During the pandemic, trivia has been an escape of sorts for my family. We watch “Jeopardy” every night, a hint at a normal routine even without the soothing presence of Alex Trebek. And we’ve played countless trivia board games, including “Trivillenial” and Ken Jennings’ “Half Truth,” both of which I have reviewed on this website.
Amid all the uncertainty in the world today, there is something especially appealing about the timelessness of trivia. In a time when things can get “canceled” or memory-holed without prior notice, it can be especially rewarding to remember facts and figures from the past. For example: He may lose his reputation and even his national holiday, but no amount of historical revision can change the fact that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
When a trivia game called “…I Should Have Known That” shot up Amazon’s bestseller list last month, I had to buy it.For a time, this game became the single most popular product not simply among its competitors in the trivia space, but among the entirety of Amazon’s vast Toys & Games category.
Sadly, I was not particularly impressed. I have no idea what caused this particular trivia game’s popularity to spike in April, but after playing it I can find little to distinguish it from the many other trivia games available on The Everything Store. The questions are easy, which itself is not a problem; after all, it styles itself as a game of questions that everybody should know. The inconsistency arises from the game’s point value system. Each question is assigned a point value, and instead of gaining points for every one answered correctly, a player loses points for each one he or she gets wrong. Questions that everyone should know are worth as many as eight points, while missing trickier ones is not as detrimental to a player’s score.
In theory, this conceit might seem a welcome twist to a tired system. But the point values are so inconsistent, you almost have to wonder if they were randomly distributed. A parochial question about British soccer, for example, is given the maximum number of points, indicating a must-know, whereas the first name of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is considered a tricky one.
Ultimately, “…I Should Have Known That” features a nifty idea, and it is a shame it could not execute a bit better. However, if you are always on the lookout for more trivia questions, you could do worse than this set, especially for just $20. It can certainly provide a few decent hours of entertainment before it is time to move on to the next one.
We Strongly Recommend ‘Chronology’ For Family Game Night
We Know Products readers know that we love games. Over the years titles we have recommended include …I Should Have Known That, 5 Second Rule, Half Truth, and Trivillenial. Now it is time to add another to our list—Chronology. I received it as a Christmas gift, and we have already played it so many times that we may be close to exhausting every card in the set.
I had never heard of Chronology until the week before Christmas. I was at a holiday party, and several guests referred to the game as a recent favorite of theirs. They described the rules: Each player starts out with an historical event, complete with the year it occurred. As the game progresses, they are dealt additional cards and challenged to place the date of its happening in the timeline in front of them. In the beginning, this task comes easy. It does not take a history buff to know that Kelly Clarkson winning the first season of American Idol took place after the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.
But as your timeline grows, so does the level of reasoning required. Even if you have a sense that the NASA launch of Apollo 17, the debut concert of the rock band Kiss, and the the invention of the Rubik’s cube all took place in the 1970s, would you be able to correctly slot them in that order?
The best part of this game is that anyone can excel at it. The events tackle a wide range of topics, including not only history but also sports and pop culture. When I played over a dozen times with family over the break, I think every player won at least one time. It is also a great springboard for conversation. For example, the elder statesmen in the group will be unable to resist the urge of telling about how they remember when their households first got color TV.
There is only one issue with the game, and it is a minor one because it does not affect very many cards. For some reason, the B.C. dates are not affixed with that information. Ergo, Julius Caesar’s death is listed as “44” instead of “44 B.C.” and the first Hanukkah as “164” instead of “164 B.C.” In other words, if you didn’t know better, you would think that the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire somehow happened after it was already in the dominion of Rome. (Chronology makers, if you are reading this, please fix this for future editions!)
With sometime like 99% of the dates being after the birth of Christ, this small error hardly diminishes one’s enjoyment with the game. Chronology gets the WKP seal of approval and a “strong recommend” for your next family game night.
The Flashing Cube Will End Up In Many Stockings This Year
Are you sick of all the pop-its accumulating around your house? Are you skeptical of the claims that the colorful fidget toys are anything more than an educational distraction? A new bestselling toy might help. The “Flashing Cube” (or “Flashdash”) is basically an electronic fidget. Yes, it does light up and make noise, so on the surface it may seem more annoying than its analogue counterparts. On the other hand, it offers actual built-in games to help children develop important skills like memory and dexterity.
The Flashing Cube offers four games, called “Chase Me,” “Catch Me,” “Follow Me,” and “Remember Me.” The latter two are essentially an update of the classic Simon, though obviously with more buttons to press there are many more combinations. The abundance of gameplay possibilities is a huge selling point of this toy, since in theory it should take longer for your child to become bored of it and demand something new.
As you can see from the image above, it is possible to mute the volume, though ideally there would be some parental control option so your young one can’t just crank it up as soon as it is in his or her possession. Still, the Flashing Cube is shaping up to be one of the most popular stocking stuffers for Christmas 2021—Amazon is selling out of them fast, so you (or Santa!) would be well advised to act fast.
Give Out The Perfect Prizes At Your Halloween Party
Like the retail stores that already have Christmas trees on display, it is true that we have begun the transition from Halloween to holiday season content. But Halloween is still more than a week away, and though you may not be able to buy your dream costume if you haven’t already, there is still Halloween paraphernalia out there that can be delivered to you in no time. One such item that caught our eye was this cute set of skeleton statuettes.
As you can see from the above image, this 4-pack comes with stickers so that you can award winners of “Funniest Costume,” “Coolest Costume,” “Sparkiest Costume” (whatever that means), and of course “Scariest Costume.” However, since these titles are stickers that can be applied, you can give them as prizes for all sorts of Halloween-related contests. Do you work at a school or apartment building and want to give out a prize for best door decorations? Here is the trophy you need. Or perhaps you are throwing a Halloween party for your child that will feature classic games like wrap the mummy or find the hidden pumpkins. Sadly, bobbing for apples is probably a no-go this year for sanitary reasons, but to be honest that is one COVID casualty that we could probably continue to go without.
These cool trophies measure 6.7 inches high, so they are about half as tall as an Oscar statuette. There is no doubt that the winners will give them pride of place in their bedrooms or wherever they choose to display their accomplishments. And at just $18, these plastic figurines are cheap enough that you can buy several packs if you are one of those “everybody gets a trophy” families.