Base price: $20.
2 – 8 players.
Play time: ~30 minutes.
BGG | Board Game Atlas
Buy on Amazon (via What’s Eric Playing?)
Logged plays: Unknown — we kind of just kept going, but I counted it as a play. So, 2, I guess?
Full disclosure: A review copy of Oh Really? was provided by Hachette Boardgames.
Sometimes I even play party games! They’re a bit few and far between at the moment, just because I haven’t really been able to get more than four people at a game night in a long time. It’s a work in progress. Maybe by next year. But in the meantime, Hachette sent me a number of games from their various publishers, so let’s see what’s going on with those! First up is Oh Really?, a game I got to try at Gen Con.
In Oh Really?, players try to guess the various secrets of the Player of Honor! Over the course of a round, players will have five topic cards that they need to rank based on what they believe the preferences of the Player of Honor to be. One card must be doubled-down on via a “I know this one!” card. Once everyone’s done that, the Player of Honor must rank the preferences themselves and see how they match up with the guessers! Try your best to learn about your friends and see who wins! How well do you know your friends?
First off, every player gets a set of number cards:
Then, set out the points cards:
Last up, shuffle the topic cards! They’re double-sided, so you should flip some cards over as you’re shuffling for Maximum Entropy™:
Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start! Choose any player to be the Player of Honor:
Oh Really? is a game about learning more about your friends, coworkers, family (not recommended), or whoever you want. This is done by ranking preferences!
Over the course of a round, the Guessers have to try and guess the ranking order of the Player of Honor’s preferences based on the 5 topic cards. The Guessers start by placing all of their number cards face-down in front of topic cards (5 being the least-preferred, and 1 being the most-preferred). Each Guesser should also play their “I know this one!” card on one of their number cards, as well. Once they’ve done so, the Player of Honor plays their number cards face-down, as well.
After the Player of Honor plays their cards, they reveal them, starting with #5 and moving towards #1. If a Guesser’s number matches the Player of Honor’s number, they gain 1 point. “I know this one!” earns 1 bonus point if correctly placed and loses 1 point if incorrectly placed. Should a player get everything right, they get 1 bonus point, as well. The Player of Honor earns points equal to the highest-scoring Guesser for the round. Then, the player to the left of the Player of Honor becomes the next Player of Honor, and the game continues with a new round and new topic cards.
The game’s explicit rules recommend each player be the Player of Honor two or three (or more) times, so just play the game until you feel like you’ve played it enough. The player with the most points wins!
For a more romantic two-player variant, there’s no explicit Guesser. Here, each player is a Player of Honor, and they simply rank their preferences. No need for a “I know this one!” card, either. Once both players have ranked their preferences, reveal them! Every matching answer earns you 1 point, and the game ends after 10 rounds. A perfect score is 50 points!
Player Count Differences
Structurally, Oh Really? doesn’t change much as you change the player count. It’s, from a really boring probability perspective, probably a bit easier to be the Player of Honor and score big (just because with more players, assuming they choose somewhat-randomly, you’re more likely to get players whose distributions match yours). It’s somewhat fixed by there being more players to be the Player of Honor, so you won’t have one player benefitting more than any other. Strictly speaking, the game takes longer with more players, since the only threshold for ending it is just “being the Player of Honor a certain number of times”, so there’s a certain level of “how long do you want to be playing this game” that goes into your player count choice. I’d probably be most likely to play it at three to five players, for instance; that gives us the most leeway in just continuing the game indefinitely without taking too long. But if you’ve got the group for it, I don’t see any big reason not to play at eight.
- I would be surprised if it was ever a good idea to play your “I know this one!” card on anything other than the 1 or the 5. Maybe the 3. I just don’t really get the idea of knowing precisely what someone’s second- or fourth-favorite thing is. I could see there being an argument for something middling and trying to nail that 3, but that seems … unwise. Usually you can guess someone’s least favorite thing, though, so try that.
- There’s no reason to try and be tricky in this game. As the Player of Honor, there’s really no advantage to being anything other than explicitly truthful. You don’t even have a major incentive, since you score the same number of points as the player who scores the most. So just be straightforward and authentically rank your preferences.
