Friday , December 2 2022
smart ass board game

Board Game Review: ‘Smart Ass’ from University Games

Smart Ass from University Games presents a completely different question-and-answer game. While many trivia games are seen as quiet contemplation, with timers to ensure players can search out their memories within an allotted time, Smart Ass is all about deciphering clues and being the quickest to answer.

Rather than taking turns rolling and moving, players must answer questions to get ahead in Smart Ass. Gameplay begins with players setting their tokens on the starting square and the oldest player rolling the Jumbo Category Die. This determines what kind of question will be asked first – “Who am I?”, “What am I?”, or “Where am I?” Each card is about a person, thing, or place with a list of descriptions that the reader gives one at a time.

Take Your Time, Hurry Up!

Players should listen carefully, but they should also hurry to be the first to answer correctly in order to roll the dice and move forward. Guessing too fast can cause problems, however, since each player only gets one chance to answer. Anyone who answers incorrectly has to sit out the rest of the round while the others get better and better clues. If no one gets the answer from the clues, the reader gets a free roll to move without having to even answer a question. Then the game continues with the next player rolling for a new card. Play continues until one player answers and rolls enough to reach “The End” and win the game.

The method of competing to be the first to correctly answer sets Smart Ass apart from other trivia games. Another aspect not usually seen in skills-based trivia games is the sheer luck factor found in moving tokens on the board. Players may land on spaces like the “Dumb Ass” to lose a turn and not be able to offer an answer in the next question. They could also face “Kick Ass” which throws them backward three spaces, a significant amount since there are only 16 spaces to the winning square. The “Hard Ass” space offers a chance for a bonus question. That works similarly to a traditional trivia setup, where a player having to answer a question. (Examples: “Who is the author of Jurassic Park and Westworld?” “What was the first ancient city to reach a population of one million?”)

Smart Ass is a trivia game for two to six players aged 12 and up. Games are usually fairly quick, taking less than half an hour. Length depends on the number of players and how good everyone is at guessing and rolling. The clues on the cards make for a great social game for those who prefer energetic guessing to digging deep for bits of trivia. Trivia purists do get their own fun with the “Hard Ass” cards, which makes for an extra level of drama.

Check out how to play in this rules video:

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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