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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are You a Wise Alec?

We just got this cool game to review for TOS.  It is from a series of trivia games called Wise Alec.  The game we got is called Civilize This!

The Wise Alec games are a family trivia game.  Now, we love trivia games around here....from Rainman on down.  Usually, Rainman's are either too hard for us, or too, Who led the major leagues in home runs in 1967?  Answer:  It was a tie between Harmon Killebrew (who I have actually heard of) and Carl Yastrzemski (who I have never heard of). These are the types of things that Rainman stores in the recesses of his mind.  I have a tendency to do well at pop culture trivia games - I know stuff like - Who dubbed Debbie Reynold's singing voice when she was pretending to dub Lina Lamont's voice in Singing in the Rain? Answer:  Jean Hagan....the actress who played Lina Lamont.  The kids do well at their own trivia games....What star of Wizards of Waverly Place actually got her start on Barney?  Answer:  Selena Gomez.

But, here is how this one works....There are 3 question categories: there is something called a Wise Alec card.

(In my mind, the Wise Alec card is sort of like the Chance card in Monopoly - because somehow it always felt like you were getting a surprise or bonus and was super exciting when you got to pick from the pile!).  The Wise Alec cards can hold bonus points....some are for stuff like: Name 5 countries in South America for 5 bonus points, or it can be a tongue twister like: Stupid Superstition for 4 bonus points.  You can also lose points with these cards:  You were traveling in India, and ate with your left hand - you lose 5 points.  Apparently, it is like the nuns used to say and being left handed is evil!  : )

I loved this game, partly because I just love trivia, but also because it really was something we could play as a family....and it is one of those sneaky educational games.  The games says that it is for ages 8 +, but my younger kids like to play too and guess along with the big kids.  It is designed for anywhere from 2-6 players, but we have all played it together (excluding V-girl) we have exceeded the maximum amount of players at 7!

Here is how it works:

There is a die with colored spots on it....which tells you which card you have to answer a question for....if you get blue you get to choose your own category....if you get orange the player to your right picks for you.  Each card has  2 questions on the back and you get to pick before the question is asked which one you want to try to answer....there is a 3 point question and a 7 point question.

Here is an example:

In case you can't read upside-down, I will flip this one over for you...

(I see I have some gook on my table that needs to be washed off)
If you roll a purple, you get a Wise Alec card:

( I love his little Egyptian head-dress thingie.)

These cards are where my younger kids excel!  They love these ones and put on a really good show!  A-man particularly loved this one and the one where you have to do your best Tarzan yell!
I will be honest and let you know that we rarely keep track of points in this game, partly because the littler kids are playing with us and partly because I am a little afraid of how competitive my older ones would get (although maybe that would be a good thing...) and just play it for fun....because this is exactly the kind of thing my family thinks is fun.  A little nerdy, I know.

Although, this game gives you optional ways to "level the playing field" staggering the points goal - Mom and Dad need 75 points to win, Big Brother needs 50 and Little Sister only needs 25.  I think this is an awesome way for everyone to get a chance to play and to feel like they have a real chance of winning.

As a homeschool family, since I am the teacher, I usually know what my kids have learned....but I have got to tell you that I have been surprised at some of the stuff that my kids know.  L-girl just finished a bunch of the Magic Tree House books which apparently she has gleaned a lot of useful information from - because whenever she got a question right and I expressed surprise that she knew the answer, she just said, "It was in Magic Tree House!"  Who knew???  I love educational stuff that is fun and makes you learn things without "trying".

We ended up going on an unexpected road trip recently and the kids brought this along to just read questions to each other without rolling the die.  I know that my littler ones are learning stuff this way too.  Some of the questions have sparked some interesting conversations too, like why people from India do NOT eat beef and how the feudal system worked.  (Although I gotta admit that sometimes I have to look up the answers).

This game is made by a company called Griddly Games which has a whole line of trivia games for the family....they even have a sports themed and a nature themed expansion set to go along with the Wise Alec board game.  Oh, it even received the Dr. Toy award for 100 best children's products.    Click here for more information on all of the games and how to get them.  They might just be at a store near you....and if not, you can get them on-line from Amazon, for $14.99.

Since I am a part of the TOS review crew, I was given this game in return for my honest opinion.