If you’re looking for a different kind of family board game, I’m going to share one with you that you may not have heard of. Maybe I’m just not “with it”, but I discovered this game last Christmas when I was looking for a family type game that was fun for adults, but easy enough for an 8 year old.
The name of the game is Wits and Wagers from the manufacturer North Star Games. They are known for making games that are quick to pick up, keep all players engaged all the time, and keep games short (around 20 minutes).
Here is a quick introduction.
Basically, everyone contributes a numerical answer, which is then laid out on the board with the corresponding payout probabilities for each answer. Then all players have 30 seconds to bet on the answer they think is correct (or the closest without going over). Seven rounds are played to complete a game. The person with the most chips wins.
Strategy 1: If you don’t have a clue what the answer might be, travel with the person who you think probably knows the answer. In other words, place your bets where that person placed their bet(s). If it’s a soccer question, copy the person you think has soccer knowledge.
Strategy 2: With Strategy 1 in mind, a subtle bluff may come out when the question is read. For example, if the question is “What percentage of Americans pay their credit card bill in full?” You can blurt out, “Ohhhhh, I just read about that last week…” even if you have no idea what the answer is. You then bet heavily on your answer to entice other players to play with you, but at the last minute, you move your chips to the answer you think is correct. Hopefully, they had bet big and lost a lot of their chips.
Strategy 3: Similar to Strategy 2, if you are knowledgeable about a certain topic and the other players know about it, deliberately submit the wrong answer, and again bet heavily on your answer to attract others. Move your chips at the last minute.
Common sense strategy: Know how many chips each player has at the end of the game. If you are the chip leader and the (current) player in second place can’t catch up with you even if you bet all your chips and win, don’t risk your chip stack. In other words, don’t risk more than you have to (this is a GREAT lesson applicable in life too).
Tip: Write your name on your whiteboard (erasable) so players know who to return the boards to (boards are color coded, but names are easier to remember).
Tip: Use a beeping countdown timer instead of the included arena timer. Usually everyone is so involved in the game that no one is looking at the timer.
Tip: If you want to start a discussion about a particular topic or event, create your own (7) questions that are hard to guess exactly, but the group may have some idea about. This is a sneaky way for the host to expose their agenda.
Wits & Wagers 2nd Edition appeals to people who like games that require knowledge, people who like gambling, and people who like party/social games.