Normally I'm not a fan of party games: those games designed to be played by large numbers of people without any real strategy and such skills as knowing trivia or how to draw. At Scott's birthday celebration last weekend, someone had the party game What's It To Ya? Playing it once, I loved it; after the second game I knew I'd be buying a copy for myself as soon as possible.

The goal of What's It To Ya? is to correctly predict how everyone playing ranks the importance of different things. The format of What's It To Ya? is brilliant in its simplicity. Each turn five item cards (which have different concepts or items, ranging from Air Conditioning to Good Looks to Self-Esteem) are placed, one each, next to five ranking cards A, B, C, D, and E. Each player secretly arranges their A-E cards, from the most important on the left to the least important on the right, to show how they think everyone will rank the items. After everyone makes their selections, everyone reveals (and often explains) their cards one at a time, and the players with the letter matching the most-selected item of importance (or those tied for importance) push their card up. At the end of the round, the player(s) with the most cards up get a point -- or two if they got all five cards that round. And the first person to get seven points wins.

I love just about everything about What's It To Ya? The rules take a mere minute or two to explain, and by using the item cards to keep track of both correct answers for the round and points scored in the game there's no need for anything beyond what's in the box. While the game only works if you know about your fellow players (much like Apples to Apples, this is one that doesn't work well with people you just met), there is some skill between balancing how you rank the importance of the five items with how you think everyone else will. And the results are often very humorous and unexpected. (There was much amusement when someone ranked Marriage second and their spouse ranked it fourth.) And the game goes very quickly: We played two full games in less than an hour!

If you're looking for a party game that's fun, clever, simple, and fast, go to your local game store (or www.newworldgames.com ) and pick up a copy of What's It To Ya? You'll be very, very glad you did.

Overall grade: A-

Reviewed by James Lynch

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