Wig Out! Game Review

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The Basics:

  • For ages 6 and up
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • Approximately 15 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Reflex & Speed

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

We all want to be unique individuals, despite also wanting to fit in. How can we standout while at the same time wrap the warm protective arms of the status quo about our shoulders? It’s a conundrum, but not entirely impossible. In today’s age, fashion tends to be the medium in which an individual celebrates their individuality. Be it clothes, fragrance, and even hairstyles. But uniqueness can be drowned out by the masses and attempting to recognize one person in a sea of faces is darn tough.

Wig Out!, designed by Forrest-Pruzan Creative and published by Gamewright, is comprised of 5 sets of 14 different Character cards for a total of 70 cards. The cards are made of thick cardstock and very durable. On each card is a colorful illustration of one of the 14 characters. Not included in the game, but necessary to play, is a pen or pencil and a piece of paper to record individual players’ scores.

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Example of 3 of the 14 different Character cards included in the game (these are my little geeks’ favorites)

Game Set Up

To set up the game, first determine who the Dealer will be and hand them the cards. They should shuffle all 70 cards as thoroughly as possible, especially if the game has been played before.

Second, the Dealer deals out 7 cards to each player if playing with 2 to 4 players or 5 cards to each player if playing with 5 to 6 players. All cards are dealt face-down. Players should look at their cards, but keep them hidden from their opponents at all times.

Third, place the remaining cards in the deck face-down in the middle playing area and within easy reach of all the players. This is the draw deck.

Fourth, give each player a moment to organize their hand of cards. When everyone is ready, begin!

Let’s Get Wiggy With It

Wig Out! is a real-time card game. This means players do not take turns and everyone is playing at the same time from the very start. A single game is comprised of 5 rounds. A typical round is summarized here and beings when the round’s Dealer shouts, “GO!” Once the round begins, players can take one of three options and repeat them as many times as they can or want to until the round is over.

Option 1: Start  a New Pile

A player can start a new pile of Character cards in front of them by playing 2 or more matching Character cards from their hand. These are played face-up to the table and should be placed so all the player’s opponents can easily reach it.

Option 2: Play a Character Card

A player can play a single Character card from their hand to any pile of Character cards that match. For example, playing the “Punk Rocker” Character card to a pile of “Punk Rocker” Character cards already face-up on the table.

Option 3: Draw a Character Card

A player draws a Character card from the draw deck if they cannot play any Character cards from their hand to start a new pile or play to an existing pile. Technically, a player could just wait until a new pile is created, but that goes against the spirit of the game and will dramatically reduce the game’s speed (not to mention fun). Players should police themselves and urge opponents to draw Character cards if need be. After all, all the players are dependent on each other to play cards to the table. Failure to do so will lower the likelihood of creating Character card matches for everyone.

Ending the Round and Winning the Game

A single round ends when any player is able to play their last card to the table. This player then shouts “WIG OUT!” and the round immediately ends. All the players now take a moment to count the number of cards left in their hand. The total count is noted next to the player’s name on a piece of paper for the round. The next player to the Dealer’s left is now the new Dealer and resets the game using the game set up instructions noted above.

The game ends when the fifth and final round ends. Again, all the players count the number of cards in their hand and add it to the total of all the previous rounds. The player with the least amount of points wins the game!

Game Variant

If a longer game is desired, simply add six or more rounds. A typical round will last about 2 to 3 minutes.

To learn more about Wig Out!, visit the game’s web page.

Prediction

This is a very simple speed matching card game. I can only assume the game’s recommended minimum age of 6-years-old is either based on government guidelines or the company’s internal playtesting and marketing research. Personally, I think Wig Out! could easily be played by a 4-year-old, but not well. I’m going to give it a go with my youngest little geek who is about to turn 4-years-old to test my theory.

For the Child Geeks, I think this is a no brainer. The Character card illustrations are bright and funny and the game play is breezy and easy. The only real level of skill necessary to play the game is keeping a cool head and a sharp eye on the table. I’m not suggesting the Child Geeks will be counting cards (or even should), but knowing what cards are on the table by quickly glancing will assist the Child Geek in knowing what cards they should play from their hand. If the Child Geeks spend too much time looking at the table and then their hand and then back again, they are going to be at a real disadvantage. In hopes of making it a bit easier for them, I’m going to insist that the players lay their cards as close to the center of the game playing area as possible. Keeping the piles of Character cards together will help the Child Geeks quickly scan the table.

The Parent Geeks are going to approve this game simply because it’s a game that will be fun at their family gaming tables. I doubt very much they’ll suggest it’s a game they’ll want to play with their peers, however. Wig Out! simply doesn’t appear to be that deep or interesting of a card game for the adults.

Will the Gamer Geeks like this game? Doubtful. Wig Out! doesn’t appear to be deep or strategic enough to be of real interest to the gaming elitists. The speed element will appeal to them, but if that is all Wig Out! brings to the table, the game will quickly be rejected.

