Wits & Wagers by Northstar Games

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We have a new favorite board game in the house!

We recently received two board games from Northstar Games to review, and today I’m chattering about Wits & Wagers Family. (I’ll be talking about Say Anything Family on Thursday, but there’s a link further down the page if you’re curious before then!)

On the box, Wits & Wagers Family says it takes 2 minutes to learn, and 20 to play. In my experience, that usually means that it’ll take you at least 15 minutes to figure out what to do, and explain it to the kids. Not so on this game – their “learning curve” estimate was right on the money. A quick read through the rules, and we were playing – and no need to refer back to the rules to figure out details in the middle of the game.

Yes, it really *was* that easy to understand – I was trying to fight off a migraine the first day we played, and we played three enjoyable games despite it!

The concept is simple. A question is asked, and each player writes down their own guess. All answers are numbers, and the goal is to get as close to the answer as possible, without going over. (Think Price is Right – just like that.)

The answer boards are placed face down on the table until everyone is done answering, and then they are flipped over and sorted into order. A number “1” board is included; it always starts the order, just in case everyone goes over! It’s fine if two answers are the same – just place them next to each other, and if that is the correct answer, then each scores.

Once the answers are sorted, the second part starts. Each player has two meeples (people tokens), one large, one small. The meeples are placed on whichever answers you like – you don’t have to choose your own answer, and you may split them between two answers if you desire. The big meeple is worth two points, the small worth one.

Once everyone is satisfied with the placement of their meeples, it’s time to read the answer. Also included with the answer is a related fact that places the question and answer in context. Some educational, some surprising, and some are just plain bizarre. (We had a lot of laughter during this game – something we can use right now!)

Scoring is easy and quick. The person with the closest answer earns one point for the correct answer. Each big meeple on that board earns two, and each small meeple one.

Points are then marked on the scoreboard, the cards move to the left, and the game continues until someone reaches 15 points, the winning amount.

This is a great concept for a trivia game, because, as we quickly discovered, it isn’t dependent on knowing the answer to the question – it’s just as easy to win if you’re good at guessing who would be most likely to answer the question right! The kids quickly realized to follow my lead on basic facts, like the number of feet in a mile, or how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon, but for how many Disney princesses or Webkins there are, my 9-year-old-daughter is the house expert. Almost all sports questions are going to get nothing more reliable than a wild guess from me – a detail that had my oldest declaring that he wasn’t going to trust my answers anymore!


The fact that the rules can be condensed into a 30-second explanation is a huge bonus that makes Wits & Wagers Family perfect for a party. With the Family version, you can be sure that the questions will be appropriate for all ages. The game box states that it’s for ages 8 to adult; with help reading the questions, this could go as young as 4 or 5.

It also states that it is for 3-10 people. It could be played with just two, if need be, though it might be a little less lively. With more than five players, simply divide into teams. If you have more than 10 players, teams could consist of three or more players, though the larger the teams are, the more difficult it would be to reach a consensus on answers and meeple placement.

Wits & Wagers Family includes 150 question cards (two questions each), 5 dry erase answer boards, 1 dry erase score board, 5 dry erase pens, 5 large meeples, 5 small meeples, and full-color, easy to understand rules, all packaged in a nice, sturdy box.

The primary difference between Wits & Wagers Family and the original Wits & Wagers game is the emphasis on family-friendly questions. I’d love to have more questions for this game. We will probably end up purchasing the orginal game and the expansion pack for it, since my kids are on the older end these days, but I’d really like to see an expansion pack made available for the family version.

Wits and Wagers Family is available directly from Northstar Games, and is also carried by several national retailers.

To see what other crew members had to say about this product, check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog post, Northstar Games – Wits & Wagers.

**I received this product for free as a member of the 2011-12 The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew so that I could provide you with an honest review of it by our family.**

Author: Shawna Bradley

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1 Comment

  1. Simple rules is a huge selling point for me, too many of our games we get too bogged down figuring out HOW to play, to want to bother with actually playing it.

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