Zobmondo!! “Would You Rather…?” is the party game for three or more players that asks your basically unanswerable questions – questions like “Would you rather be the circus person that the knife thrower throws knives at, or the one who puts their head in the lion’s mouth?” It’s the “conundrum-likeness” of the questions that is key to the fun of the game. There really are no correct answers. But they’re fun to think about, and talk about, and maybe even argue over.
Zobmondo!! “Would You Rather…?” game comes in several incarnations. There’s a version for people ages 12 and up and another for people 16 and up. There’s Zobmondo!! You Gotta Be Kidding, a version designed for people 7 and up. And a travel version for 12 and up.
We’ll talk about the travel version last, primarily because the mechanics are a little different.
In all of its manifestations, the game centers on your ability to predict which of the two choices most people will select. Since the choices are equally questionable (“would you rather be able to walk on water forever or fly for three hours on three different occasions in your life?”), you’re more or less intuiting (all right, guessing) what everyone will decide. The real fun for everyone else is in the discussion (debate? argument?) over which of the two answers make the more sense (given that neither is actually more sensible than the other). There’s a board and die that help determine who is closer to winning (the most intuitive/luckiest) of the group, what the category of conundrum will be (“Pain – Fear, Discomfort,” “Appearance, Embarrassment,” “Ethics – Intellect,” or “Random”), or whether the player must select a “Challenge” card. (The 16-plus version has an additional category: “Food – Ingestion.”)
Even though the basic premise of the game – arguing over basically absurd choices – is fun enough, the challenge cards add a valuable dimension to the game: variety. Some challenges can be won by any player (e.g., the “Best Reason” card which asks all the players to “compose the most creative, thought provoking, and/or funniest reason for your choice”), and some, like the “Would You Do It” challenge, where you win the challenge only if you do things like “demonstrate a pickle mustache by holding a pickle between your upper lip and nose for one full turn.”), won only by the player who selects the card.
Of the three versions, You Gotta Be Kidding, the game for the 7-ups, is clearly the silliest. There are no categories. You get questions like “Would you rather eat a hair sandwich or an earwax omelet?” You have a game board which is actually much easier to use (we did have some minor problems interpreting exactly how to move from track to track on the other versions). And you get this really neat electronic “Red Chili Pepper” thing. It’s only used for some of the challenge cards, and works kind of like a hot potato. And changes the pace of the game just about perfectly.
Then there’s the metal-tinned travel version that comes without a die, or a board, or playing pawns, and yet is inviting and fun enough to help you bridge significant distances – geographically and socially. The key is the artful use of a write-on, wipe-off board. There are four spaces on the board: Contender, Dead-Ender, Limbo, and the Prediction space. At the beginning of the game, everyone writes their initials in the Contender space. There are category chips. The first Contender picks a chip, then a “Would You Rather…?” card, and the game proceeds as usual – the chip determining which conundrum gets read, the Contender writing her prediction on the board, everyone else having a semi-serious, consensus-reaching discussion. Guess right, you are still a Contender, and you pass the board to the next player. Guess wrong, you are a Dead-Ender. For the rest of the game, when it’s your turn, you have to make up a new conundrum. If your prediction is correct, you get to move anyone else into the Limbo zone, which, in itself, becomes a source of further contention. The last Contender wins.
All in all, the game, in each of its various manifestations, invites many happy hours of contemplation, conversation, significant silliness, and Major FUN.