Wheely Big Questions
Apparently, there was quite a furore on the old social media in the recent past about this most crucial of questions – are there more wheels or doors in the world? I mean, it’s no to dunk or not to dunk, but it did polarise the internet for a while – plus ca change, eh?
Was it a hot topic? For sure. Was blood spilled? Almost certainly. Was it ever answered? (searches on [undesignated internet search engine]) Um… apparently not, but for a while it looked like wheels, until the great door boom of 2021…
You see, everyone loves a good chat over whether there’s more of this and that, especially over Christmas – I believe some people call it an ‘argument’ while others refer to is as a ‘heated discussion’ and Jedi’s refer to it as ‘aggressive negotiations’ – so what better than a game that provides a structure for these traditional tete a tetes that too often descend into fisticuffs?
Scores On The Doors
Wheels vs Doors is in essence a betting game that can be played by up to four players or four teams, if you have lots of contrary friends. On each turn, a card is drawn from one of three decks and each card has six categories of a numerical nature e.g. the number of millimetres between London and New York, the number of registered Twitter users (which may have changed since the time of printing – a ha.
Seriously though, most headings have the proviso ‘in 2019’ because that was when the research was done and… well, who could have foretold the last three years apart from Nostradamus’s angrier, more emo brother) or that sort of thing. On the back of each card are the actual figures; this feature alone gives this game the ‘well I never’ factor before you even play it. Two additional cards are drawn from a set of cards that have one to six on them – these will determine which two categories are pitched against each other.
The teams/players then decide which one to bet on – are there more ducks than horses or vice versa? This is when the discussions/debates/fights occur and eventually a decision is made and the chips are placed – up to three in the first round of play (a round is completed when every team/player has had a turn at being Dealer, which just means ‘you bet first’), four in the second and five from the third round onward. Once bets are placed, the figures are revealed – those who bet on the highest gain the number of Wheel vs Door tokens according to how much they bet, those who bet on the lower number lose a number of Wheel vs Door tokens based on how much they bet.
Wheels vs Doors tokens are the currency of the game – each team/player starts with three drawn at random from the token box and each has the image of either a wheel or door on them. As tokens are won or lost, they are taken at random from the front of the box or placed at the rear of the box – you never know what you’re going to get, and this is crucial because the winner is the first team that can get either ten wheel or door tokens.
Does It Come With Chips?
One of the best things about WVD is the production values. For the most part. Each team/player has their own set of poker-style chips to play with and they do have a real weight to them – makes the betting all the more satisfying, even when you lose. The Dealer counter is also a similarly weighted chip, so the whole passing of the first player token is a nice, tactile experience. They also come in a very dice fabric bag so they won’t clonk around in the box.
The three separate decks are also nicely done – what can happen with games with lost of cards is that they will inevitably get mixed up and you will, also inevitably, come across the same cards over and over again. Keeping the three decks apart from each other means that you can monitor which ones you have used and keep things fresh.
The only (very minor) not so swish component are the Wheel and Door tokens. Because there has to be a lot of them, they are made out of thinner card, mostly so they can fit inside a smaller box. This may lead to these tokens getting creased and ‘marked’, especially when they are returned to the back of the box. This really is quibbling though as the rest of the game is deluxe all the way.
Wheel Meet Again…
Format Games have put out some decent family/party/pub style games, and WVD is no exception. There are literally thousands of numerical factoids for combining (over 4000 according to the box) on 150 cards, so this will keep your family/group/cadre debating over whether there are more of a) than b) for a considerable time, in which much responsible drinking will take place and much silliness will ensue.
This is not a trivia game though, because the sort of things that come up are not the sort of facts that someone knows off the cuff… although, that said, who am I to judge. This means that it’s not a case of knowing the answer – your choices will almost always be based on gut feeling or a mental coin flip, but the fun is in trying to argue your case to the rest of the team, win them over… then get proved completely wrong when the card turns over.
Wheels and Doors may look sinister, with its silhouetted wheel standing in an open doorway like some kind of Pirelli of doom, but this is a game about fun with friends, not about who knows the most or who can make the most outrageous bets. It takes the clink-clink appeal of poker and the sheer ridiculousness of pub arguments (I used to have a long running disagreement with a friend of mine about whether Mr Spoon had spoons for arms – me – or a head – him. He finally relented over him having spoons for arms, but had become a professor of media, so… a bit embarrassing for him really) that don’t end up in brawls. It’s a good time game for good times, and like the titular Wheel, let the good times roll!