- Watch out for times where you’re just projecting your preferences onto what you think your friends or coplayers like. This one is a pretty common issue that some players have during the game (myself included). If I’m not sure what the Player of Honor’s preferences are, I tend to just … rank my own and hope for the best. Just make sure you’re not projecting your preferences onto theirs when you’re otherwise you might get things totally wrong.
- It’s a party game. Know your friends and figure it out. Yeah, beyond that, there’s not a ton of explicit strategy for this game. You just kind of have to do what you can with the limited information you have. You may be able to glean some stuff from other rounds or what they rank when they’re the Player of Honor, so keep an eye out and listen to the conversations around the table.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- The ranking style of the game works really well with groups. I like that it lets everyone have their own opinions and then see how their guesses about the Player of Honor match up with reality! You learn a lot about your co-players very quickly.
- Also, given the topic cards, you’re guaranteed to learn more about other players. You might learn more than you bargained for about certain things, but with a mixed group, it’s a pretty entertaining way to break the ice and learn about other folks’ preferences for food, entertainment, and other things.
- This one’s pretty easy to learn, which is kind of a must for party games. You really just rank cards and hope that your ranking matches up with the Player of Honor, which is pretty easy to pick up. A good party game has to be easy to learn.
- It also plays pretty quickly. Each individual round does, at least. The rounds don’t individually take longer with more players; they just take as long as the slowest player takes to make a decision. Roughly player-agnostic.
- It is very satisfying to perfectly match another player. It feels like you really get someone. Plus, the Player of Honor is supposed to high-five you if you get everything right, which is a bonus.
- Yes, the game was designed by a visual artist, but it’s still worth mentioning that the cards look really good. I like that every player gets cards with their own distinct art style, for one, but each individual set is really nice! A good mix of color and technique.
- I like the “I know this one!” card allowing you to double-down on an assumption. It’s just a fun way to get more points and show which card you really think matches up with the Player of Honor’s preferences.
- I also appreciate leaving a bit of time at the end of each round to drag a player’s preferences. It’s not explicitly mandated in the rules, but if someone’s favorite thing is something super weird, you can take some time after the round to drag them (or at least interrogate them). This happens a lot if someone says they don’t like Toto’s “Africa”, for instance. It’s worth investigating.
- I was immediately confused by the rulebook being on the sides of the game box, but it’s growing on me. I think it’s great from a sustainability perspective, but it’s kind of mediocre from an easy rules reference standpoint, since you have to spin the box around and have it handy. I was wondering why there was no PDF of the rules.
- The scoring system is fine, but, honestly, the party game is fun enough that you’re likely to lose track of scores and not care, anyways. I’m a bit generally negative on scoring in a lot of party games, just because, to some degree, who cares, but the scoring system isn’t too bad here, since it rewards accuracy. The Player of Honor’s scoring doesn’t make a ton of sense beyond “being rewarded for having easily-guessable preferences”, but that’s okay. I don’t think party games are necessarily beholden to their scoring systems, as I said. This one’s fine.
- The racier cards are fine and all, but keep an eye out that there are some racier cards in there that you might want to filter out before you play with, say, your coworkers. The entire deck isn’t Not Safe for Work, but there are plenty of cards that are. Just keep that in mind before you break this out for family game night or a work lunch; may be work doing a preliminary sweep.
- I’m surprised there are no blank cards in a game like this. This definitely seems like a game where you’d want to be able to add your own cards into the mix for players, and a lot of party games tend to include their own blank cards to allow for that level of customization.
Overall: 7.25 / 10
Overall, I enjoyed Oh Really?! There’s something fun about getting to know your friends better, especially over drinks or just hanging out in the evenings, and this is a pretty quick and straightforward way to do that. I will say that I kind of wish Oh Really? hadn’t split the difference on NSFW topic cards; just having a set that is and a set that isn’t would be pretty nice (and make it easier to play this with different groups of players without having to do as intense filtering). If they do go the expansion route, having explicit markings for NSFW cards in the corner or something will make that filtering much easier. I’d love to see some blank cards in any expansion set, as well! Some write-in topics would be a lot of fun. For the game itself, I appreciate that it obeys the classic party game requirements of being quick to learn and easy to play. Plus, the game looks great! You can really tell MC Marquis’s skill as an artist; the various cards are very pleasant to look at. So if you’re looking to get to know your friends better or you’d just like to get a new quick party game, you might enjoy Oh Really?! My group had fun with it.
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