Board Game Review: Outsmarted (Ultra Edition)

a perfect blend of traditional and modern gaming…

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I’ve always enjoyed quiz games, whether that was an epic game of Trivial Pursuit or something a bit more interactive like one of the fantastic Buzz games on the Playstation 2. So when a game comes along that bridges the gap between physical and electronic quizzes, you’ve got to give it a go, right? That’s what I thought when I got hold of my copy of Outsmarted, and I’m so very glad I did.

Opening up the box is a fairly underwhelming affair, with the board itself and a couple of plain white boxes the only things accompanying the single page of instructions. Open up the boxes though and you’re met with the first very cool feature – the fantastic miniatures that you use as your playing pieces. Based on some of the great names from history including Einstein, Di Vinci and Cleopatra, the coloured versions found in the Ultra Edition look brilliant, and while you’ll only get plain grey versions in the standard game the detail on them is really nice. Also included in the Ultra Edition is a handy tablet stand, letting you prop up your tablet or phone while the game plays out, something that comes in really handy when you see how everything works.

The game plays out like a pretty standard quiz game; players roll a dice, move their character and end up landing on a particular colour which defines what kind of question they get asked. At six points around the board you’ll have the opportunity to earn a coloured ring, essentially Outsmarted’s equivalent of the Trivial Pursuit cheese wedges. Collect all of the rings and you’re staring victory in the face.

So how do the questions themselves play out? When you know which colour you’ve arrived at you tap the relevant question colour on the tablet and it’s displayed on the main screen and, if the player has connected on their own phone (more on that later), on their own screen as well. Each colour has its own category, from Pub Quiz style questions through to news based questions and TV, Film and Books. What’s great about these questions though is how there are three levels depending on who’s playing; when you set up each player you choose what kind of questions they’ll have between kids, teenagers and adults. As such the game tailors the questions towards the specific person whose turn it is, and genuinely lets the whole family stand a chance of doing well. I’ve had several games with my 9 year old, and they’ve all been pretty close, which is a far better situation than me having to pretend I don’t know an answer just so he stands a chance and doesn’t get fed up.

The interactive nature Outsmarted means you get numerous things not usually available with your average quiz game. Questions are much more varied, and you can buy additional packs of questions that provide a much wider range of topics. Every now and then you randomly get to spin a wheel that could offer you some help in the form of moving straight to a ring question, or winning some of the game’s assist options such as 50/50 or the ability to add time, which is a really cool touch that again would be tricky to implement if you just had a pile of cards to work through when asking the questions. There’s also different game lengths to enjoy too, so even if you haven’t got time to play through a full game and want a 30 minute blast instead, you can do exactly that. It’s a really flexible family quiz game that is very easy to enjoy.

So with quiz games being in such abundance, it takes something a little different to be noticed and exciting. Outsmarted is exactly that, mixing traditional pub quiz-style questions, classic dice-based board movement and modern features to make something really enjoyable. You can even play with people remotely, with the ability to display a virtual board and questions on the other players’ devices, so if you fancy having a game against some friends in another location entirely, you can do that. It brings people together in a way that’s impossible with regular quiz games, and in a world where travelling is becoming incredibly expensive it could be the perfect ticket to a fun night without having to even leave the house.

Outsmarted is, therefore, a great bet for anyone who enjoys a quiz game and wants to have a perfect blend of traditional and modern gaming styles. We’ll be dipping back into this for a long time, I’m sure of that.

Review copy provided by Asmodee

 
 

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