Would You Rather...? Pocket Travel Game: Classic Version Review
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Players: 3+ (ages 12+)
Playing Time: 30-90 minutes (depending on the number of players)

Would you rather write a game review or memorize the first five clauses of the Magna Carta? Choosing to do neither is not an option.

That’s not a question posed to the players of Would You Rather…?: Pocket Travel Version—the game should spur more exciting conversation than my lame attempt at a funny opening line—but my phony question mimics the idea behind the game.

The Pocket Travel Version comes in a tin and contains forty cards (each with four questions), four category chips, and a dry-erase game board and marker. The game play of this portable version of Would You Rather…? Classic is slightly different and has fewer questions than the larger board game.

To begin, each player writes his or her initials in the Contender area on the game board. The youngest player starts the game by randomly selecting one of the category chips from the box bottom. This player then draws a card and silently reads the question corresponding to the colored chip that was selected.

The game cards present odd scenarios from four categories: pain/fear/discomfort, appearance/embarrassment, ethics/intellect, and random. One of the questions is, “Would you rather hang upside down from the Eiffel Tower suspended by a nylon cord or be strapped to the wing of a flying airplane with only duct tape?”

The player who drew the card must write a guess regarding how the group will answer in the game board’s Prediction space and hide it. The question is read aloud to the rest of the group, who are given a couple minutes to discuss it and arrive at a consensus. Players cannot give “neither” as an answer or alter the spirit of the question.

If the group’s choice matches the prediction, that player remains in the Contender area. If the prediction is incorrect, the guesser’s initials are erased from the game board and written in the Dead-Ender space. In either case, play continues by moving to the left.

When a player in the Dead-Ender space has a turn, he or she must invent a “would you rather” question that does not have a clear-cut answer. (“Would you rather eat a bowl of strawberries or be run over by a truck?” would not meet the game’s criteria, for example.) All players, except the person who invented the question, make a choice behind their backs, holding out one finger for the first option and two fingers for the second. The group is not allowed to discuss the question. On the count of three, the players simultaneously reveal their answers. If the vote is not unanimous, the question’s inventor can erase his or her initials from the Dead-Ender section and write them in the Limbo space. If the vote is unanimous, the inventor remains in the Dead-Ender space.

This process is repeated on the turn for any players in Limbo. A successfully completed challenge permits the player to move into the Contender area. A failed challenge returns the player to the Dead-Ender section.

A winner is determined when only one player is left in the Contender space.

Would You Rather…? is a simple game to play, and this travel version makes it a convenient way to pass the time on long car trips. You might want to have another dry-erase marker on hand when you play, though, because the one that came with my copy was already dried up. I would also recommend having a tissue for erasing the game board.

I played Would You Rather…? with my parents and two of my brothers. It’s a bull-headed lot, so there wasn’t always as much discussion as the game is supposed to provoke. My family members also seemed to know very well what the consensus answers would be, which made it take longer than it might have otherwise. Perhaps this is a game best played with people you don’t know as closely. It would certainly be an interesting way of discovering what they think while keeping the conversation in the spirit of good, clean fun.

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