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Jeff Goldsmith
United States
Pasadena
California
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Facts in Five is mostly a trivia game. The idea is simple. Players choose categories from a set listed on randomly dealt cards. Some cards have a single category (e.g. Famous Persons of the Past) and the player may choose a subcategory (e.g. American, Female, Heads of State, of Serbo-Croatian Descent). Some just have lists of categories from which the player must choose one. Players select five such categories. Then five random letter tiles are drawn from a cup. Some of the tiles are wild. The players write the categories above the top row of a 5x5
grid and the letters down the left side. A timer is started and players must come up with a word or phrase which fits the category and begins with the given letter. After the timer runs out, answers are checked for correctness by the other players. Then correct answers are "moved up" in the grid and recorded in a second, smaller chart. Scoring is done by reading across and down each row and column; a player scores the square of the number of correct answers in each row or column. A perfect score, therefore, is 250.

Each round is fairly fast, so a group might play four or five rounds and total the score. Groups use lots of variant rules; for example, some groups will pick categories by acclamation or consensus. Tournaments typically pick categories and letters in advance so that all tables will play the same grid. If children are playing with adults, they are usually not required to meet the subcategory constraint; to be fair, the adults have to pick those or every personality is of Serbo-Croation or Zimbabwian descent. In such cases, just tinker to make sure the game is fair.

As games of this sort go, it's decent enough. I like "What Were You Thinking" better, but we play Facts in Five every year or two.
 
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