How to Play
To be the first player to move around the entire game board and reach the finish line first.
The players either divide into teams or play individually. Each team takes a playing piece, tile board, zwap tile and two Bezzerwizzer tiles of one color. Each team places their playing piece into the tile bag and one player pulls out one of the pawns to determine who gets to start. All of the playing pieces are then placed on the starting space and the category tiles are placed into the tile bag.
Placing Your Categories
At the beginning of each round each team draws four tiles from the tile bag. Each team decides in which order they would like to answer the questions. The first question is worth one point while the last question is worth four points. The tiles are placed face up on the team boards to indicate in which order the questions will be asked. Typically a player would want to put categories they know better in the spaces worth more points.
Beginning with the first team, the questions worth one point are asked to each team. If a team answers correctly, they move their pawn forward one space. After all of the one point questions are answered, the two point questions are asked. Every correct answer earns two spaces on the game board. Gameplay continues like this until all teams have been asked all four of their questions. If no team has reached the finish space, the current round ends. All of the category tiles are put back into the tile bag and each player/team draws new categories for the next round. Any used Bezzerwizzer or zwap tiles are returned to their teams. The next team clockwise will be the first player in the next round.
Each player/team gets two Bezzerwizzer tiles at the beginning of each round. The tiles can only be used once in each round. At the beginning of each new round, each team gets their two Bezzerwizzer tiles back. A player can use a Bezzerwizzer tile in two different ways on another player’s turn.
After A Question is Read
After a question is read, the first team to play a Bezzerwizzer tile (the attacking team) gets the opportunity to answer the question after the current team provides their answer. Only one team may play a Bezzerwizzer tile on a question. When playing a Bezzerwizzer tile, one of three outcomes will occur:
- If the current team gets the question correct, the attacking team gets nothing even if they also had the right answer.
- If the current team gets the question wrong and the attacking team gets it right, the attacking team gets to move forward one space.
- If both the current team and attacking team get the question wrong, the attacking team loses one space.
In all of these situations the team will lose the chip used until the end of the round.
Before A Question is Read
If a team is confident about a category they may play their Bezzerwizzer tile before the question is read. Only one player may play their Bezzerwizzer tile for each question.
- If the current team is right, the attacking team gets nothing even if they were right as well.
- If the current team is wrong and the attacking team is right, the attacking team gets three spaces.
- If both teams are wrong, the attacking team loses one space.
The Home Stretch
If an opponent is in the home stretch (the last spaces on the board with a white dot on them), an attacking player that earns positive points can choose to use those points to send back the player in the home stretch by that many spaces instead of moving themselves forward.
In each round each team has one zwap tile. The zwap tile can only be used on the team’s own turn. The zwap tile allows the team to switch any two category tiles that have not yet been used this round. A zwap tile can be used in any of the following ways:
- A team can swap one of their tiles with another team’s tile.
- The team can swap two opponent tiles.
- A team can swap the positions of two tiles. For example a player can swap a four point category with a one point category.
End of Game
When a team reaches the finish line the game ends. If all teams have not been able to answer the same number of questions, the additional questions are asked. If only one team reached the finish space, that team wins. If multiple teams reach the finish space at the same time, each tied team will draw tiles from the tile bag at random and answer the corresponding question. Whenever only one team gets their question correct, that team wins the game.
I would say that I have mixed feelings about trivia games. I like the idea behind trivia games. I like to challenge my knowledge and find out how much I actually know. Unfortunately most trivia games are not particularly well made. A lot of trivia games rely on the luck of a roll of the dice and usually require significant knowledge of the topic in order to stand a chance at getting more than a couple questions correct.
When I ran into Bezzerwizzer I was intrigued because the box claimed that Bezzerwizzer was “the game of trivia, tactics and trickery. The trivia aspect was pretty obvious since it is a trivia game after all. The tactics and trickery aspects interested me since most trivia games don’t have much else to them other than answering questions. While only being a pretty average game, Bezzerwizzer is one of the better trivia games that I have played.
A New Take On the Trivia Game
The trivia game has been around for what seems like forever. Popularized by games such as Trivial Pursuit, the trivia genre is one of the more popular genres of games for casual board game players. There are a lot of people that either love or hate these type of games. Bezzerwizzer claims on its’ box that it is different than traditional board games and in some ways it actually is.
Let’s begin with dice rolling. Bezzerwizzer has absolutely no dice in the game. This is a great idea in my opinion since adding a die only adds luck to a trivia game. Trivia games should rely on the knowledge of the players and not on the roll of a die. You are never going to eliminate all of the luck in a trivia game since luck will always be present in which questions are asked to which player. By eliminating the dice though the game avoids having a player win just because they rolled better.
