If you are looking for a different kind of family board game, I am going to share with you one that you may not have heard of. Maybe I’m 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 learned quickly, that keep all players involved all the time, and for keeping the games short (about 20 minutes).

Here is a brief introduction.

Basically, everyone contributes a numerical answer, which is then distributed across the fields with the corresponding payoff probabilities for each answer. All players then have 30 seconds to bet on the answer they think is correct (or the closest one without going over). Seven rounds are played to complete a game. The person with the most chips wins.

Strategy 1: If you have no idea what the answer might be, travel with the person you think probably knows the answer. In other words, place your bets where that person placed their bet (s). If it is a soccer question, copy the person you think has soccer knowledge.

Strategy 2: With Strategy 1 in mind, you can throw a subtle bluff 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 it last week …” even if you have no idea what the answer is. You will then bet heavily on your answer to entice other players to join you, but at the last minute, move your chips to the answer that you think is correct. I wish they had bet big and lost a lot of their chips.

Strategy 3: Similar to Strategy 2, if you have knowledge on a certain topic and the other players know it, deliberately submit the wrong answer and again, bet heavily on your answer to attract others. Move your chips in the last minute.

Common sense strategy: know how many tiles each player has at the end of the game. If you are the chip leader and the (current) second-place player can’t catch up with you even though you’ve bet all your chips and won, don’t risk your chip stack. In other words, don’t risk more than necessary (this is a GREAT lesson applicable in life too).

Tip: Write your name on your board (erasable) so players know who to return the boards to (the boards are color-coded, but the names are easier to remember).

Tip: Use a countdown timer that beeps instead of the sand timer that is included in the game. Usually everyone is so involved in the game that no one looks at the timer.

Tip: If you want to generate a discussion on a particular topic or event, create your own (7) questions that are difficult to guess exactly, but that the group may have some idea. This is a sneaky way for the host to get their agenda out there.

Wits & Wagers 2nd Edition appeals to people who like games that require knowledge, people who like gambling and people who like party / social type games.

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