make up a Rubik's Cube?
*How many Nabisco Animal Crackers shapes are there?
*In days, how long did it take the Pilgrims to cross the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower?
*How many times does a honey bee flap its wings in 1 second?
*On average, how many new dinosaur species are discovered each year?
*How many explosions are there in the movie The Incredibles?
*In inches, how tall is the world's tallest dog?
*How many types of nuts come in a can of Planters Mixed Nuts?
*What percent of Americans say that pro football is their favorite sport?

I will say that DD13, who is the most avid reader and has a particular penchant for books of world records, seemed to have the best ability to make accurate guesses. But not even she could answer questions like, "In feet, how long is a Slinky when it is stretched out and laying flat?" Also, I did find that many of the questions relied on an extensive knowledge of popular American culture (including such things as Hannah Montana, Hollywood movies, and American landmarks, such as Disneyland) -- and not being American or hip with pop culture, we sometimes found ourselves saying, "Ya -- whatever" and losing interest more quickly than if the questions had been less culturally biased.

Nonetheless, we found Wits & Wagers to be a fun addition to our collection of family games, and are grateful for the opportunity to use and review it. We will enjoy it for years to come!

The game retails for about $19.99 and is available at popular toy stores, as well as the North Star Games website's games tab.

To view other TOS Review Crew reviews, click here.

This product was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation has been received.


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