By removing the die, Bezzerwizzer also improves the process of choosing a category. Tiles are drawn from a bag at random so no player can impact what categories they start with. If players just got to choose their own categories the game would be pretty boring. With twenty different categories, most topics are covered so everyone should have a couple categories that they are good at. Some of the categories are pretty unique for a trivia game. I don’t know if I have ever seen another trivia game have an architecture category before. If there are some categories that you aren’t particularly good at, you can put these categories on the low value spaces which means they won’t hurt you much if you don’t know the answer.
The arranging of the categories is actually one of the more interesting mechanics in the game. I like that the game lets you organize your categories based on how comfortable you feel about the topic. This works really well with the ability to make one category switch during each round. The ability to switch tiles can have an impact on the game and how players decide to ultimately place their tiles. You typically want to play your best category tile on the four space but you may want to reconsider that. The longer you keep a tile out on the game board, the more likely another player will use their zwap tile to steal it from you. If you are afraid that another player may steal your favorite category you may decide to play it in an earlier round than you would want to in order to improve the odds that another player won’t decide to steal it from you. While this mechanic doesn’t add a lot of strategy to the game, it does give players some options.
Finally the game includes the Bezzerwizzer tiles which do a good job keeping players engaged during other player’s turns. I like that the game gives you different options on when you want to play the tiles. If you are really confident about a topic you can play a tile before even hearing the question. If you are not confident in a category though I would not recommend blindly playing Bezzerwizzer tiles since you lose a point if you are wrong. If you want to play more conservatively you can choose to wait until after a question is read. You might end up racing another team to play your chip first though.
I like the idea behind the Bezzerwizzer tiles but they don’t work as well as I would have hoped. This is an issue if the players have similar knowledge in the different topics. In the game that I played almost everytime a player played a Bezzerwizzer tile the current player knew the answer so it didn’t really do anything. That is the problem when the players know mostly the same topics. Either all of the players will know the answer or none of the players will know the answer. This means that the Bezzerwizzer tiles don’t play a big factor in the ultimate winner of the game. In the game I played I think only three or four points were won based on the play of Bezzerwizzer tiles.
Just the Right Level of Difficulty
One of the biggest problems that I have with a lot of trivia games is their difficulty. Most trivia games are based on a specific topic. This requires a trivia game to be pretty specific with the questions that it asks since there are only so many different things that you can ask questions about with a specific topic.
Then there are the more generic trivia games like Trivial Pursuit that include questions about many different topics. Since the game can cover so many different topics, these games shouldn’t have to rely on having such hard questions. The difficulty of the questions in Trivial Pursuit is one of the reasons that I kind of hate the game. Pretty much every Trivial Pursuit game I have ever played has ended up lasting a lot longer than it should have due to the questions being way too hard at times.
The good news with Bezzerwizzer is that for the most part the difficulty has a good balance between being too easy and too hard. Most of the questions I would classify at a medium difficulty level. Some individual questions are too easy or too hard but as a whole people who aren’t trivia buffs can actually do somewhat well at the game.
When the really easy or really hard questions do pop up though they kind of feel unfair. If you get a really hard question it kind of sucks when another player gets a really easy question that you knew the answer to. There is not a whole lot that can be done here though. No trivia game will ever be able to fully balance all of the questions since a question that someone finds to be easy may be really hard for another player.
While Bezzerwizzer doesn’t have anything spectacular with regards to the components, the game does have some of the better components I have seen in a trivia game.
The game comes with 150 cards which translates to 3,000 questions which should last quite a while. You may eventually end up repeating questions but unless you have a photographic memory you will likely not remember most of the answers.
Another thing I liked about the components where the tiles. The tiles are made of a nice thick plastic and the symbols are simple enough that each category is pretty easy to figure out just by looking at the tile. The only complaint I had with the tiles is that I wish the symbols were engraved into the tiles. With extended use the paint might start to chip off the tiles which will make the tiles hard to read. The tiles are well made though so I am assuming the paint will last for quite a while.
Bezzerwizzer is one of the better trivia games that I have ever played. While not making any huge additions, Bezzerwizzer does add a little strategy to the game which helps out quite a bit. While some questions can be too hard or too easy, most questions feel like they are the appropriate level of difficulty.
Bezzerwizzer is still a pretty average game though. It won’t change any people’s opinion on trivia. If you love trivia games you should really like Bezzerwizzer. If you hate trivia games you will most likely also hate Bezzerwizzer. For trivia lovers that are looking for a new general knowledge trivia game, I think you can’t go wrong with Bezzerwizzer.