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Of the three boys in the Vasel family, I was the only one who wasn't that interested in sports. Of course I was interested in them to a slight degree - and really enjoyed the one true sport - baseball, but didn't (and still don't) know the statistics of all the different sports. So when I got a copy of Don't Quote Me: Sports Illustrated Edition (Wiggles 3D, 2006 - No designer credited), I knew that I wasn't the best person to judge it from the sports side. So I tried it out with sports fans for the ultimate test.
And I was rather impressed! The sports fanatics argued over the difficulty/obscurity of the questions; but I thought it was an excellent trivia game, and everyone wanted to play it again. Unlike trivia games such as Trivial Pursuit, luck has little role in the game (other than the questions asked and some special cards), and the diversity and interest level of the questions are high. This game will be of high interest to sports fans, although dolts like me would have much more difficulty - although even I knew several answers.
Ten pieces connect together to form a pentagon shaped track made up of various colored spaces, designating five categories (Team - about team sports, such as basketball; Individual - about individual sports, such as golf; Vintage - about sports from the '80s and before; Names and Numbers - statistics of all types; and Sidelines - questions from sports movies, managers, and other oddities). Each player places a player pawn on one of the five vertices of the pentagon that matches their color and is dealt three action cards with the remainder forming a deck in the middle of the board. Boxes of pentagon-shaped question cards are placed on the table, and one player is chosen to go first.
On a player's turn, the player to their right pulls the top card from a box and reads the question to the player that matches the color of the category they are on. The questions can be one of five types.
- Landmine: A question is given with four answers. Players are to correctly guess which three of the answers are correct, one at a time. They get one point for each one correct and can stop anytime; because if they guess the wrong one, they get no points.
- Name 'em: A questions is asked with three answers. Players get one point for each correct answer they give with only three answers allowed.
- Countdown: A question is asked; and if the answer is given correctly, the player receives three points. Before answering, they can ask for a hint (which makes the question only worth two points), or even two (which reduces the question to only one point.)
- 1+1 = 3: A question asks for two things. If a player gets one right, they score one point; both right reward the player with three points.
- Quotation: A quote is given, and the player must answer a question regarding that quote for three points. Or, they can ask for a hint (reducing the points to only two); or finally ask for a choice between three answers (which is only one point).
A player moves their pawn one space for each point they receive from the question, ending their turn. If a player lands on a "Don't Quote Me" space, they will receive double points on their next turn only. If they land on a "SI" space, they draw a new action card from the table.
Action cards are one of five types.
- Fumble: Allows a player to answer a question that another player missed, receiving the points if right.
- Mulligan: Allows a player to answer again after giving an incorrect answer.
- Interception: Allows a player to steal another player's turn before they answer a question.
- Let it Ride: Allows a player to take another turn for bonus points; although if they fail, they get no points for either question.
- Foul: Forces another player to restart their turn with a different question.
Players can only play one card per turn and discard them after use.
Play continues, until one player completes one lap around the track, at which point they are declared the winner!
Some comments on the game…
1.) Components: The game really has some well designed components! The board is made up of ten brightly colored, high quality cardboard pieces and fits well together. When the board is formed, it holds together well and forms a nice, bright track with plenty of space to place the cards in the middle. The playing pieces are plastic apostrophe marks and look good when moving around the board. The action cards are of good quality and clearly state out what each does, looking sharp against the backdrop of the board. The question cards themselves are a pentagonal shape, with each of the five sides showing one of the five questions. Marked with colors to easily designate the question type, along with a symbol to mark what type of question, the cards are well formatted and easy to read. Pentagon cards may not be the easiest to handle, but they work well in this format. The box thankfully is not pentagon shaped (I can only store so many of those) and holds all the components inside a very well designed plastic insert. High marks to Wiggles 3D for component quality!
2.) Rules: The rules are only on two sides of a single sheet of paper and contain a few illustrations from the game. Mostly, they explain the categories, the question types, and how to use the action cards. A few questions and answers are mentioned, and everything else is rather self-explanatory. When we played the game, I was constantly thinking of the mechanics; but that's only because I'm a gamer - everyone else didn't notice them and concentrated on the questions.
3.) Question Types: I loved the different formats of the questions, as they added some new dimensions to the old Question-Answer gimmick. The landmines were my favorite, as players usually knew enough to get one correct point - but were they willing to try to guess all three? The five different types, mixed with the five categories, really brought a lot of depth and diversity to the questions. There are questions on baseball, American football, soccer, basketball, and hockey but also track and field questions, movie questions, racing trivia, kung fu information, and boxing questions - to name only a few. There are a LOT of different types of sports questions included, and I doubt any one person would know them all.
4.) Sports Geeks: Of course, that's always the detriment of a trivia game such as this one, and it's that a person who is really astute at useless trivia (a.k.a. the ultimate sports fanatic) can be rather domineering at a game such as this. However, I have seen self-proclaimed sports authorities get beat by others in the game, and the wide variety of questions allow everyone to have a chance. Of course, if you know nothing about any sports, well - then you should give this one a pass. But it's more well-balanced than most.
5.) Action Cards: I initially thought that the action cards would introduce too much chaos into the game. But since there are only five different types, and players will receive only a limited amount per game, they are actually hoarded and only used when a player is sure that they'll have maximum effect. All of them seem to have equal usefulness, although the Let it Ride card is my favorite, as it allows a player to push their luck to a degree. A variant mentioned in the rules (and one I highly recommend) gives one of each card type to players, giving them all equal footing. Of course, it's always fun to play the Foul card, only to have a player get an easier question!
6.) Fun Factor: For some, the fun will come from the different sports minutia included with the game, the different interesting facts that you learn or show that you know. For others, the variety of questions will be interesting, and some of them are a lot of fun, such as the landmines. And with the action cards, players always might have a chance to butt into others' turns, so there's a good deal of player involvement.
So if you like sports more than a little, then this is an excellent sports trivia game, with tremendous variety in the questions, and diversity of type. Players don't roll endlessly, attempting to land on a specific space; if you won, it's because you answered the most questions correctly. Action cards keep the game from getting boring, and I recommend it - perhaps as a gift to those who love to watch all things sports on TV. I won't play it much, because of my lack of interest in sports; but the system is great, and I plan to try some of the other editions.
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