Wits & Wagers


  1. In inches, how tall was the shortest mature man in recorded medical history?
  2. What percent of U.S. presidents have served in a war?
  3. Of U.S. men age 65 or older, what percent are employed?
  4. In what year were the Voyager missions first launched to explore the planets beyond Mars?
  5. How many matches did Muhammad Ali win during his professional boxing career?
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien sold the Lord of the Rings film rights in 1968. In dollars, what was the selling price?
  7. In what year did Michelangelo finish painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

All of the above questions are from the board game “Wits & Wagers“, a Borden family favorite.

The way the game works is that the first question is asked out loud, and then everyone secretly writes down their guess on a little game card. When everyone is finished, you reveal your guesses, and then line up the guesses in numerical order on a betting mat. Players then place bets on which answer they think is the best guess. The more extreme guesses have a higher payoff. After everyone has placed their bets, the correct answer is revealed, and the winning bets are paid off.

I like the game for several reasons. First, it’s simple to play, and a complete game consists of just seven questions, like the ones listed above. Second, the game is fun and informative for all ages (10+ is the recommended age). Third, all of the answers are numeric, so you don’t have to be able to come up with the name of a President’s wife or the capital of some small foreign country. Fourth, given the nature of the questions, it’s rare that anyone will know the exact answer, and most times players are making wild guesses, which adds to the fun of the game.

The Borden family likes to play board games; we’ve even played board games over Skype with our oldest son. One of our current favorites is Telestrations, which is sort of like like combining Pictionary with Whisper Down the Lane.

As for those questions above, here are my guesses:

  1. 22 inches (although some women may argue that it’s a trick questions, since there has never been a mature man, of any size, in medical history…)
  2. 45%
  3. 27%
  4. 1981
  5. 38
  6. one million dollars
  7. 1450

I always get nervous with answers that require a year, since it is embarrassing if you’re not even in the right century. So with the Michelangelo question, I have no idea, I just hope I’m not off by more than 100 years. When that happens, it’s time for Lobster Man to make a return.

Anyway, if you are looking for a fun board game to play with friends and family, I can highly recommend both Wits & Wagers and Telestrations.

P.S. I’m not going to reveal the answers; if you’re that curious you can always look them up.

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