52 Family Game Nights: Wits & Wagers

This week we’re continuing our “party game” theme with Wits & Wagers.

family game wits wagersFamily Game Night #14: Wits & Wagers

I’m guessing that most of you have heard of Wits & Wagers by now. (Anything advertised by Dave Ramsey has to be fairly well known at this point…) Just in case though, I asked my resident Game Expert to tell you about this fun family / party game option:

I’m not a big fan of party games, especially those involving trivia. Maybe it was all those games of Trivial Pursuit I was forced to endure during the 80s. At any rate, Wits & Wagers is a party game involving trivia—and I love it! The game only takes about 30-45 minutes to play and can support fairly large groups (15-20 people) when playing in teams, though it’s officially for 2-7 individuals. And the best part? No trivia knowledge required. You don’t need to know the facts, you just need to know your opponents.

Here’s how it works. One player will read a ridiculously specific question like, “How many gallons of water would it take to fill up the Empire State building?” Then the players all write down a guess on their mini-whiteboards, Price Is Right style. You want to have the closest answer without going over.

After all the guesses have been made, they are revealed and placed in order from highest to lowest. Now the really fun part (for me) begins. Players place up to two bets on the available answers. Is Aunt Suzie really good at calculating volume and other tedious math stuff? Awesome. Maybe you should pick her answer. The answers in the middle will pay out 2 to 1 while the outliers will pay out 4 to 1 or even 5 to 1. You can even bet on a “less than the lowest guess” space for a whopping 6 to 1 pay out.

wits and wagersFinally, the correct answer is revealed. You get 3 chips for getting the right (closest) answer and extra chips for any bids on that space. All other bids are lost. The good news is that you have two starter chips that can never be lost. After seven rounds, the player with the most chips is the winner.

This game works with lots of different kinds of people—from grandparents to hardcore strategy gamers to children. It’s quite addictive, so expect to play several games in a row and maybe a few more the next day. The only drawbacks would be that sometimes it’s hard to catch up if you fall too far behind. The final round is extremely important and can lead to players trying to “game the system” by bidding just one more than another player or holding back enough to win no matter what the answer is. My brother and I sometimes insist on a secret bid during the last round, but we get grief for it.

There is also a timer included, but you probably won’t need it. For most people this isn’t going to be a big deal. It’s a game—play the game.

Finally, I will mention that there are several other versions of this game now. We also have Wits & Wagers Family (and there is also a “Party” version). This version is a bit quicker and more streamlined, but it leaves out some of the more poker-like qualities I enjoy when playing the original. If you despise poker, then the family version might be just the thing for you. Whichever version you try, you are sure to have a great time with your family and friends.

Wits & Wagers is readily available in stores and online. You can find often find the original version for less than $25. The Family and Party editions usually cost even less than that.

Summary of Wits and Wagers:

Number of Players: 3-7 but easily adapts for teams

Recommended Ages: 10+, but we’ve played with younger. The “Family Edition” is for ages 6+. As long as your child can write numbers, they can play the original edition as well (although we’ve had some confusion when it comes to answers that require a percentage or fraction).

Reading Required: Yes, technically. Although only one person has to be able to read the questions.

We have people coming over to play games tomorrow. I’m willing to bet (ha – “wager” related pun…) that several rounds of Wits & Wagers will be on the agenda.

Have you tried Wits & Wagers? Does your family prefer the original or the family edition?
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