America Board Game
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- For 2-6 players, ages 13 & up
- Plays in 45 minutes
- Designed by Ted Alspach & Friedmann Friese
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
What year was Close Encounters first in theaters? What state gets the most snow each year? How many albums has Madonna sold? It's likely that you don‘t know any of these facts. But you might have a rough idea, and that's good enough, because America is a party game where being close counts. And if you have absolutely no idea what the answer is? Take advantage of your friends who do know. And if you realize that no one (including you) seems to know what the answer is, you can bet against everyone! In America, each player uses their knowledge of pop culture, food, products, games, sports, and the history of America to get more points than their opponents. And if your opponents know something that you don't, you can leverage their knowledge to your advantage, scoring more than them with clever play. The cards have full color clues to help you, as well as interesting factoids for every question in the game. With almost 1000 questions covering more than 300 topics, America will be a favorite for family and friends for a long time! America is designed by Ted Alspach (Castles of Mad King Ludwig, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Suburbia) and Friedemann Friese (Power Grid, Terra, Fauna).
From the Manufacturer
What year was Close Encounters first in theaters? What state gets the most snow each year? How many albums has Madonna sold? It's likely that you don't know any of these facts. But you might have a rough idea, and that's good enough, because America is a party game where being close counts. If you have absolutely no idea what the answer is, take advantage of your friends who do know. And if you realize that no one (including you) seems to know the answer, you can be against everyone!.
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|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||2.8 x 11.7 x 11.7 in||9.5 x 11.62 x 3 in||6.88 x 1.5 x 5.25 in||11.75 x 11.75 x 3.5 in||6.3 x 2.8 x 9 in||12.25 x 2.5 x 12.25 in|
|Item Weight||3.42 lbs||2 lbs||7.62 ounces||2 lbs||1.25 lbs||3.57 lbs|
Top Customer Reviews
I'm a board game fan, plain and simple. At last count, I have about 200 varying from the 4-hour brainburner strategy games down to the 10-minute party games. This game definitely falls at the simpler/shorter end of the scale, but it's also the most fun I've gotten out of a new game in the last several months. I also tend to enjoy games published by Bezier. Suburbia, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf all see frequent play, but this is a very different style of game from any of those so I was cautiously optimistic when I purchased this.
America plays in about a half hour (maybe a little longer with more players or players who take a long time to make decisions, but I can't see it going much over 45-60 minutes). Each turn, one player chooses one of two categories (for example, the first options we had were "Pizza" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and reads out the three questions for that category. Each card has a question calling for a year, a question calling for a state, and a question calling for a number. For instance, under "Pizza", we had "The year Pizza Hut was founded", "The state with the most pizzerias", and "The number of pizzas consumed annually". Each player then, in order, places markers one at a time on the board for their guesses (years and numbers are in ranges, so you don't have to be exact), continuing until everyone is either out of markers (each player starts with 5) or passes. Players score points for being correct, for being adjacent to the correct answer, or for correctly guessing that NO ONE is correct.
There is so much to love about this game.
1) The questions are incredibly varied. In one evening we got questions about Niagara Falls, the Toy Story movies, the World Series, the space shuttle program, and The Walking Dead.
2) Even if you end up with a category you don't know anything about, if you know which of your friends does, you can use that to guess in the same area as them and get the "adjacent" points. OR, if you know NO ONE knows and is just guessing wildly, you can guess that no one will be right and take all the points!
3) It is very fast. We played three games in under 2 hours and would have kept playing had two players not needed to leave.
4) Component quality and design. The cards are very sturdy, the map and number/year tracks are clear, and the wooden cubes are without defect. The best part of the component design is this: the question box has a tall central divider. Once you finish a card, you put it on the other side of the divider, so it will now cycle through the other side with a different set of questions on the reverse. That way, there are always two options, and you will never see a card you have seen before until you have gone through the entire deck of questions (or very close to it, assuming you choose roughly evenly from both sides.)
All in all, a great game from a great game company.
America is a trivia game that copies the mechanics of two previous games, Fauna (the animal world) and Terra (world geography). If you've played either of those two games then you'll have a good idea of how America plays.
