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Micro Reviews of Board Games From a Non-Competetive Perspective

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Today's board game microreview is for "Wits and Wagers".

Wits and Wagers is a very clever mixture of trivia, betting, and social interaction.  It's fast to play, super easy for anyone, and easily supports 7 players or more with teams.

Gameplay works essentially like this:  On each round a trivia question is read that has a numerical answer.  All players (teams) write down their answer on a dry erase card, and then all answers are laid out in numerical order.  At this point, everyone can bet on which answers are correct.  In this way, even if you have no idea what the answer is, you have a chance to bet on the answers from people who you think might know.

The social element of seeing what answers others gave, and how confident they are, and the range of answers -- is all quite fun.  And the strategy and risk taking of betting your accumulated chips is very fun.

I've played this twice now with large groups -- the first time was fun but not magical; the second time -- playing with people i didn't know well, was extremely fun.

Highly recommended if you have a large group of adults.  There are special editions for families and kids (though i think it works better with adults).

Another party board game mini-review, this time for a game called "Telestrations".

Telestrations is a light-hearted drawing game that works similarly to the kids game of "Telephone".  Each player gets a secret word (or phrase), and tries to draw it.  They then pass along their pad clockwise to the next player who looks at the picture they drew, and tries to guess (in words) a description what it is a drawing of.  Then that player passes along the pad clockwise and the recipient draws a picture of the description that the previously player wrote.  So as each pad goes around the circle, it becomes a sequence of drawing, description, drawing, description, etc..

After each pad has gone around the circle, players take turns becoming the center of attention and showing off the sequence of drawings and descriptions in their pad while everyone else laughs at how wrong things went.

The best part of this game is that the worst artists create the most fun.  Children will especially enjoy being the center of attention as people enjoy the mayhem.

It's a pure fun game that should work well for any group, has tons of laughs, and is great for kids of all ages.  Highly recommended.

The normal edition supports up to 8 players; there is a "party pack" that goes up to 11 or 12.

Another party board game mini-review, this time for a game called "Telestrations".


The normal edition supports up to 8 players; there is a "party pack" that goes up to 11 or 12.
-mouser (July 09, 2014, 08:08 AM)
--- End quote ---

I've played this one before. I've never heard of this game being called "Telestrations" and I think that the idea that the board game is limited to 8 players or having to buy a party pack for extra players seems ludicrous to me. This game can be played with as many players as want to play. No game board necessary. No timer necessary. No "secret word" from a list or deck necessary.

A multi-page drawing pad for each player is useful and simplifies the process, but it is not necessary. The instructions below will get you playing if you can scrounge up enough paper (take regular sheets of paper and fold them up and tear them into smaller sheets) for everyone.

Just get some pieces of paper, enough so that each person has as many as there are people playing (so if 26 people are playing, each player needs 26 sheets of paper). Then you just start by writing a word or sentence, then pass the paper to the left. Everyone plays simultaneously. When you get a drawing, you try to write the sentence that the drawing was of (on a blank paper) then you pass it to the left. When you get a sentence, you try to illustrate it with a drawing (on a blank paper) then you pass it to the left.

When everyone is out of blank paper, they pass their entire stack to the right. The person to the right takes the paper from the bottom of the pile (assuming oldest drawings/sentences are on bottom) and passes the remaining stack to the right. This process is repeated until all the stacks are gone. Now everybody should have all the papers for their original sentence, in order (or reverse order, depending on which way the stack was facing). Then you go around one at a time, reading the original sentence, then showing the drawing, then reading the sentence of the drawing, then showing the drawing of the sentence of the drawing, etc. until everybody has had a chance to be the center of attention and laugh at all the silly drawings and twists of the original sentence/word.

If you use pads of paper, it simplifies the process of getting the story back in order, since you can just flip back toward the front of the pad. But other than that there's not much difference and no need to limit the number of players or the possible "secret words" since you're limited only by the number of people who want to play and their imagination. Even people who use the same starting word/sentence could result in very different stories by the end of it. :)

Time for another board game mini-review, this time for: Small World.

Small World is a very popular board game that's been around for a few years, but yesterday was the first time I've played it.

A quick video review from our friends at Starlit Citadel:

And you can watch a full 80 minute game played by one of my favorite board game video folks:

I played a 2-player game with a friend and we had a great time with it even our first time learning the rules and playing.

Perhaps what surprised me the most about the game is that I tend to shy away from games where there is direct, repated player conflict/confrontation, especially when it comes to "area control" mechanics (like battling over spaces on the board).  Games like this (risk, etc.) feel much too confrontational to me, and they completely stress me out and make it so i don't have fun.  If i am losing i feel nervous and if i'm winning i feel guilty.  But Small World, which is based on such a mechanic -- was somehow free of any real confrontational "feel" -- which was wondeful.  If you have a friend (or friends) who might tend to shy away from competitive type games, I recommend you give it a try.

One of the hallmarks of the game is that players take control of special creatures whose unique special abilities are mixed and matched, so every game is a bit different.. It's an incredible achievement in terms of game balance and entertainment.  I think part of why it doesn't feel so confrontational is that over the course of the game, your chosen creatures (tribe) will suffer and you basically "retire" them when you want, and pick up a new set of creatures to control -- so in a way you're kind of happy to see them go into decline so you can play with a new set of creatures with new abilities.  It's incredibly fun.

One caveat to this game is that, while the rules are fairly simple, you'll constantly have to be reading a large sheet that explains powers and abilities, which can sometimes be a little tricky, so you might very well have a problem with smaller kids, especially if you don't know the powers by heart when you try to teach them.

Highly recommended: 5 out of 5.

  :) Sounds like a nice game!


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