Shot in the Dark bills itself as the ultimate unorthodox quiz game. Now, I have always enjoyed a pub quiz, so I was keen to try these games out.
Of course, my memories are slightly different to those attending pub quizzes today. The majority of pub quizzes I participated in, involved sitting at slightly sticky tables in pubs that wouldn’t have dreamed of serving hot food. You were considered brave just to use the toilet for risk of tropical diseases!
A thin veil of smoke would permanently linger in the air. Every table would have an overflowing ashtray, beside the empty wrappers of nuts, crisps and pork scratchings. Nestled amongst which, would be pint glasses and a vodka and orange for my lady friend. I realise this makes me sound incredibly old – and to some, I am, so hopefully I can get away with it! Those were the days, makes me ahhhh like Bisto!
Now, for me, pub quizzes have a couple of major flaws. The first is my team rarely wins! This isn’t because I am a dunderhead. It’s because there is always that one team in every pub that wins week in, week out, and live solely to quiz. Secondly, the quiz always has a bias that pandas to the quizmaster. Who is regularly using a terrible microphone and has a voice that only their mother could love. Quite often they have the charisma of a brick, which really doesn’t help. All that said, I still like a good pub quiz, I just wish there was a way of levelling the playing field. Shot in the Dark reckons it can change all that… let’s find out…
Each of the different Shot in the Dark games plays the same. The setup is fairly fluid and can be tailored to those playing. You could play in teams or individuals, you can have a single quiz master, or players can take it in turns. You also need to pre-decide a score limit, first to five is a good start, but this can be adapted depending how long you want to play.
From this point the question master reads a card and players/teams take it in turn to guess the answer. Mixing up the order of guessing is imperative as guessing last can be an advantage. A point is awarded for a correct answer. If no one guesses correctly, the closest player or team is awarded a point. On some occasions, answers will be too far out to win a point. The example for this being if the answer is Denmark and everyone guesses countries in Africa. In this situation, no one gets a point.
What it’s like
This is no ordinary quiz. The questions vary from the sublime to the ridiculous. Hopefully you will be able to make an educated guess. The rest of the time you will be flailing around hoping your answer isn’t too laughable.
Now I playtest all the games I review rigorously, but this is 2020 – the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. I know this will go down a storm with a handful of non-gamers after dinner or down the pub. The pub will be cleaner and smell nicer than those of my youth. It will also be less likely that you will need to peel the cards from the table at the end of the night. But I haven’t tested this in that environment for obvious reasons. I am assuming we will be allowed to mix with friends again in the future!
So why am I reviewing it now, when it isn’t play tested in the environment where I think it will thrive? Well because this is 2020 and Shot in the Dark is also brilliant to play over video call with as many players as you can fit on your screen!
I have played each version on my Instagram lives and they have always been incredibly popular with the IG board game community. I’m not going to lie, the power of being question master is also a great feeling!
The questions are clever, as most people won’t necessarily know the answer. The boxes say for 12+ but anyone over 9 will be able to hazard a guess for the majority of the cards. To be honest, their guess could often be as good as a clever clogs’!
Form very much follows function here. There is no superfluous decoration, this is all about the quiz and the design screams ‘I’m not a toy, take me seriously!’ It won’t however be the most beautiful game on your Kallax.
If ever there was a deluxe bigger box edition, I would like to see a score-pad and pencil incorporated. In this small box game however, I can appreciate why it isn’t included.
The cards each have five questions on, with answers on the reverse. In each pack there is a vast array of bizarre questions. The cards may ask for a percentage, like ‘What percentage of married couples is the wife taller than the husband?’. For other questions you may need to guess a year, a measurement, a number. Occasionally you will breathe a sigh of relief when you get a multiple choice, or better, a true or false question, for example ‘true or false, per kilogram, humans emit more heat than the sun?’.
The Christmas version has fewer questions than the 400 different ones that each of the first two volumes boast. However, there is still plenty to see you through Christmas Day, Boxing Day AND well into the New Year and they are all festive themed! So you will be able to answer questions like ‘By 2020, how tall was the tallest ever snowman or snowwoman, in feet?’
Final thoughts on Shot in the Dark
Each of the three boxes would fit in the pocket of anything bar the skinniest of fitting jeans, in this case you might need to revert to a coat pocket or handbag. This does make them ideal to take out to the pub or round a friend’s house.
With the ability to work over video call, Shot in the Dark really is a fun way to spend some time with friends and loved ones from afar. I reckon the Christmas version would make a brilliant Secret Santa that would last longer than most gifts at this price point! The other two would also be brilliant as that ‘little extra surprise’ present.
Shot in the Dark really does deliver a trivia quiz where everyone has an equal chance of winning regardless of knowledge or intellect. Cripes I’ve even read the same card twice and still not remembered the answer as the questions really are that obscure! It really has been devised very well.
Number of players: 2 plus
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 9+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 12+
Playing Time: variable
Setting Up and Take Down Time: under 1 minute
Designers: Grant Sanderson & Jordanna Sanderson
Publisher: Shot in the Dark
If you have been put off trivia games in the past because there is no way you would beat so-and-so. Shot in the Dark could well be for you. It delivers a quiz that everyone can play competitively, even against the most hardy of trivia gurus.
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Plenty of questions in each box
- Brilliant as a knowledge leveller
- Fun to pick up and play with non-gamers
- Works over video call
- Little chance of showing off how clever you are
- No scorepad and pencil included
Buy Shot in the Dark
If you want to buy Shot in the Dark after reading our review click on one of our affiliate linked images below (note there has been no affiliate links until this point)
For clarity. We don’t get paid for our reviews. We were however given these games by Shot in the Dark, this has not affected our review in any way.
We may however earn a tincy wincy commission if you buy a game having clicked one of our affiliate links like the one above… this hopefully gives us a bit of pocket money towards hosting costs and new games to review!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Board Game Review is a participant in the Zatu Games Associates Program and the 365games Associates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to their websites.