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Thomas Eastside, Esq.
Facts in Five is a strategy word game issued by 3M/Avalon Hill. This review is based on the Avalon Hill version, which I believe only differs slightly in components from the 3M version (the letter markers are on cardboard in the AH version).
The gameplay of Facts in Five is based on the number five (if you haven't guessed that yet). The game is played in five rounds. Each round 5 classes are chosen and then the players choose 5 letters. Players then have 5 minutes to complete the round.
Each round, 5 cards, each reflecting a class or multiple classes, are dealt out. The class card will usually also list multiple categories to choose from. For example, the class may be Living Statesmen/Politicians. Then it will list multiple categories, such as: American, Foreign, U.S. Mayor, U.S. Senator, etc.
Each player announces the class of the card they received and then has the option to select a category. Generally, the selection of a category will make it more difficult to complete. Then, 5 letters are drawn. Facts in Five includes all 26 letters of the alphabet, plus four asterisks which are used as wilds. The 5-minute timer is turned and players fill out their sheets. When the timer runs out, players pass their sheets to the left for their opponent to score.
The opponent validates your entries and scores your sheet. Unlike Scattergories, which this game is often compared to, duplicate answers between players are not voided. Scoring is done on an exponential basis. If you had 5 acceptable answers in a row or column, you would receive 25 points, 4 correct answers would yield 16, 3 correct gives 9, and so on. Therefore, you have the opportunity to score from 0 to 250 points in a single round. This continues until 5 rounds are completed and the highest score wins.
Facts in Five is a great game. One that, for me, has had many repeat plays. The interaction of individuals choosing the classes in a round allows for strategic play, in that one can choose classes in which they are strong. Conversely, opponents may choose classes where you are weak. Therefore, as the game progresses and you need to close a scoring gap, you can choose harder categories more to your liking. I highly recommend this game to any individuals that enjoy word games and trivia games. It is a great, probably the best, melding of the two.