Roll The Dice Contestants identify popular board games based on 1-star Amazon reviews.

Roll The Dice

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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: From NPR and WNYC, live from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thank you, Jonathan. We have a great show. Ten lucky contestants are here to play our nerdy games. But only one will be our ASK ME ANOTHER grand prize winner with a prize provided by our VIP guests who are the stars in the latest chapter of the "Evil Dead" franchise, the new television series "Ash Vs. Evil Dead."

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Now, if I had to choose between being a zombie or an "Evil Dead" deadite, I'm going with deadite, right? They're clever, they're cunning, deceptive, they're not like dumb zombies. And to become a deadite, the sure way is, of course, to date Ash Williams. Any woman who hooks up with Ash ends up being possessed by evil. True, he would have to kill you afterwards. But hey, we all have that one who got away.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Our VIP's are Bruce Campbell and Lucy Lawless.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Our first game is titled Roll The Dice. And here to play it are Sarah Vela and Jacob Kramer.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Jacob, have you ever reviewed anything on Yelp or Amazon or any of those sites?

JACOB KRAMER: I think this shawarma place I used to go to in Union Square. They said they would give me free shawarma if I reviewed them and that was a good reason to review them on Yelp.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Favorably.

KRAMER: Favorably.

EISENBERG: And did they give you free shawarma?

KRAMER: I think it was extra falafel balls in my shawarma or something.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Wow.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I think I know what you mean.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: How about you, Sarah, have you ever reviewed anything online?

SARAH VELA: I'm not really a reviewer and I kind of think Yelp is terrible, but...

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I - you know, what? I hear all these people clapping and your point of view, but I know you people. You are like me. You just write the reviews in your head all day long.

VELA: That's fair.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Well, as you know, there are thousands of board games that are released every year. How do you know which ones are fun to play? You read the Amazon reviews on them, especially the less favorable ones so you can figure it out. So in this round, we are actually going to read actual reviews of popular board games and all you have to do is tell us what game we are talking about. Let's go to our house musician Jonathan Colton for an example.

COULTON: Here's a review. I don't like the fact that this game came with one K and one J and no Zs. That was a review of the board game Scrabble. Although techniqually it's more a review of the specific box that they received...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You know, what happened?

COULTON: ...Absent a few letters.

EISENBERG: So that's an actual review. You see people have major problems(laughter). So ring in when you know the game and the winner will move on to our final round at the end of the show. Here we go. When I bought this game, I didn't realize I'd be teaching my children how to get away with murder.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: By implication, the rules of the game teach young minds how to plan and carry out a crime and then evade detection.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jacob.

KRAMER: Clue.

EISENBERG: Yes, you are right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I have played Clue. This seem like an amazing version of it...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Because I don't remember teaching people how to carry out murders.

COULTON: No, or how to evade detection...

EISENBERG: Or how to evade - yeah.

COULTON: ...Unless they mean, like, you put the weapon in an envelope and leave it in the middle of the table.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah, woo. I like that they make it sound like, and after that, candlestick murders went up.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: There is nothing worse than a game in which the winner's often obvious in the first 10 minutes but lasts another hour and 50 minutes. If your opponent lands on premium spaces on his first two trips around the painfully monotonous board and you do not - well, you are screwed.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Sarah.

VELA: Monopoly.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: It takes a good 15 minutes minimum to erect a stack of sticks and then after two, maybe three, moves it topples over. Then my wife laughs at me and walks off to go read a book or something.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jacob.

KRAMER: Jenga.

EISENBERG: Jenga is correct.

(APPLUASE)

COULTON: It says a lot more about the reviewer than it does about the game.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: No, no, no. Yeah, this is not a Jenga problem.

COULTON: No, I agree.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: My 11-year-old, who is an artist and supersmart, couldn't play this. The things they had us draw were so old or so unbelievably hard that we had to give up - big disappointment.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Sarah.

VELA: Pictionary.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: The purpose of the game is global domination, a playful concept that in the real world has been promoted by bloody warfare and atrocities as far back as recorded history goes. For school age children, this game interferes with the cognitive process in confusing and politically corrosive ways.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jacob.

KRAMER: Risk.

EISENBERG: That is correct, yeah.

COULTON: Obviously.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right, this is your last clue. Terrible game - no one can play it, not even my husband and he is a surgeon.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Sarah.

VELA: Operation.

EISENBERG: Operation is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Not every surgeon finished at the top of their class. Let's go to our puzzle guru, John Chaneski. John, how did our contestants do?

JOHN CHANESKI: We have a tie.

EISENBERG: All right.

(APPLAUSE)

CHANESKI: Jacob and Sarah, here's your tiebreaker question. If you enjoy games of blind luck then this game is right up your alley. You call out a number and a letter based on a grid you have in front of you. As board game, it's pretty boring.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHANESKI: Jacob.

KRAMER: Bingo.

CHANESKI: No, not Bingo. Sarah, take a guess.

VELA: Oh, is it Battleship?

CHANESKI: It is Battleship. Thank you, Sarah.

(APPLAUSE)

CHANESKI: Sarah, you win this game. We will see you at our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show. Congratulations.

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