Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Pointless The Board Game Review

Pointless The Board Game isn't like you'd expect, in fact it tries very hard to be different. Everything about the game is unique - the choice of name goes against convention, the logic behind the game is skewed and the flow of the game too tries to be different. To find out just how different read on...

Traditional games work on the principle of highest score wins, for Pointless however the clue is in the title, your aim is to be pointless, or to have as few points when the game is over. Each question offers multiple answers and depending on your choice you'll get points from 0-100, the more points you get the harder it'll be to win the game.

As each question was originally asked to 100 people you score more points in correlation to the number of people who picked the relevant answer. It plays out like Family Fortunes but in reverse, so if you have to name a Simpsons character you wouldn't say Marge Simpson, instead you'd say a rarer answer like Bumble Bee Man.

An added twist, is that you must name an answer that at least one person chose. So if you have to name a country in Europe and you say one that no one else said you'll land a whopping 100 points. This is quite sneaky, especially as you're still right, but adds an unexpected element to the game.

Once you've got to grips with that concept you've then got to contend with four different rounds that introduce unique concepts to the game. Some times you'll see a list of answers and have to choose the least popular. Other times it's your goal just to give a low ranking answer. For each round you put the question card in a plastic wallet, with a see through hole for the relevant bits. This is a good way of allowing players to see the possible choices but not their points scores. It also means everyone can play, as the question master can place the card in quickly and not expose themselves to the answers.

The game takes place over three rounds, which then end on an extra head to head round where the you trade pointless tokens to improve your chance of winning. At the end of the game the winner gets a pointless trophy. No I'm not being sarcastic, and yes this is also the format of a BBC Quiz of the same name.

During our time with the game we found the rounds effective, and there was a mix of questions that we enjoyed. There's some toughies in there for sure, and it's more general knowledge than culture trivia. So if you hate history, sports and geography it's more like being back at school than at a party. On the whole the questions cater to a wide spectrum of people - so you won't like every question - and most questions can at least be guessed. Even if you get it wrong, you can sometimes be just as bad off as a really good player, if they pick an overly popular answer, so the game is quite evenly played.

The main downside is the number of cards, with just over 300 questions. Questions take longer to play through than a typical quiz game, but on the whole heavy users of the game will burn through the questions quite quickly. This is a decent number if you don't read all the possible answers to every question and if you mix it up at a few different dinner parties that won't be a major issue. Just try not to skip ahead or you'll run out of questions.

On the whole there's certainly a point to Pointless, and it does have a unique twist that sets it apart in a very popular market of quiz games. You have to accept the rules of the game, and understand it will do everything it can to give you a ridiculously high score. Then again even if a question catches you out you can't blame the makers, after all the public answered every question initially.

In conclusion: The most Pointless game ever, which I mean as a compliment.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike, Thought I had to point out a mistake in your review, you say that if you answer a question with an answer that no one said, then you get 100 points, that is incorrect. If you give an answer that no one said you get zero points, ie a pointless answer....that is the idea of the game. Hope this clears that up.



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Every product on this site has been received for free, and given to me by the product manufacturer or their associated PR organisation in return for a review.

I have no other personal or business association with these companies, and all reviews are written truthfully and based on my own experience. If I hate a product I will say so (and have done on many occasions!).