Pros: It is over quickly; Some fun trivia that can also be educational
Cons: Dry erase makers need some improvements
Trivia buffs can claim many different games among their favorites. Best known of all is probably the classic board game Trivial Pursuit, but this game has two distinct disadvantages: It can take a long time to finish and some of the questions cannot even be attempted by some players. A good, alternative, faster trivia game does exist. It is called Wits and Wagers Party, a family board game.
Game Facts and Figures:
Wits and Wagers Party is a trivia game that is played by answering questions and then wagering on which answer- among your own and your opponents- is closest to being correct without going over. The game begins by selecting one of six different answering boards: Small boards with characters drawn on them that are used to write down your answer using one of the included dry erase markers. Next, a trivia question is read and players then write down their answers on their individual board, then place it face down on the table. All cards are then flipped over and the numbers are arranged in order from lowest to highest, with the special “1” Elvis impersonator card placed at the beginning of the list.
Each of the answering boards has two accompanying tokens. Players (the game can be played individually or in teams) then place their tokens on the answer they think is closest to correct without going over. If players think everyone has gone over, they can place their bet on the “1” card, since this is the lowest possible answer to any question, which are all numeric in nature. A bet can be placed using both tokens on one answer or the bet can be split. Once the answer is revealed, the number closest without going over is the winner. The person who had the winning answer receives one poker chip. Anyone who placed a bet on the correct answer also receives a chip- either one or two, depending on the number of tokens placed on the correct answer.
Play continues in this manner for six questions. Once the seventh question is read, players can now bet some or all of their poker chips (the tokens are no longer used for this, the final bet). Players who wager on the final correct answer will receive poker chips equal to the number they bet. The player with the most chips in the end wins the game.
Wits and Wagers Party is a fun, quick game that is good when you want some family or other fun but don’t want to commit yourself to a longer game. With only seven questions to answer, Wits and Wagers Party is over in a short time so that you can continue with your life or look for something else to do with your family or friends.
Wits and Wagers offers several different games, but Wits and Wagers Party is among the quickest and simplest. Because the answers are always numeric in nature, they can always be guessed and even if a player doesn’t have a clue, he/she can always write down something and can then place a bet on another player’s answer, if desired. The questions are not necessarily easy to know, but it is much easier to guess a number than to guess something else. I cannot count the number of times I have played Trivial Pursuit and players could not even come up with a good guess to a question, further stretching out an already lengthy game. There is no such problem with Wits and Wagers Party. You just make your best guess, look at the other answers, place your bet, and move on.
Wits and Wagers Party features 250 questions and they can be almost anything, from history to science to geography and more. Some of the trivia can be narrowed down to a span of possible answers without much effort, while other questions require some thinking. A question like, for example, What Year did Gone With the Wind win the Best Picture Oscar is easy enough to guess because even if you don’t know the exact year, you probably at least know the answer is sometime in the first half of the 1900’s. On the other hand, questions involving percentages require a little more thinking. A question may ask, for example, what percentage of college graduates earn business degrees. With a question like this, you need to think about the different degrees offered and use your knowledge to come up with a good estimate. The beauty of the game is that, regardless of the type of question, you can always guess because the answer is always a number. And you don’t have to be right to win the game because you can always place a bet on another person’s answer.
With only seven questions to answer, Wits and Wagers Party is over quickly and this is one quality of the game I really like. Depending on how long it takes players to decide on a guess and write it down, the game can vary a little in total time, but it still doesn’t take long. I find that, because the answers are all numbers, players tend to guess fairly quickly. This is very different from Trivial Pursuit and other games where players sometimes take so long to make a guess that I have sometimes had to introduce a timer to keep things moving. With nothing but numbers for answers, people tend to make a guess quickly.
One thing players need to keep in mind with Wits and Wagers Party is that the correct answer isn’t the one closest to being correct- it is the one closest without going over, similar to how television’s Price is Right is played. This is fun because it adds a certain strategy to the game play. If I am trying to guess the percentage of college graduates who earn a business degree, I have to be careful not to make my guess too high if I want to win an extra poker chip (remember- the player who is closest without going over automatically receives a poker chip even if they placed their wagers on other player’s guesses). So, while I might be reasonably confident that about 27 percent of college graduates earn business degrees, I might consider reducing my answer to 20 percent, just to be safe.
The seventh and final question is different with Wits and Wagers Party because with this final question, players can bet their poker chips instead of their tokens and can bet them all, if they like. It is similar to Final Jeopardy at this point. If you check your chips and discover that you have more than double what any other player has, then you could bet nothing and you would win. Usually, however, the game doesn’t work out this way. The chips each player has on hand, going into the final question, are usually closer in number and again, this means some betting strategy will be necessary in order to improve the chances for victory.
I like Wits and Wagers Party for many reasons but if I had to find an annoyance with this game, it is without a doubt the black dry erase markers. They have two problems: The tendency of the eraser insert to fall out and (the worst quality) the fact that the cap with the eraser tip doesn’t snap into place on the other end of the marker. You take off the cap and, like with a ball point pen, you naturally want to snap it on the opposite end of the marker so that it has a resting place and so that a quick flip of the pen is all that is necessary to access the eraser and clean off your answering board. But the cap doesn’t snap in place. You can try to place it there, on the opposite end, but the slightest movement (and there will, of course, be movement because you will be using the marker) will cause it to fall off. The manufacturer of Wits and Wagers Party really needs to correct this in the future.
Overall, I consider Wits and Wagers Party a fun family or party game to play with friends and associates. It contains reasonably easy questions that can be guessed with little effort and it is over in less than 20 minutes. It is much faster and simpler than other trivia games and I recommend adding it to your family game night rotation.