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[Review] Truth? or Fib?

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tomvasel
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Joined: 03/23/2011

When I first laid eyes on Truth or Fib? (Morning Star Games, 2003 - Allen Wolf), I immediately thought that it must be a copy of Fib-or-Not. Fib-or-Not, which I reviewed about a year ago, was not an immediate favorite of mine. In my review, I stated, “Fib or Not? is a very easy going game and is a fun activity, but it’s not a game. I only recommend getting it if you are looking for a fun party activity and already have most other party games.” This, of course, is not a sterling recommendation; and since Truth or Fib? looked as if it was tremendously similar, I didn’t have high expectations. I mentioned the similarities to the designer, whom I met at Origins; and he immediately handed me a sheet of differences between the games (apparently he gets asked this a lot).
Still, one should never judge a game by its title, so I eagerly gave it a try (I’m a sucker for new games.)

And, indeed, on the surface, the game was like Fib-or-Not. But the superfluous board was gone, and a clean, simple chip bidding system was added. In short, a game was added to the activity. This is not to mention that the whole thing was packaged in a unique, attractive way. All of these factors have moved Truth or Fib? to a respectable party game status - an enjoyable romp for those who like to tell yarns and probably the best type game of that genre, better even than Malarkey!

A pile of tokens is placed on the table near the player designated as the banker - both blue chips (worth one point), and red chips (worth three points). Each player takes seven points worth of chips, which have a “T” printed on one side and an “F” on the other. A box of cards is placed in the middle of the table, and one player is chosen as the first “Asker.” The player to the Asker’s right becomes the first “Storyteller” and takes a small metal shaker containing a die. The game is then ready to begin.

The Asker draws a card from the box. If the card is a “Wild” card, it has instructions near the bottom that must be followed immediately (i.e. “Players wearing white socks give 3 points to the bank.”) The Asker then decides which of the two questions on the card they will ask the Storyteller. Examples of questions are “Tell me about a contest you lost”, or “Tell me about a time when you began to look at everything differently.” The Storyteller than secretly rolls the die in the shaker and examines it. If it says “T”, they must tell a true story that answers the question; and if it says “F”, they must fabricate a story. A roll of a star allows the player to choose whether or not they lie. After the story is done (it can be regulated by a timer if the players so wish), all the players bet a number of chip points (up to three) secretly on the table, placing them face up on the side they think the Storyteller is telling. The Storyteller then tells everyone whether he fibbed or not, and all players reveal their chips. Those who guessed correctly double their wagers, and all others lose their chips to the Bank. The Storyteller also gets one point for each player who guessed incorrectly (up to three maximum). The Storyteller becomes the Asker for the next round, and the player to their right becomes the new Storyteller. Play proceeds thusly until one player has scored twenty-one points, at which point they are declared the winner!

Some comments on the game...

1.) Components: One cannot deny that Morning Star Games have uniquely packaged Truth or Fib? The game is packaged in a small metal lunchbox, decorated in a nice way with all the components fitting snugly inside. There’s even a “packing guide” pasted on the inside of the box. A nice felt bag is included to hold all the chips, which are basically tiddly winks with raised edges. The “F” letters are black, and the “T” letters are white, making them quite easy to distinguish. The cards are of good quality and slide smoothly in and out of the firm cardboard card box. The shaker is made of the same type metal as the lunchbox, and it’s nice that they included a timer, even though it’s optional by the rules. The lunchbox is easy to store and carry around, and I’m impressed that a new company has produced a game with A+ quality components.

2.) Rules: The rulebook is only four, small pages, but that’s really all that’s needed; as the rules are fairly simple. As almost all party games, the game can be taught and learned in only a few moments. The rulebook has a few variations that can be tried, like passing questions, repeating questions, etc.; but they are minor and easily applied.

3.) Replayability: Many party games have a problem because they are only good for a few plays. Truth or Fib? avoids this by having three hundred questions, many of which can be answered in various ways. I think the game could produce dozens of unique play each year, which is certainly good for a game of this genre.

4.) Comparisons: It’s kind of funny that the makers have a spreadsheet of reasons that their game is better than others in the same category, but it’s all true. There are certainly more questions, and the game is in an extremely high class when it comes to quality. The questions are well thought out, and the game plays extremely smoothly. I was initially surprised that I haven’t heard more about the game, but only could assume that it was because it was so similar to other games.

5.) Fibbing: Some people have a hard time telling a tall tale, but it doesn’t really matter in this game. These people pause so much, or have a red face so much, that people think they’re lying ALL the time. The only time problems can occur is when two siblings or a couple play, and they know each other well. It’s very hard to tell a story that your spouse will believe, especially when they know you well. One has to be a very talented storyteller at this point.

6.) Fun Factor: But that’s where all the fun comes in - from telling outrageous stories to each other. There are a lot of astonished outcries when the truth (or lie) is revealed. I’ve heard some pretty deep secrets revealed in this game all in the name of winning the game! It’s fun to guess the stories told by others and deciding how many chips to wager on each tale adds some spice to the game. It’s surprising how well (or how little) you know your friends. And for those who don’t have friends, it’s a great way to make them.

While not in my top tier of party games (that’s reserved for a select few games), Truth or Fib? is still a superb contender in this class. It has top-notch components and a fun party idea enhanced by a little gambling that is still an enjoyable experience. Fortunately, the experiences, while dominating the mechanics, don’t totally eclipse them, making the game more palatable to gamers but still enjoyable to those who just want to have a good time. If you’re looking for a party game that allows you to deceive your friends (all in good fun) and tell tall tales (or strange truth), then this is the best you can find.

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games.”

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