Does your family have a Wise Alec ?
Wise Alec was released in 2008 and has garnered a number of toy awards since that time including Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products.
At the core, Wise Alec is a “roll and move” family board game full of trivia and challenges. Players roll dice, move their pieces around the board, and answer questions based on the spaces they land on.
However, one of the key differences with Wise Alec is that players have a bit more control on which spaces they land on. Sure players are reliant on the roll of the die as to how far they can move, but players can choose which paths to take. While there is one space marked as “Start” there is no “Finish” space and players can meander around the various tracks on the board at their will (provided they move in a general clockwise manner).
And because players can choose when to take off on another path, they can often determine the type of question they’ll have to face.
Fountains of Knowledge
At the outset of the game, players agree how long they want to play – whether to a certain number of points or for a certain amount of time. Then you’re off and earning points by answering questions or performing Wise Alec tasks.
The spaces in Wise Alec are colored red, green, yellow, blue, orange, and purple – 3 corresponding to a different category of knowledge and 3 adding variety.
- Red = History
- Green = Science
- Yellow = Spelling
- Blue = You pick the category
- Orange = Player to your right picks the category
- Purple = Wise Alec (potpourri) card is drawn
If you land on a Wise Alec space, simply take a card, read it and do what it says. The items are varied and include both positive and negative points. They can include brain teasers, tongue twisters, physical tasks (jumping jacks, etc.), or simply dish out or take away a few points.
The category cards are more challenging are also vary quite a bit. The great thing about the category cards is that they each have two questions on them. One question is worth 3 points and the other question is worth 7 and the player gets to choose which question they’d like to attempt.
For example, if a player lands on a red space, the player next to them will draw a red card and read either the 3 point or 7 point History question depending on which the active player chooses. The player next to them reads the card because the answers are printed right on the card (see the sample questions in our photos).
Can the whole family enjoy Wise Alec?
We love that Wise Alec has 6 playing pieces with the game. This means that our whole family can play the game together. And having the option of 3 or 7 point questions adds a great element of balance so older and younger players can play to their own level. In fact, at the outset of the game players can choose to play to different point values depending on the age of the player. For example, younger players could try to get to 30 points, teenagers to 60, and adults to 90.
Even though the game can accommodate 6 players, we agree with the recommended age for Wise Alec of 8+. If you’ve got younger kids you could give it a try, but be warned that there are some tough questions. We’ve scratched our heads at a number of even the 3 point questions.
- How long ago do scientists think the oldest known dinosaurs lived?
- What does the word “Eskimo” mean?
- What French explorer led 3 expeditions to Canada in 1534, 1535, and 1541?
- These objects were either held or worn by Ancient Egyptians to ward off evil. What were they called?
In these cases, be prepared to implement some of your own “house rules” to best accommodate it for your situation. Our photos of sample cards should give you a good feel for the types and difficulty of the questions.
How does Wise Alec score on the “Let’s Play Again” game meter?
Wise Alec scores in the middle range of our “let’s play again” game meter. The great thing about the game is that it’s completely up to the players to decide how long they want to play. So whether you call it playing again, or simply extending the play time or points, you can simply keep going as long as you’d like.
Thanks Griddly Games for a quizzical family board game.
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