Ticked Off: A Party Game for Trivia Buffs

Ticked Off

Party games and casual gamers are usually a great fit for each other. We at Casual Game Revolution love a good party game when the occasion calls for it. We recently had the opportunity to evaluate Ticked Off by R&R Games, which has some similarities to games like Scattergories and Outburst while also adding in some unique game play elements.

Game Play

At its core, Ticked Off is a trivia game in which players write down as many items in a category as possible before the buzzer sounds. Categories cover a wide range of topics, including science, pop culture, food, religion, politics, entertainment, etc. Examples include animals you might see on a safari, things that make you sneeze, and diseases. The object of the game is to score the most points, and points are scored for unique answers that nobody else came up with. The first player to reach 50 points wins.

At the beginning of each round, a category card is revealed. Players then proceed to place their pawns on the board to bid on how many answers they believe they can come up with. Players can bid up to a maximum of 20. If a player doesn't believe he can beat the current bid, he places his pawn on the "pass" circle on the board. Only one player can be the winning bidder.

After the bids are completed, a "mystery" category is then revealed. The timer is started and players proceed to write down items from either the original category or the mystery category (one or the other, but not both). When the timer ends, each player reads his list and then scores 1 point for each unique answer. The winning bidder scores double points for every unique answer, but only if he came up with at least the number of answers he bid on. Otherwise, he scores zero points. If a player came up with more answers than the highest bid, he earns a bonus point for each of the extra answers.

Review

The bidding aspect of Ticked Off is a fun and unique addition. Overconfidence can definitely get you in trouble — if you bid higher than you can actually deliver, you will lose out on points. This gives the highest bidder quite a bit of pressure, but greater potential reward. If you're confident enough to bid the highest number of 20, good luck writing fast enough to score points!

Since only unique answers score points, players with the greatest depth and broadest range of trivia knowledge have the best chance of winning. This is heightened by the fact that players who have a lot of knowledge will bet higher and gain even more points. This is good for the right group of friends with similar interests, who enjoy challenging each other to a battle of wits. However, in a more general group, the scores may end up polarized with some players frustrated early on with little chance to come back.

Some nuances of the game are not addressed in the rules, which isn't necessarily a problem for most players. However, in our group, one player became deeply frustrated when he meticulously spelled out each word while another player wrote out all of his words in shorthand. Since there is no official rule for this, I would suggest coming to an agreement ahead of time on what constitutes an acceptable answer so everyone is on the same page.

The categories included in the game offer a wide range of topics, though several of them didn't excite the players much. However, we did like the fact that a second category is revealed after betting occurs, which offers an additional option that can change the outcome of the round.

In the end, Ticked Off has some potential in the right setting and for the right group. The bidding mechanic drives up the competition and the pressure beyond what is offered in similar games, but can have a polarizing effect on the overall scores.

Pros: Unique bidding mechanic, fun for a group of people with similar knowledge and interests

Cons: Too much reward for the most knowledgeable players, scores can become polarized

Full disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.