Knit Wit Review - Scattergories 2.0, Now With Added Arguments!

Matt Leacock came up with a gold mine in the form of Pandemic. Not my favourite game ever but the Legacy version gave me some good times at least. Since then there's been a lot of games using similar mechanics, some excellent (Forbidden series), some not so great (Thunderbirds). So when Knit Wit was announced I was at least glad to see that we were venturing outside of the comfort zone and trying something new.

It's concept is obviously based on the old Scattergories party game of old. Well if you can call it a party game anyway it was essentially a word-game with a fair amount of arguing and it quickly got repetitive mainly because my parents kept wanting to play it and unfortunately it's taken a while for me to inform my family that more games exist beyond the 1980's and certainly better ones. And yet we still end up playing trivia games a lot.............ugh, seriously if even half of those trivia questions were useful knowledge to have, I'd already know it! So will this improve on the original concept or equally be relegated to the forgetful pile?



Designer: Matt Leacock
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Age: 12+
Players: 2-8
Time: 15 minutes
RRP: £29.99


Hope You Like Venn Diagrams


The rules are incredibly simple. Players create a Venn diagram with string and associate an adjective with each circle using a clothes tag. After arranging their loop how they see fit, they will then place a numbered spool within the diagram providing it doesn't share a section with another spool. Each spool will be linked to the adjectives attached to loops that surround the spool and there is no limit.

Once this is complete there is a timed phase where everyone tries to come up with a word for each spool that meets the adjectives it's linked to. The object of the game is to be as creative as possible. Once a player completes their words, they can grab one of the bonus point buttons from the middle of the table. As soon as all buttons are taken, the scoring takes place.



Players score points equal to the number of loops on each spool. However being creative is key as any duplicated answers will score zero points for both players. Anyone can challenge a word by calling the player a Knit Wit after which they have 10 seconds to justify their answer after which a vote is taken. Add up all the points scored plus your bonus button and the highest number is the winner. Simple as that. 


Like Threading A Golden Needle


Component wise, you've got a nice clean look to Knit Wit, keeping with the sewing theme. Of course there's little point to having a theme, but it adds some colour with all the nice spools, tags, coloured pegs and string everywhere, it does feel like a quality product. It could be argued that Knit Wit is a little overproduced though, fetching an RRP of £29.99 for what is essentially a dressed-up version of Scattergories. Spools and string are fine, but there's very little to gain from having a score pad on black paper with custom white print with a set of white pencils present. I'm sure we would have been perfectly happy with a generic score pad and some Biro's if it meant saving a few quid. Something like this should be closer to £20 or less. 


Using string loops does add a little fiddliness to proceedings though. Reading a Venn diagram on a piece of paper in Maths lesson is easy. Trying to decipher what tags apply to what spools is a serious test of memory and observation as Knit Wit screeches to a halt while everyone makes sure they can see what spool is has what tags associated with it. Because the game scales by player count there will always be a fair amount of spools and loops and tags littered on the table and it's a strain on the eyes. And don't think you can simply write down the adjectives on the score sheet because there isn't enough room!  


I Still Say I Won The Debate!


One of the biggest issues I have with the original Scattergories was the amount of arguing involved. Naturally when you come up with a clue that you think is clever, someone will disagree with you and you will adamantly defend your answer behind your tower shield of resolve. This can lead to some amusing debates, but also a lot of frustration. In Knit Wit this effect is increased ten-fold. Because you are allowed to come up with some insanely creative answers, you know you are going to get a lot of backlash on your choices and this is what extends the game length out beyond normal levels. Just watch The Dice Tower's live show with Rahdo and see for yourself.

You therefore have to know going in that this is meant to be taken much more lightly than the original Scattergories. That strange and obscure answers are common place and thinking too literally will not help you. Difficulty wise, well that depends on the loops. Words with 3 or more adjectives can range from tricky to downright impossible. I'm not a big fan of the bonus buttons either, I don't see how they add anything to the game aside from being a glorified timer. It's essentially a win-more bonus for anyone who's quick at coming up with words, whether they are actually any good or not.

There's a good amount of variety overall with the large number of tags and the combinations available, but after a few plays, like the original game, Knit Wit does fall to the perils of being fairly repetitive. Certainly I would say, play this one every now and again, don't marathon it otherwise you might burn out very quickly. I feel this is why the game length only has one round included. Too many repeated rounds would get boring after a while. On the plus side you'll be able to play this with any man, woman or child out there as the rules are incredibly straightforward making Knit Wit a suitable gateway game title for a word/party category.


Verdict


Compared to the original Scattergories, Knit Wit is definitely a more entertaining upgrade and contains a great deal more variety in the box thanks to the combinations possible with the word tags. It's a little fiddly messing around with spools and string as opposed to simply pulling a set number of words out of the box, but it helps to give Knit Wit its charming look. However this look can work against it as you'll no doubt struggle to notice or remember what spool has what tags associated with it and this can be a proper pain when the game stalls at these moments.

Also, one of the issues of Scattergories is amplified here. The arguments over whether a word counts will increase ten fold here especially if you allow players to use creative answers. This can lead to some frustration unless you're well aware of this going in and accept that Knit Wit is more of an activity than an actual game. Knit Wit would best be described as OK. It's not a bad design, but it's nothing special either. If you're stuck finding a word game for your collection and Paperback doesn't take your fancy, then this is a good enough alternative to consider. Against other party games though, I can see this being forgotten in the short run.


If you are interested in this game you can find a copy at your friendly local gaming store - http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk/


YOU WILL LIKE THIS GAME IF:


You enjoyed Scattergories and want an alternative version.


You're looking for a gateway level word-based game. The rules are simple for everyone.


You accept that this is an activity rather than a game.



YOU WILL NOT LIKE THIS GAME IF:


You feel that the creative answers ruling makes the game far too prone to arguments.


You get sick of the fiddliness with figuring out which spool has which tag associated with it.


You want a game that's a good "bang for your buck" title.


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