Updated: Dec 21, 2019
Some games click and some don’t. Often it’s the components that make a game work for you. A game with attractive eye-catching components is always likely to score over one with lacklustre visual appeal.
Knit Wit (Z-Man Games) is a game that also comes with a pedigree. It was designed by Matt Leacock, best known for the highly successful game Pandemic. It has quite a clever punning title, and it followed hot on the heels of Uwe Rosenberg’s very successful game Patchwork (Mayfair Games), with which it shared thematic ties. What stands out most about Knit Wit, though, is its stunning components.
Even the box is beautifully designed. It slides from a sleeve to reveal a hinged lid with a magnetic clasp. Inside, besides the black paper pad and white chalk-like pencils, you find eight numbered wooden spools, eight brightly coloured string loops and eight matching coloured clothes pegs. There is a packet of luggage tags, each with a word printed on it, and there are four big buttons (bonuses for being the fastest players). To complete this knockout package, the rules slide neatly out of a special compartment in the box lid.
This is a lovingly produced package: more a work of art than a bundle of game components. When you pull this game down from the shelf, jaws drop.
So what’s the game? It’s actually a game about words and links. The pegs are attached to the loops of string. Word tags attach to the pegs. Spools and loops are placed so that there will usually be at least two characteristics corresponding to each numbered spool. Players then each write down words that meet the characteristics. In the Board's Eye View picture, for example, spool 4 is looped by the yellow and the black strings, with the characteristics attached ‘bitter’ and ‘nutricious’. In this example, ‘lemon’ would be a reasonable answer. However, only unique answers score, and players might consider that ‘lemon’ may be too obvious an answer. They may be concerned that another player might come up with the same word; so perhaps ‘pomegranate’ might be a better choice…
I like word games, and Vlaada Chvatil’s Codenames (Czech Games Editions) remains one of my 'go to' gateway games to break out for play with people coming new to board games. Like Codenames, Knit Wit is about finding connections. And Knit Wit looks so good… And yet…
And yet, much as I love the design and production quality of KnitWit, I find it hard to love this game. People are eager to play it because it looks so good but I have found that few enjoy the gameplay enough to want to play the game more than once. By contrast, every time I’ve played Codenames, I’ve found people are always clamouring for another play.
Perhaps you’ll enjoy this game. You’ll certainly admire the quality of production. Knit Wit is a game I’m pleased to have in my collection, but, for me, this game remains less than the sum of its parts.
(Review by Selwyn Ward)