FitzIt

FitzIt is something like Scrabble, only instead of letters you’re playing with ideas. On the other hand, it’s nothing like Scrabble at all, because the winner isn’t the one with the biggest vocabulary, but rather with: a) the most imagination, b) the best ability to convince everyone else of the unquestionable logic of oft-absurd assertions, and c) a modicum of sheer luck.

There are cards. Many, many cards. Two hundred sixty-five two-inch, round-cornered, nicely finished, fun-to-hold square cards, each describing an attribute that can be more or less reasonably attributed to something.

I select, at random:

“comes in an odd numbers”

“fits in a car trunk”

“usually holds other things”

The task is to think of something that all of these things would describe. One might say, for example, “a shopping bag.” And reasonable others would have to admit that a shopping bag does in truth come in odd numbers (e.g. one), fit in a car trunk, and usually holds other things. Of course, if you had more cards (and you, in fact, you have the prescribed five), you would be sorely tempted to use as many more of them as you could. “Hmm,” you opine, “could a shopping bag be, as this other card describes, ‘used to build something’?” Probably not. More than likely, should you make such a claim, you would be voted down, and you would lose your turn. Is there anything else, then, that comes in odd numbers, fits in a car trunk, usually holds other things and is used to build something?” How about a bag of nails? Perfect, no? Now, if only a bag of nails were “often considered romantic.”

Of course, unless you play first, you have to add your cards to cards already played, crossword-like. And your goal is to play all your cards. And, though you have five cards in your hand, you actually have a stock of 15 with which to dispense.

And then there are the strategically pleasing exigencies. For example, should you be able to play four of your cards, you may give away your remaining card to any of your opponents. And in the event that you are so lucky, and so linguistically well-endowed that you manage to employ all five cards, you may give two of the cards from your stock to the unlucky, but deserving player of your choice. And, potentially even more profoundly satisfying, if you add a number of your cards to an existing row or column of four or more cards, you get to give away an equal number of cards, much to your advantage, and equally as much to the disadvantage of your preferred victim. Keeping in mind, of course, that the more cards you hope to use, the more arduous the feat of reasoning required to make sense of them all.

And then there’s the aesthetic, but unscored delight that comes from proving yourself so extremely clever that one of the cards in the row you’ve created connects to a column of other cards in crossword-like manner, and you are able to produce an acceptable definition for both.

Cleverness, in sum, is what it’s all about –  cleverness and convincingness –  and luck, and playing with people who see reason in being reasonable, and have a well-established sense of humor.

FitzIt, they claim, is a game for two or more players. The “and more” part, I believe, is probably not more than, what, 28, figuring 7 players per team. All in all, a party game. And even if only two people are playing, a party game of major fun proportions.

FitzIt was designed by Jack Degnan and is published by Gamewright.

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