Whoowasit?: A Cooperative Family Game Full of Magic
What’s the key to a successful family game night? The most important thing, of course, is to have fun. Having a good time with the family is the entire point. And when it comes to kids, the most surefire way to guarantee that positive experience is to capture their imagination. If kids are engaged, feeling creative, and using their imaginations - they’re going to be left with a lasting impression. And on our shelf, Whoowasit? is a game guaranteed to spark that magic.
Fantasy is definitely one of my favorite genres, and it makes a great theme for a board game. I think it works remarkably well with cooperative games in particular. There’s just something special about banding together with family and friends - like we’re the Fellowship of the Ring - to save the kingdom from evil forces. I suppose it should come as no surprise that a large amount of cooperative family board games on the market have an evil sorcerer as the main antagonist. The theme just works.
Perhaps the very best part of fantasy games is that they’re perfectly designed to extend into role playing in the backyard. We love capturing that feeling so much we recently gathered together a list of our favorite fantasy games for kids. They capture the imagination in a way that naturally lends itself to the magic and wonder of childhood. Just like reading a good book, playing games like Whoowasit? with the kids nurtures their creativity.
Games also have the added benefit of interactivity. You get the chance to combine storytelling with role playing and decision making. The more engaging the better, because that’s what the kids are going to remember. And that’s absolutely Whoowasit?’s biggest triumph. The engagement factor is absolutely off the charts. And it’s not just the great story or gameplay. Whoowasit? has another trick up its sleeve that makes the whole thing feel like magic.
The evil wizard in Whoowasit? has stolen the king’s magic ring - a magical item that has always kept him away from the castle and its people. He didn’t do it by himself though, he enchanted an innocent person to do his evil work for him. And now the wizard is on his way to the unprotected castle. He’ll be there in exactly six hours. Working together, it’s your job to figure out who stole the ring and where it’s hiding - before it’s too late.
In order to figure out who stole the ring, you have to use your skills of deduction. When you receive a clue about the crime - the robber is tall, the robber is a girl, etc. - you turn over all of the suspects that don’t fit the clue. You rule them out as suspects like you’re playing Guess Who?. The clues come from talking animals around the castle, and, in order to get them to talk you, you have to find their favorite food and bring it to them. As a team, it’s up to you to gather all the clues, identify the robber, find the magic ring, and save the kingdom.
But how do you keep track of all of that? That’s where the magic I was talking about comes in. Whoowasit? has a talking treasure chest that completely runs the show for you - and it’s a different game every single time. The animals actually talk to you, telling you their favorite foods and providing you with clues as a reward. This all simply blows our son’s mind - and mine as well. We played it with a friend recently, and he said his son was talking about it all night afterwards. It’s simply a special experience.
Having the talking treasure chest is like having your own dungeon master running the game. It alerts you of traps, it lets you know when you find food or keys or other secrets, and it even keeps track of the time for you - occasionally reminding you how close the wizard is. This allows the players to entirely immerse themselves in the world. There’s no reading required and no reason to revisit the rules - just do as the magic box says.
The theme and the innovative mechanics are far and away the highlights of Whoowasit?, but there’s even more to it than that. The components are great too. Not only do you have a talking treasure chest and a real ring hidden inside, but you also get one of my favorite ghost game pieces of all time.
The game is also fantastic practice for lots of skills - like memory, deduction, and cooperation. It won the prestigious Kinderspiel des Jahres prize (Children’s Game of the Year) in 2008 for a reason. The game is far more than just the innovation of the talking treasure chest - there is a lot of substance to the flash. And there are even multiple difficulty levels to choose from programmed into the game.
But, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that it simply makes our kids happy. Even our 3-year-old can play with us because we are all working together. It gives me great pleasure to see the kids excited about playing make-believe and rescuing the kingdom. Whoowasit? is the perfect way to bring a little magic to family game night.
You can find Whoowasit? on Amazon here.
Have you played Whoowasit? before? Are there any board games in your house that always really capture your kids’ imaginations? Let us know in the comments!