[AD] kNOW game review

Trivia and general knowledge games are a dime a dozen. But what makes kNOW different is that its answers are always up to date because it uses Google as a real-time reference.

I received a copy of this game for review purposes and was not paid or incentivised in any other way. All opinions are my own.

There’s nothing more annoying than playing a knowledge-based game where some of the answers are out of date, is there? kNOW avoids this trap by using Google to provide answers.

Getting started

The game itself is easy enough to set up and play. Four sturdy cardboard pieces slot together to form a large circular board. And a buzzer in the middle is used for certain speed-dependent questions.

Between two and six players aged ten or older can play. And it’s up to you how long you want the game to be. You might aim to complete one whole circuit of the board, or maybe just two or three quadrants. Or you might want to set a fixed time limit.

The only other thing you need is the (free) Google Assistant app. This can be downloaded from either Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. (And if you don’t have wifi or a mobile signal, it’s possible to play an offline version too – although the online version has greater variety, and you need at least three players if you’re offline.)

Game-play

Questions are divided into one of four categories – Fun, Knowledge, Intuition, and Creativity – covering ten different types.

For instance, with an ‘Up 2 Three’ question, players must guess which three answers will be provided either by Google Assistant (for the online version) or printed on the question card (offline version). Usually these have multiple possible answers, such as ‘Name actors who have played the Doctor in Doctor Who‘. So players must combine knowledge and judgement to guess which three responses will be given.

Or for a ‘Guesswork’ question, players must answer a question with a numerical answer. The player who guesses nearest to the correct answer gets to advance. Sometimes the question has a fixed answer – for instance, ‘How long is the Great Wall of China?’ The answers to others change over time or may even vary from hour to hour. For instance, ‘What is the current wind speed on Mount Everest?’ Or ‘How long will it take to drive from here to Buckingham Palace?’

There’s a good range of questions included. Some are serious, while others are a bit more fun. Some require actual knowledge of facts and trivia, like a traditional quiz, while others require more of an educated guess or even a spot of luck.

The variety and different types of question makes for entertaining game-play. This isn’t a game of repeated question-and-answer in the style of Trivial Pursuit. There are 220 question cards in all, all of which contain multiple questions, so you won’t find yourself repeating lots of questions after a couple of plays. And there’s just enough randomness to ensure that games aren’t necessarily won by the best quizzer in the room.

A few flaws

kNOW does have its flaws, though.

While having ten different categories adds variety to game-play, the downside is that different question types lead to different outcomes. Getting an answer right results in moving forwards either one, two or three spaces depending on the type of question. This can be confusing and may leave players constantly referring back to the rules booklet, at least at first.

If you’re playing the online version, Google Assistant can be temperamental and clunky if you’re not precise with your wording or pronunciation. Once the novelty of talking to Google wears off, it sometimes feels like you have to wait for a long time to ask and answer each question.

And while kNOW can certainly be played by ten-year-olds, as with any similar knowledge-based game, younger players will inevitably find themselves at a disadvantage. We found many questions were hard enough that even a knowledgeable child will be at a disadvantage against most adults. And there aren’t quite enough child-focussed questions to redress the balance. This isn’t unusual for this type of game – but it can be frustrating if your kids are as competitive as ours.

Overall? A fun family game

Despite its imperfections, we liked kNOW a lot. The interactivity of using Google Assistant is fun – as long as you’re willing to show a little patience. There’s a good mix of questions, many of whose answers change over time, which adds a novel element that helps keep the game fresh and up-to-date.

Isaac (twelve) and Toby (ten) both enjoyed the game, although we did have to be a little judicious in choosing questions that they could answer.

The game is also competitively priced. Its RRP is a reasonable £29.99, although at the time of writing it was available on Amazon for £18, putting it right in the middle of the £15-£20 bracket occupied by classic family games such as Articulate or Pictionary.

If you find Trivial Pursuit too long and rigid, and are looking for a knowledge-based game with a difference, then kNOW is well worth your consideration. We’ll certainly be playing it again.

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