North Star Games: Wits and Wagers Party, Say Anything, and Crappy Birthday

Luke Warren is the P.R. Director of North Star Games as well as being a Sales Rep and a designer. I interviewed him on the floor of the GAMA Trade Show’s Exhibitor’s Hall on March 14. We had an unexpected third person join us towards the end.

Wits and Wagers Party

Cover for North Star Games Wits and Wagers Party game.

Image courtesy North Star Games

CG: Luke from North Star Games, what’s different about Wits & Wagers Party that’s coming out in July?
LW: Well, Wits & Wagers Party is a cross between Wits & Wagers Family and Wits & Wagers. It’s essentially an easier form of Wits & Wagers to allow people who are not as familiar with games to get into the Wits & Wagers brand. So if you’re familiar with Wits and Wagers at all, it’s a trivia game for people who don’t know trivia. Everyone answers the same question, the answers go on a betting mat and you bet on the answer that gets closest to the correct answer without going over. Depending on whether the correct answer is ultimately placed you get a payout 2 to 1, 3 to 1, 4 to 1, something like that. In Wits & Wagers Party we’ve eliminated the betting mat and the odds. So if you bet correctly you get a poker chip for each token you bet on the correct answer. On the seventh question, you can wager your poker chips, you can wager your winnings. The idea is that will increase your payout, but if you’re wrong you lose the chips. There’s only seven questions in the game, so on the last one, you can go all-in. It has a little bit of that gambling element of Wits and Wagers, but during the play of the game, it’s a lot easier. You just get that one to one, you’re collecting chips, much like you get points in Wits & Wagers Family. In the last question you get that gambling element, so kind of a hybrid between the two.
CG: The key part of Wits and Wagers is that everyone is playing at the same time.
LW: Yes, that’s still true. Well, what we find is that waiting around for your turn is boring. So all of our games everyone’s playing constantly. You always have something to do. So in Wits & Wagers, if you’ve ever played Trivial Pursuit, for instance, whenever somebody’s turn it is, you wait around, they answer all these questions, they go back and forth between the Roll Agains, they get a couple questions right, but they’re not the pie pieces. It could take 20 minutes to get back around to you. That’s boring. Nobody wants to do that. So in Wits and Wagers, everyone answers the same question, so you’re always playing. And you can bet on other people’s answers, so even if you don’t know, that doesn’t matter. You can bet it on other folks. So if you’re playing with somebody who follows sports and you don’t, bet on the sports guy.
CG: By knowing the player and his knowledge?
LW: Yes, so a lot of it is about knowing who the players are that you’re playing with.

Say Anything from Northstar Games

CG: Now what about Say Anything?
LW: Say Anything is kind of a similar mechanic, but is based on opinion, but all of the questions are things like “What is the worst thing to say to a cop after being pulled over?” or “What song would make the worst song for the first dance at a wedding?” or “What’s the best band of the 70s?” So some are more serious, some are completely, you know-
CG: What is the worst thing to say to a cop if you’re pulled over?

Say Anything from North Star Games box art.

Image courtesy North Star Games

LW: Oh, I can’t say that on a podcast, but depending on who’s playing it, they can go with a conservative answer, like “Oh, let me put down my beer” you know, to something about their daughter. You know, so it’s like it could run the gamut. So it molds itself really well to the audience.
CG: It comes with dry erase pens?
LW: Yeah, dry erase pens, answer boards, nothing added. The idea there is to write the funniest answer, because the person who asks the question picks which answer they like the most secretly. And everyone bets on what they think that person just picked.
CG: So you’re still wagering-
LW: Yes, you’re still wagering. So even if I don’t write the answer that gets picked, I can still get points, unlike say Apples to Apples. If I don’t have a good answer, there’s nothing I can do. So here, if I don’t have a funny answer I can still bet on somebody who I think did write a funny answer.

Crappy Birthday to You

CG: What else is coming out? Anything else?
LW: Well, Wits and Wagers Party is the only thing this year. Crappy Birthday came out the end of last year. And it’s literally the game where you try to give bad gifts. You get a hand of cards, they all have zany gifts on them. Whoseever turn it is, everyone else gives them a gift, and they have to pick which one they think is the worst. So very simple game. Exact same mechanics as Apples to Apples, but a lot funnier, because you’re trying to give bad gifts to people. And you can learn a lot about people that way. Great as a gift to take to a party or something. Just have people open it, play it, they’ll have a great time and you leave the game at the party. Like a bottle of wine. Instead of a bottle of wine, take Crappy Birthday.

Crappy Birthday box art from North Star Games

Image courtesy North Star Games

CG: What’s the price point?
LW: $15.
CG: So it is a little gift.
LW: Yeah. It’s in a gift box package. Gift box price. And it’s so simple. People literally, all your drunk friends can open this game and start playing, like Paul.
Paul: Even I could play this game drunk.
CG: Paul from?
Paul: Ohio.
CG: Ohio. And you run?
Paul: Spellbinders. I do a pop-up store. Some retailers hate me ’cause I’m only open for Christmas.
CG: You play Crappy Birthday? Are you a shill?
Paul: I’m not a shill. Well yeah, I am. Because I like this guy.
LW: The connection is only tenuous. It’s only because he likes Crappy Birthday.
Paul: I believe that Crappy Birthday would still sell at $25. It feels like a $25 game, but it’s only $15. That’s why I give it a thumbs-up.
LW: Yes, it’s definitely worth the price. We designed it on purpose to be something that people would buy impulsively to take to a party. That’s really what the game is about.
LW: Yeah! Thank you.
CG: Thank you!

3 thoughts on “North Star Games: Wits and Wagers Party, Say Anything, and Crappy Birthday

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