Board Game Night: Wavelength

I had a wonderful board game night last weekend. I wanted to write about some of the games I played, and enjoyed. As I’ve only played each of these games one or two times, these won’t be full reviews, more “first thoughts” articles. So these will be short and sweet, and not necessarily in depth.

Wavelength is “a telepathic party game” designed by Alex Hague, Justin Vickers and Wolfgang Warsch. This is the game we played while we waited for everyone else arrive. It was easy for people to jump in on and just pick a team to join a round without disrupting the flow of the game. Wavelength is a social guessing game where each team attempts to “read the mind” of their chosen psychic for a round.

How that works in practice, is you get a beautiful box, with a nifty wheel and dial attached. Your team chooses a psychic for the round, they spin the wheel to place the coloured segment of the wheel somewhere random. They then uncover the wheel to view the position of the coloured segment and draw a card with a spectrum prompt on it. These cards can have things like hot – cold or dictatorship – democracy on them. The psychic then ponders the spectrum prompt they draw and think of a clue to try and get their team to later position the dial (ideally) right over the centre of the coloured segment.

With the card hot – cold, if the segment was way left, the psychic could choose something like lava, way right could be ice, or liquid nitrogen, etc. But the frantic spinning of the wheel rarely puts it wholly to one side or the other. And then it become up to the psychic to try and think of something that is slightly warm, but not hot… like water from the tap inside in the summer? Or your legs if your dog has been sitting on your lap for twenty minutes? You start to see where this can become interesting.

Once the psychic has figured out their clue, they close the cover of the wheel, hiding the coloured segment from the players. The whole box is then turned around, the clue told to the whole table. The psychic is then not allowed to communicate with anyone, in any way, while their team has to discuss amongst themselves where they think the dial should go, and move it to the appropriate position. Once that team is locked in, the opposite team gets a chance for a point, guessing if the centre of the coloured wedge would be to the left or the right of where the other team placed the dial. Basically guessing in what way they’re wrong.

Then the psychic dramatically lifts the shield over the wheel and reveals how close or far off the teams were. The closer to the centre of the coloured wedge, the more points the psychics team gets, and the other team has their chance at the single point. Then you swap to teams and go again. First team to ten points wins the game.

Now this explanation might seem long winded and complicated, but once the table has played a round, it all clicks into place. You’ve got to guess what you think the psychic means, and that’s about the crux of it. Our group liked this game enough, that we played it twice (which is high praise for a board game night where we’ve got dozens of other games lined up to play). There’s a certain satisfaction to getting that dial bang on, after deliberating over it; especially, when the last move you made was just a fractional adjustment and puts you right in the centre, for that perfect four points.

The makeup of the box is beautifully constructed, and spinning the wheel around and lifting the screen both have a fantastic tactile feel to them. You’re definitely paying for that plastic though, so if you’re not sure on the game, you can sign up for their mobile version beta to see if you like it.

I can safely say that Wavelength is a great party game that I will pull out again. I’ll even try to introduce it to the less board game implied rellies over the holidays and see if they like it. It’s easy to learn and should work for all kinds of players. So if you want a nice little ice breaker game that people can jump in and out of; one that’s still fun and satisfying, consider Wavelength.

You can see more about Wavelength here.

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