January 19, 2023

Three Things Thursday: Board Games

I had some ideas for Three Things Thursday today, but each time I started to write, I could only come up with two for each category. So I'll have to think about those some more!

Jerry and I played a board game this afternoon while dinner was cooking, so I thought I'd list my three favorite board games (and why they are favorites). In no particular order:

1) Wits & Wagers - This was an impulse buy a few years ago after Christmas and I'm SO glad that I happened upon it! It's such a fun and unique game. (And totally underrated, because I've never heard of anyone else talk of it before.) I even played it with friends via Zoom during lockdown.

It's kind of like Trivial Pursuit meets The Price Is Right. Each person gets a dry erase board and their own "Meeples" (little wooden people). A card is drawn with a question on it, and the answer to the questions are ALWAYS a number. And it's very unlikely that anyone playing will know the actual number. If they do, good for them! Here are some sample questions:

For this example, we'll use the question: "In feet, how long is the square mat that gymnasts use for the floor exercises?"

So, everybody writes down their best guess on their white board. It's worth noting that The Price Is Right rule applies in this game: you want to guess as close as possible *without going over*.

Here is where it gets fun. Once everyone has their guesses written down, the boards are placed in order from lowest to highest. (There is a card that has a "1" on it that is always placed as the lowest--it's like bidding $1 on The Price Is Right when you think that the other answers are all too high.)

Then everyone places their bets with their Meeples. Each person has a large Meeple (worth 2 points) and a small Meeple (worth 1 point). You don't have to bet on your own number; you can look at all of the guesses and place your Meeples wherever you'd like. You want to pick the number that you think is closest to the actual answer without going over.

You can split your Meeples up, too--if you're pretty confident with your own number, you might place both of your Meeples on it, or even just your large one. But if you think you may have guessed too high, then you can also place your small Meeple on a lower number. Basically, you divide up your Meeples wherever you'd like, regardless of what your guess was.

To score, the answer is read out loud. (In this case, the answer was 39.37 feet.) If you wrote the closest number--without going over the actual answer--then you get one point. If your large Meeple is on that answer, you get two points. If your small Meeple is on that answer, you get one point. So there is a potential to get four points on each question.

Wits & Wagers is a great game to play when you don't want to have to concentrate too hard and you want to have conversations with people while playing a game. There is enough logical thinking involved so that the outcome isn't totally random (I don't like games that are 100% left to chance), but not so much that you have to stay completely focused. It's completely family-friendly, too.

Here is the exact one that I have (Amazon affiliate link--it just means that if you were to buy it via my link, I may get a small commission).

2) Guesstures - This is SUCH a fun game to play with a large group (probably 8-10 people is perfect) and you will have some serious belly laughs. I've been playing this game since I was a kid; I love it so much that I actually have THREE of them because I'm worried that when one stops working, I won't be able to get it again. So whenever I've seen it at a garage sale, I've bought it.

This game is like charades, but a million times more nerve-racking. Here is the gist:

You divide up the group into two equal teams. The team that goes first chooses someone to be the first "actor" (or whatever you want to call the person who acts out the words). That person draws four blue cards (blue cards are easier than red cards, so the first round is done with blue; the second round is done with red). Each card has two words on it with a number (the number is the amount of points the word is worth). The actor then chooses which of the two words on each card they would like to perform (which one they think they can get their team to guess).

Then, they put those four cards in order from easiest to hardest (by their choice). The one on the far left will give them less time to act out than the one on the far right, which is why you want them in order from easiest to hardest.

You put the cards in the timer box like above, and when ready, start the timer. The actor performs the first word (the one on the far left) and can only use gestures--no noises or words or anything like that. Once their team guesses it, the actor grabs the card quickly and pulls it out of the timer then sets/throws it on the table--if they are too late, the card falls down into the timer box and they don't get the points.

If the team is taking too long to guess, the card will fall down and the actor just has to move on to the next card. And so on, for the third and fourth cards. If all goes well, they will have pulled all four cards out of the timer box before they dropped down inside. If their team fails to guess the answer or if the actor isn't fast enough to grab the card, they lose those points.

Each round, another person takes a turn being the actor until everybody on the team has acted. Then it switches to the red cards and you go through each person again. Points are tallied up and the winner is obviously the team with the most points. It's worth pointing out that I am a very shy person by nature, but even I love playing this game!

You can find the current version on Amazon here (affiliate link). The versions I have are old school--not available anywhere that I know of. I'm sure the new version is the same, just probably with updated cards.

This picture is from 2007--YIKES. Hahaha.

3) Euchre - Euchre is technically a card game and not a board game, but I can't NOT include it on a list of my favorite games! Knowing how to play Euchre is pretty much a requirement to live in Michigan. If you're over 25, in Michigan, and don't know how to play Euchre, locals pretty much assume that you're from out of state. Euchre is a passion around here. (Euchre is a game that must be played with four people--teams of two, and you sit across from your partner.)

Whenever we get together with Dave and Renee, we always play Euchre! On this particular night, the power went out... so we used a flashlight that's as bright as the sun in order to still play (along with a candle on the table).

Euchre is also a very frustrating game to try to teach people. You want everyone to know how to play--and play well, because you don't want to disappoint your partner--but teaching it is like trying to teach teenagers how to properly fold clothes. Worse, even. There are so many weird rules that have the student asking "Why though?"

It's like explaining things to a toddler who wants to know WHY for everything: Why is a Jack worth more than an Ace during this hand, but worth pretty much nil on another? Why do you only play with 9s, 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces? How do I know if I should "pick it up"? Why do you have to deal in a pattern of 3-2-3-2-2-3-2-3? Why are both Jacks of the same color considered the same suit? Why is a hand with four of a kind a crappy deal? What does it mean to trump my partner? And why the hell are you yelling at me for doing it?! OH NO, I have to renege that last card because I forgot the Jack of Diamonds was *technically* a Jack of Hearts--please don't throw me to the wolves!

AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE ME A SECOND TO THINK ABOUT WHAT CARD TO PLAY! And, always, from seasoned players who like to chat while we play: "What's trump again?" Hahaha.

Sorry--these are all references that only people who know the game will understand. Now, I imagine it's much easier to learn how to play these days because you can play online. When I learned, I just had to learn from other people. And I still get nervous I'm going to make a rookie mistake, like trump my partner ;)

For this game, all you need is a Euchre deck! (It's just an ordinary deck of cards with the jokers, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, and 8s removed. The 5s are set aside to keep score and the other cards make up the deck. See? Simple! Hahaha)

This was an actual hand I was dealt a few years ago. Looks awesome at first, but a gamble to assume my parter has an Ace. I think we re-dealt that because nobody wanted to "pick it up". 

I thought this meme was awesome in 2020:

Since some of you may be wondering the answers to the Wits & Wagers questions I shared, here they are! Don't worry, I wouldn't leave you googling for an hour! 


  1. OMG if 2020 was a Euchre hand!!! It's not just a Michigan thing. Ohioans love it too. I'm not sure I would have survived high school or college without Euchre. Not much better than "STAND DOWN PARTNER! I'M GOING IT ALONE!!"

  2. I love Guesstures! My family got it when I was a teenager, but unfortunately after a few times with it, other people didn't really want to play it. I have played Euchre, and I learned it in New England. I don't have the opportunity to play it often, though.


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