Monday, November 24, 2014

Game Show Board Games: Family Feud

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it seems appropriate to pull out a game that has been something of a family tradition for quite some time. In fact, this is arguably the start of my game show board game collection right here.

I've mentioned before about how my grandma was a five-time undefeated champion on a game show called Split Second back in the 1970s. The fact is, that whole side of my family enjoys games, and with quite a few Aunts and Uncles (to say nothing of cousins!), there are usually plenty of willing players to be found. Anyway, some time ago (I no longer remember exactly when) Grandma found a board game version of Family Feud at a yard sale and thought of me. She had it ready for one of my then-annual trips up to Placerville for Thanksgiving, and we played several games over the weekend before I brought the game home. Since then, most times when I head up north, I try to bring a game along. While Family Feud is by no means the only game I'll bring, it remains a favorite, perhaps demonstrated by the multiple versions of the board game I now have in my possession (most of which were also provided by my grandma, although I note that all of them, including that electronic version I only use these days as a buzzer, predate the current 15 years-and-running version of the show).

For those unfamiliar with the game (and if that's you, thank you for bearing with me on a post that you must have no interest in whatsoever, since anyone who follows game shows probably knows Family Feud pretty well!), the object is to guess the most popular answers to survey questions posed to 100 people. For example, in the example in this picture (go ahead and click for a larger version... and zoom in if you need to), the question was "Name something that a dog wears." Points are scored according to how many of the 100 people surveyed gave a particular answer (with the highest-ranked answers showing up at the upper-left of the survey, and working downward through the four answers — in this instance — that got more than a single response).

Allowing for the lack of electronic precision provided by the buzzers and timers of the actual show (although these may, of course, be provided by other means with the proper resources... like that otherwise terrible electronic version of the game from 1998), the board games duplicate the play of the show almost perfectly, and Family Feud is arguably my favorite board game to "host" at a party. My only real difficulty these days is a side effect of the fact that these editions all came out 20 years or more ago. Imagine asking someone today to "Name a famous person named 'Bill'," when all of the answers on the survey were originally given in the 1980s! Bill Clinton's not going to be there, even though it might well have been a contender for the number one slot today.

Rather than disadvantage my cousins (some of whom weren't even born yet when these editions came out!), I usually end up throwing such questions out. It's a regrettable limitation, but an unavoidable one. This is still one of my favorite games to play with family and friends.

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