Wits and Wagers Family Review

How old do you have to be to play Wits and Wagers Family Edition? It’s hard to say, but yesterday my preschooler beat the pants off the rest of this family in this “age six and up” game from North Star Games.

She had a blast doing it, too. So what’s the formula that makes this game so much fun for the whole family?

The preschooler victorious

The original Wits and Wagers dates back almost ten years to 2005, and was created with the premise of “not everybody knows trivia, but everybody knows which of their friends are good at trivia.” The game is based around the usual trivia game routine of asking and answering questions, but most of the points are earned by betting on whose answer is correct.

In Wits and Wagers, all the questions have numeric answers. This makes it easier for players to compare the value of a set of answers (all things being equal, the answer in the middle of the range is the most likely to be correct) and lets players guess even if they have little or no expertise. This adds a lot of accessibility to the game.

Meeples Are Better Than Poker Chips

What the original game gained with its numeric answers, though, it gave way with the betting scheme. Players placed bets with poker chips, with the answers in the middle giving smaller payouts than the answers on the high and low ends.

This flexibility added big point swings and excitement, because you could win big on an long-odds answer that paid off. However, it added a lot more math and decision-making to the game.

Wits and Wagers Family Edition improves on the original by getting rid of the poker chips and giving each player two meeples. The big meeple gives you two points, the little meeple gives you one point. Write your answer, put one or meeples on the answer(s) you think are most likely to be correct, and you’re good to go.

You still have interesting decisions, but they’re easy to make. Confident in your answer? Pile on your meeples? Not sure? Hedge with a little meeple here or a big meeple there. You still have interesting decisions to make, but it only takes a few seconds to make them.

It all adds up to a game that everyone can have fun with. My pre-schooler can only write half of the numbers by herself, and many of her answers are random guesses. But she had great confidence in those answers, piling her meeples onto her card so that when she guessed right, she scored big.

Her strategy isn’t going to win her a lot of games. She got lucky this time, and even so her older sister nearly caught up with her. But she understood the game, and got to have fun on a nearly even footing with the rest of the family. That’s the hallmark of a great family game.