FTW Staff Picks - Wanna Bet?

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.

Wanna Bet?

Genre: Party

Designer: Tactic

Player Size: 3 to 6 Players

Game Length: 45 minutes

For fans of: Wits & Wagers, Truth or Dare?, 5 Second Rule

Wanna Bet? is not a great game. It's flawed and some of the rules are too basic, even for me. But it provides the baseline for what can be a really good time. With its box looking like the game came out of a time capsule from the early 1950's, it's got a unique look to it. Often times, that's all it takes to convince someone to give the game a shot. And when we initially got this game in, my inner elitist kind of looked down on the unassuming party game. But like all things in life, one should not pass judgment until they've given it a try. 

Wanna Bet? is a party game designed to entertain friends who love competition - particularly of the odd and meaningless variety. In Wanna Bet?, there are two types of challenges that players will find themselves taking - Active and Passive. The Passive cards are fairly boring, and reminiscent of Geek Out or 5 Second Rule, with very basic tasks such as "Can the active player name 3 brands of soda?" Where this game becomes interesting is in its Active tasks. Players will find themselves testing the most useless of skills such as bouncing a coin into a cup, stepping over their stretched-out, connected arms and chair flipping. One of my personal favourites is the challenge that requires the active player to phone a friend and get them to say "chocolate ball" within 30 seconds, entirely unprompted. 

Wanna Bet? is a bit of a conundrum. It's a silly game that feels a little uninspired. And yet, from time-to-time it'll show a bit of heart and creativity. I think you need the right group of friends to make it really work, but you could say the same for a lot of other party games. There are over 140 Active and 140 Passive challenges, but over time you'll probably be able to come up with your own. I would probably suggest coming up with alternative rules for some of the random spaces on the game board. One space, Die Challenge, requires the active player challenge another player to a die roll, with the higher result winning whatever amount was wagered. It feels so insignificant and boring. Instead, why not draw a card for the two players and have them duel on a challenge and have the other players bet on who will come out on top? 

Sometimes flawed games can inspire a better experience. While you could totally play Wanna Bet? in the way it was designed and intended, with a few small tweaks you can really improve it. This is why I try to advise some people not to take rules as the law. Concept is another example of a game where I prefer my method of play over the way the rules teach the game. At the end of the day, I would always encourage that you make whatever changes necessary to ensure that the experience is enjoyable. 

Earl OliverosComment