Today I’m taking a look at Outsmarted!, a new trivia board game that does a lot of things to modernize and improve trivia board gaming.
These improvements include the ability to play remotely, getting to pick your own categories, sound and video, playing for points instead of pieces, and more! Is all of this enough to get people back to rolling dice and answering questions at the table? Read on to find out!
Disclosure: Thanks to QPlay for sending us a review copy of Outsmarted! and for providing us with a special 10% off discount code: BELLHOP. No other compensation was provided. Links in this post may be affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
|Prefer video? Here is a link to the segment from our podcast episode where we reviewed this game. I use the show notes to compose these written reviews. The content and talking points are the same, but if you prefer to watch or listen instead of reading, you can head over here: VIDEO Outsmarted! trivia game review on YouTube|
What is Outsmarted!?
This roll, move, and answer a question style game lets you play with two to six groups of players, with a total player count of twenty-four with a full set of six teams having four players each.
The game is app driven and can be played with everyone sitting around the same table, through remote play, or a mix of both. Game time varies depending on the game mode chosen and can be as short as half an hour. The box says the game is for ages eight plus which works due to the fact questions are tailored to each players’ age group.
Outsmarted! is going to be very familiar to anyone who’s played any of the popular trivia games going back to the late 70s. It uses the traditional mechanic of rolling a die, moving your playing piece, and then answering a question based on what colour square you landed on. However, Outsmarted! goes on to modernise the classic trivia game experience. Modern improvements include being able to play for points instead of pieces, a timed game mode, letting players choose the six categories used in each game, adapting the questions based on the players’ age, and more.
As for components, Outsmarted! comes with a fairly large four panel board, one oversized D6, and a set of fantastic looking player pawns that feature a diverse group of historical figures.
To play Outsmarted! you will also have to download the free Outsmarted! app which is available on Android, and iOS. The game box includes a plastic card with a licence key on it which you will need to type into the app to activate the game. One licence key can be used with up to three devices. Note, only the owner of the game needs a key, you won’t need one just to join in.
There is also a stand for holding a single phone or tablet. We only used this the first game we played as we found it much easier to either pass one device around or have each player log in with their own.
Finally, you get the rulebook which isn’t great. It’s presented in a number of languages and I think English may not have been the primary one. Also, most of the rulebook is just directions on how to get the app and how to set it up.
My only real complaint here is that the colours on the board could have been clearer. The red and orange colours are very similar, even to people without any colour based vision issues. This could have been easily fixed by including some symbology on the squares but that’s sadly lacking.
How to play Outsmarted!
To start a game of Outsmarted!, the owner of the game starts up the app. There they will decide what kind of game to play from a number of options.
You first select if you want to play an individual game with up to six players or a team game with teams of up to four per side (for a max of 24 players).
You then decide on the game length. A full game requires one player to collect all six rings as well as complete a final lightning round before the game ends. The other options are timed games, at thirty, sixty or ninety minutes.
Next, you choose the game type, which is either trying to collect the most rings before time runs out or playing for points.
In point mode the first question you are asked each round is worth 100 points, for each correct answer in a row the points you can earn goes up by a 100 points. Ring questions are worth a base of 500 points each.
The game also includes a turbo mode which removes some animations and auto moves to the next player or question after a question is answered.
The final option is for an easier final round with a longer timer and easier questions.
Once you’ve decided on what type of game you want to play, you need to select the players. Each player needs to be set up in the app before they can play. This involves giving a name and your age range so that you get asked appropriate questions. The age ranges are Junior for younger kids, Teens for tweens and young adults, and Adult for us older folk.
In addition to this, you can give players boons and handicaps in the form of Assists that can be used during the game.
Once everyone is in the app, you then select which players are playing and pick which playing piece they will each use.
At this point, anyone playing remotely or choosing to use the app at the table will have to select which character they are playing. While the game can be played with just one device at the table we strongly suggest that every player plays the game on their own device. The game is just more enjoyable this way as everyone can see every question and you aren’t having to pass a device around the table.
Now that all of the players are registered it’s time to pick six categories to use for your game. There are a wide variety of categories that come with the base game plus there is the option to purchase even more categories as in app purchases. In addition, QPlay sends out regular emails offering discounts and even free categories.
Here’s just a small selection of the categories we’ve played with so far: Pub Quiz, Back to School, Quick Thinking, Sound and Music, History & Geography, Entertainment, Halloween, 80s Hits, Man’s Best Friend, Vintage Cartoons, The Logo Quiz, and Where on Earth.
When we play we let each player pick a category to make it as fair as possible for everyone at the table, when playing with less than six we either let some players pick twice or include generic trivia categories like Pub Quiz.
Now that you’ve got your six categories you are ready to play. Everyone places their pawn on the starting spot and then the app determines who the start player is. At this point, I suggest rearranging your seating so you match the order the app goes in, otherwise, you may have players acting out of turn.
Each turn the active player rolls the D6 and moves their pawn on the board. They then answer a question based on what colour they land on, selecting the appropriate category on the app. The question is presented on the app and the player picks between four options. If they get the correct answer they score points (if playing for points) and get to go again.
Along with the basic squares on the map, there are also six Ring Question spaces. These have to be landed on by an exact roll but there are re-roll spots on the board close to each of these to make them easier to hit. A player on a Ring question stays on that spot until they get a question right, which earns them a Ring (and 500 points if playing for score).
When answering questions each player starts with three assists they can use. One is a 50/50 which eliminates two of the potential answers, the next is 30 more seconds to answer the question and the last is the ability to just skip the question and get a new one.
