Trivia games can always be hit or miss with a group. It seems like there are always 1 or 2 people that know everything, and a couple of people that just suck at trivia. If you are terrible at remembering obscure answers to things, then chances are you never want to play a trivia game. But there is a solution to that. In 2005, North Star Games brought us Wits & Wagers, a trivia game that everyone can play!
Fast forward 14 years and Wits & Wagers has a new edition, Wits & Wagers: It’s Vegas, Baby! Promising some quality of life upgrades and refreshed questions, let’s see if this one can still deliver after all these years.
Wits & Wagers is played over 7 rounds with the goal to be the player with the most money at the end. Each round, someone reads a question aloud and everyone writes down what they think the answer is. The key is that every question has a numerical answer, so even if you have no idea, you can still make a guess. An example question would be “How many black keys are on a standard 88-key piano?”
The player answers are then revealed and placed on the betting grid from smallest to largest. Players then can use their two betting tokens (and in later rounds, cash on hand) to bet on the answer (or a range of answers) that they think is the closest without going over.
The correct answer is then revealed and the player who was closest without going over gets a bonus payout. Everyone who bet on the correct answer gets a payout depending on how far from the median the answer was (fringe answers get large payouts).
Players then collect their chips and answer card back and another question is read. After 7 rounds, the game ends and the player with the most money wins.
I still have the original 2005 edition of Wits & Wagers and have long thought it needed a refresh. I mean, while the answers are still technically correct, trying to gronk them takes more than a bit of mental gymnastics. For example, one question is “How many iPods did Apple sell during the last 3 months of 2004?” Back in 2005, this was a solid question (the answer being 4 million). Yet in 2019, this question isn’t all that relevant anymore. Players would have to think back 15 years to get an answer (if we are talking sales in 2018, the answer would be a big fat zero).
In It’s Vegas, Baby!, most of the new questions are from 2018, so figuring out a more relevant answer is a lot easier on the players. The only downside in this edition is that the questions per card dropped from 7 to 2. While there appear to be about 200 or so cards, if you play Wits & Wagers a lot, you will probably end up buying expansion packs from Northstar Games to get more questions. However, if you only play casually, then you will most likely have enough to last you quite a while.
The game board in this edition has also been improved. Not necessarily in quality–it’s felt, which feels a little cheap–but in the layout. There is now a tracking space that has the payouts for the winner each round (we used to have to keep tally marks on a scorecard to remember the round) and I liked the new range betting spaces. You can earn a 1:1 payout if you want to bet on the three answers in the high or low range. All in all, there are plenty of opportunities for action in this new edition.
Other than that, the gameplay in Wits & Wagers is largely unchanged, which I’m good with. This was always a solid party game that definitely plays better with more people. The original edition played from 3-7 players and at the 3 player count, you were probably better looking for something else to play at that point unless you are really jonesing for some trivia. This new edition says its player count starts at 5+ and can go as high as you want with teams (there are components for 8 players or teams).
Wits & Wagers: It’s Vegas Baby is a solid upgrade to one of my favorite trivia games. I always appreciated that since all answers are numbers, anyone can make a guess, even if you suck at trivia. And the betting aspect really gives it another level of interest vs just paying out the winner.
If you are like me and still owned the 2005 edition, Wits & Wagers: It’s Vegas Baby is a worthy upgrade for an already great game. Plus, it’s nice to have questions with answers from this decade. I mean, does anyone really know how many more DVDs were sold over VHS tapes in 2002?
Final Score: 4 Stars – A great trivia game for people who are bad at trivia, this edition offers a nice refresh to the line.
• Anyone can play even if they aren’t bad at trivia
• Updated questions with more relevance!
• New board layout is much better
• Felt feels a little cheap
Many games like this would benefit from a companion app with constantly updated /current questions. Then I could even pick a category or a theme.
That’s true, but probably unnecessary. There are a lot of questions that come with the game. Unless you play a ton, you’ll probably be fine. Plus, it might just feel more like a video game at that point.