Wits and Wagers Review
Another game that I found interesting enough to finagle (ahem, "acquire") a copy of was Wits And Wagers.
Wits and Wagers is a "trivia" game. More specifically, it is a party game that happens to use trivia as it's subject matter. Each game consists of seven questions (there are 700 included in the game). In each question (which all have numerical answers), one person reads the question and then all of the players write down their best guess as to the correct answer (such as how many feet across is the Golden Gate bridge, or how many times could you fit the area of Rhode Island inside of Alaska). All the answers are revealed, and then the players place their wagers on the answer(s) that they think are closest without going over (the players get to wager twice per round at no risk, but can also risk any chips they had previously earned to increase their potential winnings). Whoever bet correctly gets the appropriate payout (anywhere from 2:1 to 6:1), and the person who provided that answer gets a bonus of 3 chips. At the end of the seventh question, whoever has the most chips is the winner.
The first pro to Wits and Wagers is that they have found questions that (most likely) nobody will actually know the answer to. If you, like me, have grown horribly sick of trivia games because you have played Trivial Pursuit far too often with people that can recall anything that they have ever read, then you can really appreciate this pro. This is a game that I can play with my brother (the person I was referring to in the previous sentence), and actually stand a fighting chance. After all, it turns out that he has no idea how old the oldest cat ever was. He doesn't even know what percent of the United States' land mass is contained in Alaska. And neither do I.
The second pro is the "wagers" part of wits and wagers (because I just covered the "wits" part, of course). The wagering in the game is first of all very fun. Secondly, I really appreciated that you can't get eliminated in the game. If, like me, you have tons of casinos near you, then you realize that in gambling you are eliminated pretty quickly. Fortunately, in Wits and Wagers, there are two cardboard chips representing your color - you can wager these every round without risking any potential loss, even if you have lost all of your other chips. This keeps everyone engaged in the game, because nobody is going to be sitting out for fear of getting something wrong. If you simply bid your cardboard chips, then worst case scenario is you are wrong and lose nothing.
Now that I've covered the "wits" and the "wagers", it's time to cover the cons. My first con in the game is that it feels a bit too short. Seven questions doesn't really seem like enough to me. However, extending the game would normally just result in the players who were winning gaining even more bonus chips since the game really stacks success on success (unless you bet it all on a wrong answer). However, whenever I have played the game, we have fixed this problem by playing about 3-5 games of it in a row.
The next con that I have for the game is that it seems to really be geared for 4-6 players. Yes, the box claims that you can play with up to 20 players, but with more than a certain number you have to start playing with teams - and I don't think that teams really enhance the experience here. Because of this, I can see Wits and Wagers being played at smaller parties, or parties where people really enjoy trivia, but I think that party games that focus on teams would work better with 10 or more people (such as Cranium and Taboo).
Overall, I give Wits and Wagers an 8.5/10. I will probably not get together to play this with people (hence the not quite 9.0 score), but I do anticipate that I will continue playing it and enjoying it. It is in my top 5 party games right now, and is probably my favorite trivia game of all time (which doesn't say much). If you're burned out on trivia games, but your friends really enjoy them, you definitely need to invest in a copy of Wits and Wagers! (Or for that matter, if you like party games but your party is in the 4-6 range, you should also check this one out.)
I would like to thank North Star Games for providing me with a demo copy of Wits & Wagers to review.