Sometimes when selecting the category in the app, a player will get a random reward. They will get to spin a wheel, pull a lever or open a chest that will give them some kind of bonus. These include additional assists to use later on or a score multiplier for the current question.
When a player gets a question wrong they lose 50 points, if playing with scores on, and play passes to the next player.
At the end of each round the Outsmarted! app lets you know everyone’s score and how everyone ranks. Play continues until either one player wins (having six rings and completing the final round) or time runs out. When time runs out the winner is the player with the most points or rings, with players having the same number of rings sharing victory.
If you dig trivia you should pick up Outsmarted!
Outsmarted! perfectly accomplishes what it sets out to do and that is to be a modern version of traditional trivia games. This is the trivia game most of us grew up playing updated and improved in many ways.
My personal favourite part of this game is the fact that you get to choose what categories you play with. No longer are you stuck having to answer questions in categories you know next to nothing about hoping to get lucky. Another bonus of picking categories on an app is that the app keeps track of what questions it has asked before and won’t repeat a question. This removes the answer memorization problem that was an aspect of traditional trivia games.
Another big advantage of having app driven questions is that the questions can be catered to the players. This is a trivia game where kids, teens, and adults can all sit down together and play without the adults having a huge advantage. Now that said, sometimes the choice of what kind of question is appropriate for different age groups seems a bit off, but that’s a pretty rare exception. The biggest problem we had with this was with the TV based categories which kept asking the younger players about kids’ shows from long before they were born.
With the app, you also get localized questions. When logging into the app you select what country you are from and that will affect the questions you get as well as the language the questions are presented in. This was a big deal for me, having grown up as a Canadian playing trivia games that expected you to know things like US politics.
The final advantage of the app based question system used in Outsmarted! is that the questions are all current, and are updated based on the changing times. There’s even a current events category that includes up to date events. Due to this, you should never get a question where the answer has changed over time.
One issue that we did run into was an actual wrong answer. This was for a math based question where they failed to apply BEDMAS. In the game, there was no way to accept the correct answer and give that player points. I also didn’t see any easy way to report a wrong answer. So far though we’ve only seen this one mistake in all of our multiple plays.
I also appreciated the assist system. I liked having a few tools to help out now and then as well as having another system to help balance player age and skill levels.
Tied into this is the random bonus system which I really liked at first. Getting a chance to earn more assists or extra points is quite fun, however, I wish they had done something else with this system instead of it being totally random. This bonus system should have been used as a catch up mechanic, a way that the player in last place can earn some more points or at least some assists to help them catch up. As it is now the player in the lead is just as likely to get an added boost as anyone else.
Now all of this app driven play does come with some problems. The biggest one being that the reality is that this is an app driven game that happens to have a board that’s only used to track where everyone is. While the game can be played with one device, and it even comes with a stand for doing that, you aren’t going to want to play with one device on the table and the board sitting in front of it. If you are stuck doing this you better have a tablet or be running the Steam version on a PC monitor for everyone to be able to see it.
Despite being designed as a one device game, Outsmarted! plays so much better when everyone at the table has their own device and everyone but the game owner logs in remotely.
Now one advantage to this system is that you can play remotely. This could mean all players each on their own device located anywhere in the world, or it could mean a mix of players sitting at the same table and playing elsewhere. The app includes a digital die roller and board for the remote players and in app chat so everyone can still talk to each other.
The problem with this though is manipulating the digital board on the app. On a small device, it’s rather difficult to get your pawn onto the right square. You will be fine on a tablet but will have difficulty on a phone. It’s almost easier to just have any players sitting in front of the physical board move your piece for you and tell you your options after each roll.
Overall I found a lot to like in Outsmarted! This really is an improved and modernized version of traditional trivia based board games. Having played this I can’t see playing any of the classics ever again. There is one thing that this game didn’t change though and that’s the fact that it is actually a trivia game. Not everyone enjoys trivia, myself included. For a trivia game, this is the best I’ve played, but it’s not the kind of game I’m going to rush out to play on my own. If a group asks to play, sure I’ll do a round but I will insist we play a timed game and not a full game as those can go on for far too long.
This will be true for other players as well I think. If you aren’t really a trivia game fan this game probably won’t win you over. That said if what you don’t like about trivia games are the limiting categories, out of date questions and spending forever trying to land on the right spot, you should give Outsmarted! a try.
Now if you are a trivia fan and have fond memories of collecting pie pieces and reading questions off of cards, you really should pick this up. Outsmarted! takes the tried and true gameplay of classic trivia board games, modernizes it, and improves on it in so many ways.
Plus there’s no better time than now to pick this game up! Right now QPlay has Outsmarted! marked down by 30% off.
As an added bonus you can use our exclusive code BELLHOP to save another 10% on top of that!
If you are a trivia fan you really have no excuse.
Checking out Outsmarted! has been interesting to me. I was never much of a fan of trivia games. While I did play the classics quite a bit growing up, it was the fact that my family and friends were playing games together that made it fun for me, not the actual game itself.
I didn’t quite know what to expect with Outsmarted! and was shocked to find just how much it has in common with those games I grew up with. The thing is, it used the same basic mechanics but everything else was modernized and updated. Updated enough that I found myself enjoying the experience way more than I had anticipated.
While I still wouldn’t call myself a trivia game fan, I will happily sit down to play Outsmarted! with any group interested in playing. That is as long as I get to pick the next game we play when we finish.