Just Say When: A What? Review

by Corey Whelen
24 July 2019
5-17 Players, 20-120 Minutes, Low Complexity, Low Strategy, Ages 14+

What is the perfect game for your next social gathering? What goes perfectly with drinks and friends? What is the best party game put out by Outset Media, and What should be the next game on your shopping list? You’ll learn the answers to these questions (plus a whole bunch of answers you never knew you wanted)- in the preeminent party game that raises more answers than questions- this is What? and it is an absolute joy to play.

No, seriousy, speak up, I couldn't hear you

What? is a belly-buster of a game that is guaranteed to get your friends laughing. Players will do their best to answer a series of prompts that come in three varieties: general questions, personal questions (involving someone at the table or a celebrity/famous figure, if you prefer), and sticky situations, my favourite, which pose an implausible hypothetical scenario, and ask how you’d respond. Every card has all three questions, and you alternate between them every round, resulting in an almost-gameshow like experience. The “host” of this gameshow is called the Questioner, a role that is passed clockwise around the table. The Questioner gets the card and reads the appropriate question. All players (including the Questioner) write down their answers and pass them to the Questioner, who reads them all aloud and selects their favourite. Players then guess who wrote that particular answer. If you can guess correctly, you earn one point, but if your answer is selected and nobody correctly guesses it was yours, you get three points. 
Answering the question is necessary, but the truth of your answer is less important than making sure nobody traces it back to you. This leads to a weird sort of metagame where you try to give a good answer, but one that the other players won’t expect from you. The dominant strategy here seems to be “go nuts”- the more outrageous, the better, especially if your friends don’t see it coming!

Remember, Violence is never the answer, unless this is the question

As opposed to other party games like Cards Against Humanity, What? is a new experience with every group you play it with. The cards are more engaging because they ask players to insert themselves and their (often exaggerated) opinions into the game. It becomes more personal and a lot funnier as a result, but it does mean this game is best played with a group of friends you’re comfortable with!

What? hits all the marks for a fantastic party game: it’s great for crowds, it’s hilarious, easy to learn, and it pairs great with a glass of wine. Winning is important (of course) but it takes a backseat to the rolling waves of laughter your group will experience as they listen to each other describe how they’d handle, for example, their car breaking down, in the bad part of town, while wearing a fairy outfit on their way to a costume party. That’s one of my favourite questions, but What? has hundreds more, which makes this game pitch-perfect among party games!

There’s also What? Girls Night Edition for a lovely lady’s night in, although be aware, this version is 18+, extremely saucy and intended for after the kids go to bed!

Cute family photo!!