Review: Whoonu

Publisher: Cranium, Inc.

Number of Players: 3-6

Playing Time: 15 minutes

Release Year: 2005

Year I got it: 2005

It’s a cross between: Not really able to think of anything.  It’s a card game where you learn about people.  Maybe Hearts and Have You Ever?

Number of Plays to Obtain Proficiency: 2

Replayability: Always replayable with new people, definitely replayable at least 3 or 4 times with the same people.

Social Interaction: There can be a lot, as people talk about what things they like and dislike, and why. It’s a good way for introverts to introduce themselves to each other a little bit.

The Cranium games are almost uniformly good.  This one is one of the shortest, and it makes use of their trademark picture cards, cards with pictures of all kinds of things you might see in the world, from “Shoes” to “Mountains” to “Birthday Parties.”

Each player, except for one who is “it”, gets four cards.  An envelope is passed around, and you are supposed to select, from your cards, which thing the “it” person will like the best.  Finally, “it” looks at all the cards and orders them according to how much they like them.  Everyone gets points according to how well their card was ranked.  Finally, everyone passes their cards to the right and a new person is “it.”

This is a “getting to know you” type of game.  You learn what people like and dislike.  I’ve played it often with my extended family on trips and vacations and it can be very fun.  I’d also recommend it for get-togethers with old friends.  This is not a hardcore gamers’ game, though.  There really isn’t even very much skill to it, who wins is mostly a combination of luck and randomness.

Even though there isn’t much skill involved, there are a few things you can do to try to obtain a higher score:

  • Since cards are passed to the next player at the end of each turn, if you know a card you have is absolutely one of the favorite things of the next person, and the person to your right is winning, go ahead and play that card on this turn instead of giving it to them, depriving them of even more points.
  • If you know one of the people you are playing with really well, and no one else knows each other very well at all, you will have something of an advantage.  In fact, this is almost cheating, so if you want to win, set up the game to be like this.
  • You can play a variation where you try to give the person things that they hate, rather than that they like.  This is probably a slightly easier version of the game, though I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s just easier to get a sense of what people don’t like from their personality, whereas what they do like is sometimes harder to discern.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend this game.  I don’t think I’ve ever played a Cranium game I didn’t like.  But, if you have hardcore gamers coming over, then get them to play something a little more involved since you have the chance.  This game is a little lighter fare.

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