Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Knit Wit

Plays: 4Px2.

The Game

Knit Wit falls under the word game and trivia game umbrella, something closer to a casual party game than the typical strategy game which most boardgame hobbyists are into. You are presented with sets of adjectives, and need to come up with an object for each set, which fulfills all adjectives of the set. Everyone does this simultaneously and secretly. The key is you need to come up with unique objects in order to score points.

These are the main components of the game - spools, strings, and tiny cards with adjectives. During the setup stage of a game, players take turns laying down these components to form a complex network, something like a Venn diagram. The strings are loops. They form various shapes and overlap one another. Spools are placed in areas enclosed by one or more strings. Each string gets one adjective associated with it. A spool is associated with one or more adjectives, depending on which string loops it is located within. Your task is to think of an object for every spool on the table. Those with many adjectives will be harder, but they are worth more points.

The #7 spool is enclosed by the red, white and purple strings. The #8 spool is enclosed by purple, white and black. The black is barely visible, you need to look closely. Setup in still in progress. These spools may later be enclosed by even more strings, and thus be associated with even more adjectives.

There are 8 spools and 8 strings in the game. A completed setup will look like this.

These buttons have different numbers of holes. Each hole means 1 victory point. Once setup is done, the game is played in a real-time format. Everyone tries to write down the names of objects for every spool as quickly as possible. The first to finish doing so (or first to decide to give up on the remaining unfilled blanks) gets to claim a button. The number of buttons is one fewer than the number of players, so the last person gets no button. The buttons are the rewards for the race aspect of the game.

There are a few very specific rules during the setup phase which ensures no spools will have the exact same set of adjectives.

The game comes with many adjective cards. It will take many games to use them all. Even when you start to recycle, the game is more about combinations of adjectives than individual adjectives, so you still have many possible combinations to play with.

A game is short. You spend two or three minutes to set up, and then around seven or eight minutes to think of objects. You score starting with spool #1. Everyone states what he has written down. If there are clashes, those players score nothing. For the rest, they need to convince everyone else their choices fulfill the requirements. If there is any objection the word is put to a vote. After all spools are scored, you add points for the buttons. The total determines the winner.

The Play

I played Knit Wit with my family twice. It feels more like a family activity or social activity than a game. The game mechanism creates many different combinations of adjectives. Different people will think of different objects due to their different cultural backgrounds, personal histories and exposure. Also everyone is trying to write something unique. You can get to know more about your fellow players by what they write. This is the social aspect of the game. Word clashes don't happen often. At least not in our games. Wrong answers don't happen a lot either. Because of that, scores tend to be close. The play experience is not much focused on trying to outscore your opponents. It is more about being creative with finding objects that fit quirky combinations of adjectives.

Shee Yun was rather strict when playing. When she couldn't think of perfectly suitable objects, she left the space blank and did not try to bend the meanings of some of the adjectives. When we came to the scoring phases, she frequently raised objections. She was strict both on herself and on others. My take when playing such a game is it is light-hearted fun and need not be taken too seriously. So I voted yes most of the time, if we had to vote. I only said no if an answer was obviously wrong or when the meaning of an adjective was twisted a bit too far. I seemed to be the only one being loose about voting. We did have a few words failed by the vote.

I don't quite remember who won the games. I just remember it probably wasn't Shee Yun because she had too many blanks.

Shee Yun, Michelle and Chen Rui.

I was rather pleased with what I came up with. The adjectives were "inorganic", "male" and "funny". My answer was Wall-E, one of my favourite Pixar animation characters.

The Thoughts

Knit Wit is short, easy to teach and has fancy components. It is an easy choice if you want to play with casual players. The game mechanism is unusual and refreshing. The game will work well as a party game. It is not a competitive game. You don't really think about strategy or how to squeeze an extra point here and there to outdo your opponent. You just enjoy all those crazy combinations of adjectives and the creativity required to come up with something unique. You even enjoy stretching the meanings of adjectives, and convincing your friends about your answer, with as straight a face as you can muster. I think for most boardgame hobbyists Knit Wit is a novelty you are happy to try, but it's not really something you pursue. It's a fun diversion and a nice change of pace, but it's not a main course you plan with fellow gamers. It's a filler. It's a trivia type game.

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