Wits and Wagers

TEFLGamer does not condone teachers using gambling in the EFL classroom as an additional revenue stream.

PRACTICE:

  • Numbers, years, percentages, weights and measures
  • speculation
  • hedging (sounding less certain)

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Level (CEFR A2-C1)
  • Ages 12 and older

THE RUNTHROUGH:

For the EFL / ESL classroom, Wits and Wagers is an excellent fit.  At it’s heart, it’s a party trivia game where knowing the right answer isn’t as important as knowing who in the room is most likely to know the answer.  Straight out of the box, there will be giggles galore when you bring this one to class.

This is going to work best with lower level classes after doing numbers, measures or language of present speculation. The students will need to be seated in a circle, with the play-mat accessible and visible to all.  You’ll probably need about 30-45minutes to explain and play this, although obviously you could do fewer rounds in less time.

  1. Start off by putting the students into pairs.  With the fancy-pants deluxe set, you can easily accommodate up to 7 pairs and a higher player count doesn’t affect the pacing of the game at all.
  2. Each pair then receives a dry-wipe pen, a dry-wipe tile and a couple of coloured betting chips.  The teacher takes the role of the game-show host and is responsible for banking, reading questions and generally managing the time and pacing.  Your going to play a number of rounds, each round plays more-or-less the same.
  3. Read a question out.  Then give students a time limit (depending on their level – 30 sec is reasonable) to consult and speculate about the answer in their pairs/teams.
  4. At the end of the time-limit, students must have their answer written on their tile and they place it face-down on the play mat.

    Source: https://boardgamegeek.com/image/253183/wits-wagers (Dominic Crapuchettes)
    Source: https://boardgamegeek.com/image/253183/wits-wagers (Dominic Crapuchettes)
  5. The teacher or a designated player then turns over all the answers and orders them from lowest to highest.
  6. Instruct the students to “place their bets” making it clear that: a) they must place their chip/chips on a space (not the gap between spaces) as the number also represents that number and all the numbers greater than it, right up to the next number (e.g. if the answers are 10, 20, and 30, selecting “20” also means all the numbers 20-29).  There’s a special space for teams wishing to guess lower than the lowest suggested answer.  b) Indicate that the answers at the extreme ends of the range pay better odds. (i.e. they’ll get $600 back for a $100 bet). c) they cannot lose their coloured chips and they can bet on two different spaces if they wish. d) Once they earn some money they can also raise their bets by placing money chips under their team’s coloured chip.
  7. Tell them that there is 30 seconds to speculate and place their bets.  Wherever the chips are (or aren’t!) at the end of that time is where they must stay.  Start the timer and let them bet.
  8. At the end of the time, read them the answer and issue the winnings to the teams who bet correctly.  Take any money chips from wrong bets.
  9. Repeat steps 3-8 for as many rounds as you wish.

BEAR IN MIND:

  • You’re going to have to pull out a handy conversion app for a number of the cards, as imperial measures are used throughout (at least in my copy, anyway).  In may cases it’s just a case of changing pounds to kilos and miles to kilometers, etc.
  • Some of the questions are a little Americocentric (if that’s a word) with oodles of pop culture references.
  • As long as your questions have numeric answers, you can easily add your own questions and use them.
  • You’ll need to enforce a “no phones” rule otherwise your EFL students will be Wikipedia-ing every question.

SUMMARY:

I’ll admit I had fairly low expectations of this game and was pleasantly surprised by how much the students enjoyed it.  It is a very light game, so hardcore gamers might be a bit disappointed if they are used to more complex games.  As an EFL / ESL game though it works really nicely.  There’s lots of discussion, the students find it fun and it very nicely elicits the target language.  Worth having, although in fairness, you could probably borrow the mechanisms, do without all the props and run a low-fi version just fine.  That said, the dry-wipe tablets work nicely and all the components do add value to the experience.

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