Keeping In Touch With Trivia

When you move countries you really do experience some pretty wrenching separations from friends who remain in the country you left. So it was with Wellington and Ottawa, and so it has been with Copenhagen. One odd upshot of this has been that a friend of ours in Copenhagen is really into faintly ridiculous iOS games, and so we play those with each other, generally asynchronously, keeping in touch. Lately the game as been this one called Quizboard. “More like _stupid_board, I sometimes think to myself.”

And yet the game’s stupidness also keeps us connected. The stupidness revolves around its approach to question selection, which I wish I could explain to you, but I simply cannot. It’s a mixture of the obscenely easy (as in, “What is 41 + 2” easy) and the absurdly specific (as in, “Pick the exact height of Mount Everest to the foot from this list of possible heights”). There are, of course, more “normal” questions which you may or may not know the answer to in the usual way, but man there are a lot of ridiculous questions in this game. It gives us something to complain about to each other over the chat feature, and it keeps the game itself interesting, because no one is likely to go on a winning rampage for long before being crushed by some inane question.

It must be said that the game has some nice design going on, too. You get your questions by laying tiles on a gridded board, creating a kind of snake as you go along – each time you have five questions to add to your “snake” and you win by reaching a defined end-point with the highest score. It leads to some relatively intriguing gameplay in which you’re concerned both with the trivia itself, but also the spatial navigation, and the interaction between the two. It’s entirely possible to win or lose a game not because of the number of questions answered correctly, but because of the way you laid them out on the board.

Still, the most important thing about Quizboard is definitely the chance to whine about getting too many questions on obscure French poets. Definitely makes me miss the chat feature in other asynchronous games, such as Letterpress which I’m playing a bit these days. It feels mostly like playing against robots, except for the odd bit of personality in the word choices.

For the amusement of a recent opponent I recently played “FUHRERS”.

28 November 2012
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