Who Would Win?

In a figure-skating contest who would win – Dr. Seuss or George Washington? In a stand-up comedy competition, who would win – Tarzan or Napoleon?

The Who Would Win? game I received in the mail was sealed, but without instructions either inside or out of its box. Which to my mind was cool. It wasn’t hard to figure out a way to play, and games that require us to use our imaginations provide the best workout for our brains. I played with intergenerational groups, seniors only groups, and kids, and had fun with loads of laughter in every case.

But when I decided to write about it for this blog, I thought I ought to see if rules did exist, and of course they did. You can find them here. The game consists of two sets of cards: famous characters and events, 100 of each. The events range from rodeo to banjo-dueling to needlepoint and 97 others in between. The characters are actors, authors, politicians, scientists, fictional (Harry Potter) and cartoon beings (Snoopy, Spongebob Squarepants), among others. Most of the character cards are likely to be known by both children 10 – 12 and above and by adults, although young children might not know Jacques Cousteau was a famous deep-sea diver and older adults may not know that Daenerys Targaryen is a Game of Thrones character. When I didn’t know the rules, we let people choose a new card if they didn’t know the character they’d drawn.

Note: A brief description is listed below each character, but in blue on blue print that can be hard for old eyes to read, and may not provide enough information to argue on. The quotation below that description is in very small print and is easily ignored. That said, the character and event names are in large print, and the little box of cards is easily transportable to any place you might want to play.

The rules say that two people should face off over an event, with each of them getting 20 seconds to argue why their character would win. The rest of the group chooses a winner, and that person keeps the event card. Play then moves to the next two people, and ends when someone collects five event cards. Without rules to guide us, my groups played much more informally. We let everyone participate in every round, didn’t impose time limits, and chose winners by consensus. Consensus was seldom challenged and only good-naturedly. Sometimes all players drew a new card with each round and sometimes they were dealt 4 or more characters at the outset and could pick one of them for an event, but then had to discard that character after using it.

The laughter came with the absurd connections players made to argue why, for example, Albert Einstein would win a needlepoint contest. (He was good at counting stitches and seeing patterns in his head.) In our informal play, we didn’t focus on winning, but my experience was that the men, perhaps because they were more competitive overall, tended to be most clever and imaginative in their arguments. Plus, they enjoyed making the other players laugh.


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