Teaching Wig Out! is best done by showing several examples of the Character cards and then walking the players through the 3 possible options they can take during a single round of play. It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you make sure all the players understand the goal and speed of the game before you start. Again, this is a real-time game, which also means you won’t have time to pause the game and answer questions once it starts.

After teaching the game to all three of my little geeks, I asked them their thoughts on the game so far.

“A very simple matching game. I will crush my brothers!” ~ Liam (age 9)

“I can play this game easily! Bring it, Liam!” ~ Nyhus (age 6)

“I can play by myself, Daddy? Yeah!” ~ Ronan (age 3)

Let’s get this game started and see if it’s the right fit for our groups or it’s a rat’s nest of confusion.

Final Word

The Child Geeks really liked Wig Out!, but not until they finished a round or two. Despite the game being easy to teach, the Child Geeks didn’t really “get the game” until it was being played out in front of them. I find this is typical of most real-time games. You can explain the rules and the game play, but until you are in the heat of the moment, a player won’t really understand the level of focus the game requires. We attempted to play the game with 3 and 4-year-olds, but they weren’t fast enough to keep up. The perfect age does appear to be 6-years-old and older, but to be clear, all that is needed to play the game is a quick mind and a quick hand. The game doesn’t require any reading and what little math is needed can easily by done by an older player is necessary. After playing several games, all the Child Geeks voted to approve Wig Out!, finding it to be an exhilarating and light game full of fun.

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I quickly jumped away to take this photo – I lost as a result. Yep, the game is that fast.

The Parent Geeks also really enjoyed Wig Out! Not surprising, the game was most enjoyed at the family gaming table. Wig Out! can take up to 6 players at a time, which pretty much allows for the average family size to play all at once. What was a surprise was how much fun the Parent Geeks had at a peer level. They kept playing the game long after the Child Geeks had left the gaming table. According to one of the Parent Geeks, “This is a fast and silly game that is deceptively difficult to win!” I wouldn’t say the game is deceptive, as that would suggest the game was purposely misleading. It most certainly is not. The complexity comes in simply keeping cool and being faster than then the rest, which is apparent from the very start. Another Parent Geek stated, “What makes this game good is that it’s playable by just about any age. I can see myself playing this game for years to come.” Of that I have no doubt. Wig Out! is super fast and will leave its players feeling a bit winded. You tend to remember games like that and return to them. When the cards were put away, all the Parent Geeks voted to approve Wig Out!, finding it to be an excellent family game and great deal of causal fun with adults and non-gamers.

The Gamer Geeks, as predicted, said “no thanks” to Wig Out!, preferring to spend their time perusing more meaningful ventures. For example, playing more complicated games or talking about Doctor Who. From the Gamer Geeks’ perspective, Wig Out! is a children’s game and lacks a great deal of interesting game play. Specifically, depth, tactics, strategy, and substance. I would argue that Wig Out! has some of these things, but fully admit it falls well short of what the Gamer Geeks find to be tolerable. They voted to reject Wig Out!, but did acknowledge that the game deliver on its promise of being “wild and hairy”. According to one Gamer Geek, “This is a solid game, but not a Gamer Geek’s game. Great for families and great for non-gamers or casual players, but not for me.”

Wig Out! is simple. The only complex aspect of the game is the speed in which the game is played. But the game’s speed will fluctuate throughout all 5 rounds. “Bursts of play” is how I would describe it. Players will start strong, then get slower as they draw cards, and then burst again. This is especially true when playing with 2 to 3 players. In a 4 or more player game, the speed stays more or less constant due to the large number of cards being played to the table. More cards means more matches.

One aspect of the game play that continued to plague our groups was player paralysis analysis. As the game unfolds, there is more and more piles of cards to quickly scan. The colors start to bleed together and it’s apparent when a player is a bit overwhelmed with the flurry of activity. The game rules clearly state that the player should draw a card the moment they do not see a match, but this was seldom followed. Players attempted to enforce the rules by shouting “DRAW A CARD!” to each other when it was obvious that a player was simply hovering over the table. This seemed to work well.

But was the game fun? You bet! As an adult, the game’s level of appeal was completely based on its ease of play and low barrier of entry that allowed my little geeks to play it. That, in and of itself, will make Wig Out! a game enjoyed by many families. Young Child Geeks and non-gamers can play at the same table without issue. I would suggest that Wig Out! is a great casual game to bring out just about anytime. It engages its audience, is fast to learn, quick to play, and creates a lot of laughter on the way. There will be moments at the gaming table where the Parent Geeks will swear under their breath, the Child Geeks will roar in triumph, and the occasional player will shout “SLOW DOWN!”… but you won’t.

While the game is most likely intended for families and younger players, Wig Out! is easily enjoyed by casual gamers, too. Gamer Geeks will tell you that the game is not for them, which is true from the standpoint of target audience, but all the Gamer Geeks had fun playing it. The only players who didn’t have fun were those who didn’t like games that pushed them or just didn’t go in for real-time games as a general rule. For everyone else, Wig Out! delivered a solid and enjoyable gaming experience. Its simple rules and intense game play was always enough to draw a player in and keep them seated at the gaming table.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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