There’s something about trivia games I’ve always enjoyed. Maybe it’s the memories of watching my family play Trivial Pursuit every Christmas or maybe it’s the fact it’s one of the only times I can flex my wealth of useless knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years. In the modern board game market designers have to work hard to stand out when creating new quiz games and You Bet-Cha! from Gray Matter Games is looking to do just that.
You Bet-Cha! spices up a typical trivia game by adding a poker element. Every player starts the game with a number of chips, a dry erase board and marker. At the beginning of every round players ante one chip into the pot in the middle of the table. Next the “dealer” reads off the category printed on the top card of the questions deck. This gives a clue to what the question may entail. Some are pretty straight forward, (such as “POTUS”); others are a little more cryptic and may not be what you first think.
Based on the clue that was given players must decide how knowledgeable they are about the upcoming question. Starting with the dealer, players can “check” or “call” to stay in the round by matching the current bid, or if they’re feeling more confident they can “raise” to try and get others to throw more of their own chips in or fold. The dealer has a small advantage since they’re the only player at the table at this time who actually knows what the question is going to be. Betting continues until every player has either folded or called.
Once this initial round of betting is done, the dealer reads the question out loud. For example, “NFL teams. (32)”. Players then have one minute to write down as many of the 32 NFL teams they can think of. Once the time is up players will start one more round of betting. At this point any player who folded in the first round of betting is free to make side wagers on who they think will win the pot by throwing in five chips from their own stack. If they’re correct they’ll receive five additional chips from the bank; if they’re wrong they’ll lose their wager.
Once the second round of wagering is complete players read off their answers. Whoever has the most correct answers wins the pot; if there is a tie the pot is split. The deck of question cards is then passed to the next player who becomes the new dealer. After seven questions have been read, players add up their chips and whoever has the most chips is the winner of the game.
You Bet-Cha! can be taught in a few minutes and it’s so easy to understand. The gambling portion of the game is what truly makes it. Players can play some subtle mind games at times during this phase. As the dealer, you have a small advantage of knowing what the question is before anyone else. If it’s a question you know a lot about you might “check” or make a small raise to try and entice more players to up the ante. On the other hand, if you don’t feel confident, do you fold or take a chance by throwing in a big raise to make it look like you know what you’re doing? When writing down answers you can fiercely scribble down gibberish to make it look like you know a lot and throw other players off.
The side bet portion is a nice little addition. It prevents players who fold from getting bored by keeping them engaged with what’s going on. This ensures players are never out of the round for very long and gives them a chance to come away with something, even if you didn’t know anything about the topic at hand.
The components are decent quality. The dry erase boards are fine and the markers have erasers on their caps, so you don’t need a roll of paper towels on hand. The question cards are easy to read and the answers on the backs are always in alphabetical order, which is helpful considering some questions can have up to 50 answers. The chips are good enough, but if you have a set of poker chips laying around I’d encourage you to use those instead to get that real Vegas feel going.
If you’re looking for a game that revolutionizes the genre, You Bet-Cha! isn’t it. If you’re looking for a solid, quick trivia game to play with family or friends over conversation and drinks, I couldn’t recommend this one more. While the betting portion of the game is fun and certainly helps it stand out from other games in the genre, players who have a wider range of knowledge still have a big advantage. Everyone I’ve sat down to play this game with has enjoyed it, and there’s even been some truly laugh out loud moments when someone goes all-in on a category, thinking they know what the question will be, only to be thrown a change up and have it be something completely different from what they were expecting.
Full Disclosure: Our copy of You Bet-Cha! was given to us for free by Gray Matters Games for review purposes. This in no way impacted our thoughts on the game.
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You can check out reviews for other Grey Matters Games here.
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AKA “The Board Game Mole”
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