Updated: Jun 18
Earlier this year, there was a meme doing the rounds on Facebook that illustrated the limitations and pitfalls of board games that are built around trivia questions. A Trivial Pursuit (Hasbro) question listed a number of actors and asked which one had never played Batman. At the time that edition of the game was published (2008), the correct answer was Ben Affleck, who at that time had appeared as Daredevil but not played the Caped Crusader. Of course, since then Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman in two movies...
It's a fact of life that trivia questions are bound to get out of date. And that's where Ravensburger's kNOW! comes into its own. Ravensburger have taken the basic game of racing around a board answering trivia questions and given it a new spin by tying the game in with a Google app. Sure, there are cards included that give the accepted answers to questions but those are really just there to tide you over in the event of a power failure or if the internet succumbs to electromagnetic pulse. This game is really designed to be played alongside a Google device that is used to supply the answers. The beauty of this isn't just the avoidance of awkward answers like the Batman one; it means that answers can be accurate precisely in relation to the timing of your game. Estimating questions can be included like 'how many days is it to Christmas?' because Google's answer will be accurate on whatever day you play the game. You can ask, for example, the middle name of the US President in the knowledge you won't have to check the publication date of the game before you answer.
Unlike the majority of other trivia games, kNOW! comprises a series of mini games - so there's a surprising amount of variety every time you play. Players aren't just asked for factual answers to questions; the game shakes things up so you might, for example, be asked to pose Google a question where the word on the card is given in the answer. If the word on the card is, for example, Rome, you might obviously ask Google 'Where is St Peter's Basilica?' or, more prosaically, 'What is the capital of Italy?' Using Google to provide the answers also allows for questions where players are competing to come up with the answer that has the most search hits.
The rules encourage players to use a pen and paper to write down their answers before they put them to Google. This avoids the common problem with estimation questions where players just piggyback on another player's answer. It also allows for questions with multiple answers (for some questions, players may be asked to write down three answers). For questions where there is a race to be the first to answer, kNOW! incorporates a big red battery-powered buzzer button that fits snugly in the centre of the playing board.
kNOW! succeeds in bringing trivia games into the 21st century. It makes for a lively 3–6 player party game, at its best when played using a Google Home device but playable too with Google Assistant, which is built into Android phones and which can be added as an app on Apple iPhones. We'd have liked to have seen this playable with Amazon's Alexa as well as Google but even if your home is fully given over to Alexa devices, you'll have little difficulty getting access to a Google Assistant to invigilate your play.