Wednesday, December 15, 2010

North Star Games

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As the weather turns wintry, and our homes become (hopefully) cozy retreats from the cold, those chilly afternoons and evenings become the perfect time for playing games with family and friends. North Star Games provided a great game for  TOS Crew Members to try out, just in time for Thanksgiving gatherings and Christmas get-togethers. What fun!
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Wits&Wagers Family has become an almost instant favorite in our home. Here are some of the things that we really like, along with some playing descriptions:
  • Playing field is leveled so that the youngest and oldest players can remain competitive: A question is asked that can be answered by a number. Every player writes down their best guess(With included dry-erase markers, on included tiny dry erase boards), then puts their card on the table. The cards are put in numerical order, and each person decides where to place their 2 "meeples" (playing pieces).So, if you have no idea what the answer is, but you think your son might be right on, you can put one/both of your meeples on HIS answer. Or you can split your guess, by placing a meeple on your two best guesses. 
  • There are three opportunities to earn points: By having the guess closest to the answer without going over(1 point), Placing your big meeple on the winning guess(2 points), Placing your small meeple on the winning guess (1 point). You could earn 4 points with one question if you're really good! ;) 
  • Play is fairly fast~ the game comes with a dry-erase scorecard ~ first person to reach 15 points wins. Dad really likes this game because even when he's tired, it doesn't require TOO much thought, and goes fairly quickly. 
  • We haven't tried it yet, but thought that this game might provide the ideal opportunity to play a game via skype with family that we don't get to see in real-life that much. Looking forward to that option! :)
Some questions come from the Guinness Book of World Records, as well as other "Fact" publications and sources(Which means this could be a favorite with kiddos that enjoy reading that sort of trivia~ my son being one).

Here is one of my favorite questions from the last time we played: "In miles, how long of a line can the average lead pencil draw?" (Source: American Chemical Society, 2001) You'll have to scroll to the bottom of this post to find the answer.... care to guess?

Here are some of the particulars:
  • Players: 3-5 individuals OR Teams
  • Manufacturer age recommendation 8+ (I think it can easily be played with a 5 or 6 year old, especially if the "Team" option is used... our 3 year old joined in by practicing writing some numbers on one of the boards)
  • List Price: $19.95 at Barnes&Noble.com , other online retailers, and be sure to check out your local toy and/or game retailer.
Quick note about customer service~ North Star games has a great guarantee, that I unfortunately had the opportunity to test. Our game arrived with 1/2 of a small green meeple... :( and one dry erase marker that didn't work. I checked on their "Contact Us" page, and found this information:

Free Parts Replacement - Don’t let a lost or broken component stop you from playing.  If any of our game component(s) should fail (or even be lost) within the first year of ownership, we will deliver an identical or comparable replacement to your door free of charge!  Requesting replacement parts is a breeze... simply e-mail us the requested part(s) along with your mailing address.  We’ll send the parts out within two weeks.

I emailed them, as directed, and received a reply the same day, with parts arriving within a week. Stellar! (And, while I can't guarantee the same, I can tell you that my package arrived with a sticky notepad and a few sample cards from one of their other games. Fun!)

We have found this to be a great "take-along" game for afternoon/evening games with friends and family. If you are still looking for a great present for Christmas (Or later, for a birthday, etc....) this could be a great option for you. I have nothing to say in the negative, except perhaps, that I hope that North Star Games will put out some question expansion packs. In the meantime, this could be a fun research project for your kids... to look up some facts and figures and write their own questions. :)

I hope that this review was useful to you as you plan how to spend your homeschooling/gift budget. To read how other TOS Crew families used/enjoyed Wits & Wagers Family, please visit them at the TOS Crew Blog (Link will take you to the Crew Blog. Scroll down the page to find the link for the rest of the blogs.)

Speaking of scrolling.... Don't forget to keep going on this page to find the answer to the question from Wits & Wagers Family!

Blessings~
 


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**Answer to the question: 35 miles, or about 45,000 words. How'd you do???
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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