Two words: Geek. Trivia. Yeah, I know. Two great tastes that taste great together.
For those of us who love to test our knowledge with trivia games, Geek Battle: The Game of Extreme Geekdom is a new game designed to do just that, but with targeted geeky trivia. The four categories follow that theme. They are Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Comics & Video Games, Science & Technology, and Geek Life (not to be confused with Bob Boyle’s fantastic webcomic of the same name).
A couple of weeks ago I had some of my geekiest local friends come over and try out the game with me. We played it through, and I managed to win, but only because a particular wormhole journey was fortunate for me. Our group opinion is that it is a fun game, with great questions, and some interesting game elements, with only a few small issues.
The first thing I noticed about the game is the diminutive game board. I like this very much, because it takes up less room in my house, and makes it more portable and playable on a small surface. The next thing was the pieces. It comes with four cardboard pieces that you have to assemble and disassemble each time you play, if you want the pieces to still fit in the box. The pieces are much larger than any of the spaces on the board, though, and would be better suited to a full sized board. So from now on, I’ll just ditch the pieces and use something small from my stash of little things.
The general idea of the game is to roll the D6, move ahead, and answer a question. If you get the wrong answer, you stay there. If you get it right, you roll the D12 and move that many spaces. Then it’s the next person’s turn. Unless you land on a wormhole that might send you to another part of the board (think Candyland — I’m looking at you, Queen Frostine!), or a Geek Battle space where you challenge someone else to a Geek Battle (more on that below).
The rolling of the dice is not well planned, in my opinion. You roll at the beginning of your turn, and then again at the end if you get the question right. We decided that it’s better to just answer the category of question that you’re on at the beginning of your turn, and only roll one of the dice if you get the question right. Otherwise, you move ahead along the spiral too quickly. Plus, one of the dice is a D12, which can really upset the balance of things.
At any time during the game, if you land on a wormhole, you roll the D6 and go to whichever other wormhole has that number (or stay where you are). Similarly, if you land on a Geek Battle space, you challenge another player to a battle. The battle questions are special, and require you to take turns listing something that fits a category, such as elements on the Periodic Table whose abbreviations are only one letter. These add a really fun element to the game.
Whoever gets to the middle of the board first, at the end of the spiral of spaces, wins the game.
Some other issues we had with the game:
- Some of the spaces are two different colors. It isn’t explained in the rules how to deal with these. Does the player whose turn it is get to choose which of the two categories to use?
- Some of the multiple choice questions are far too easy once the choices are presented. Perhaps another house rule could be that if you get the answer right, you roll the D12 if you were read no choices, and the D6 if you got the choices read to you.
- The box is just an open box with a flap for a lid. It could benefit from a magnetic closure or something similar.
- To win, you just have to beat someone in a Geek Battle, once you’ve made it to the middle of the board. Perhaps a different winning criterion should be listing half of the items on a Geek Battle list on your own.
The minor issues with the game notwithstanding, it’s a great deal of fun, and there is plenty of room for house rules. I recommend Geek Battle to all the trivia lovers in Geek Land.
Geek Battle: The Game of Extreme Geekdom is for 3+ players aged 10 and up. It retails for $19.95.
Note: I received a copy of this game for review purposes.