In America you play 6 rounds which consist of a single subject card each round. On each card there will be three questions about the subject. Those three questions will follow the same pattern every single time: What year did something happen, where, and how many. You answer those questions by placing your colored pawns on the three regions of the board - a map of the US for where, a timeline that is broken up into multi-year segments, and a number line. If you get the exact answer you score 7 points and you get 3 points for each answer that's adjacent to the correct answer. So if the answer is California you also score if you placed a pawn on Arizona. If the answer was between 1900 and 1909 (the space on the board is 1900 and it covers all dates up to the next year shown) and you placed your pawn on 1910 you also score. And so on. You can also score points if you place your pawn on the spot for "no exact answer is correct" and "no exact or adjacent." Each player is given 5 pawns to play on their first turn which you can lose by answering completely wrong, but you can get them back on following turns.
The two trivia games that most people probably know about are Trivial Pursuit and, to a lesser extent, Wits and Wagers. Those games will help give you an idea of how America plays and if it's right for your group or family.
Trivial Pursuit was a horrible game that just kept going and going. It rewarded people with special knowledge and left everyone else out of the fun. If you've only played Trivial Pursuit then don't let that cloud your judgment of this game or Wits and Wagers. I know the game has its fans, but I'm not one of them. I think it's safe to say the game is loathed by many.
Wits and Wagers is a more recent game and it really changed the whole idea of playing a trivia game. Like America, it's based on only a few questions. Unlike Trivial Pursuit, you know the game is only going to last so long. Also unlike Trivial Pursuit, that game brought betting into the mix. You don't need to know the answer to the questions in Wits and Wagers. In fact, you can answer the questions incorrectly every single time and you still have a chance of winning. That's because you place bets on who you think did play the correct answer. So if you trust that someone across you knows more about the topic than you bet on their answer. It was ingenious. It's the perfect game for people who might not be good at trivia, but have a good read on the knowledge of other people at the table.
America is similar to Wits with the limited number of questions. That alone makes it superior to Trivial Pursuit. And also like Wits you can get points even if you don't know the answer, but think someone else at the table does. But America doesn't have any betting. If you piggyback on someone else at the table in America you're still going to get fewer points. What that means is, America, like Trivial Pursuit, rewards knowledge which can be a bit of bummer if you don't know the answer to the questions. However, the game addresses this by the questions you get. How many people know the year Pizza Hut first opened? How many would know how many pizzas are eaten in a year? There are questions in which people will know the answer - like how many flavors Baskin Robbins has in their stores. That can be a generational or regional thing which means some people might not have a clue. However, there appear to be enough silly questions to handicap the best read person at the table.
One of the criticisms I've seen of America is that there aren't that many questions. The game comes with 160 double sided cards. That equals 53 games (and a third - why the game didn't come with 162 cards is odd) which means a lot of replayability despite appearances. The box comes with quite a bit of empty space and it looks as if the publisher plans on selling expansions. I don't know this for sure, of course.
I've given America five stars because I loved playing it and I want to play it again. But I'm also aware of its flaws. In the game I lost it was obvious that there was no way I could win by the end of 5th turn and maybe even by the 4th. That would almost never happen in a Wits and Wagers game. But I had a lot of fun playing. America is a less forgiving game than Wits, but that doesn't make a it a bad game. It's short enough that you could easily play it multiple times in an evening which should give most people a chance at winning if not at least doing well.
If you like trivia party games then most definitely give America a try. If you're not a fan of trivia and just want a party game then I'd say Wits and Wagers is the better choice. If you're a serious gamer and would like a trivia game in your collection then I'd say America is worthy of being in your collection. I own both this and Wagers and have no intention of getting rid either. I believe most serious gamers are going to like America more than Wits. One of the reasons I say this is because America is actually playable with just 2 people. It's not super fun, but it works and it's interesting. You can't play Wits and Wagers with 2. For me personally, Wits is going to be the game I pull out for non-gamers who might not be interested in playing a trivia game while America is the one I'll pull out with slightly more serious folks who want a little bit more of a challenge.