Quick Look: Dan Ariely’s Irrational Game
Designer: Dan Ariely
Artists: Miki Mottes
Publisher: Irrational Ventures, Inc.
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 2 to 5
Playing Time: 15-45 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
From the Publisher:
A thought-provoking, fun, and engaging game, where players second-guess human nature by predicting decisions people will make in unique situations.
Dan Ariely’s Irrational Game – The Best Trivia Game there is –
Let’s start with a Disclaimer : For the rest of the review I’ll just drop the « Dan
Ariely’s » while talking about the game. And it will be the « Irrational Game ». Why ?
Because I can :-).
The Irrational Game is a Trivia game where the questions raised concerns ourselves
and the way we behave in society. It’s centered around cards that depict a situation
and ask the players to guess the right solution. Every card also comes with little take
aways explaining the right answer and what psychologist’s found while studying
Long Story Long
The game as such
The Irrational Game is a Trivia game that plays with cards and combines trivia
questions and mechanics you’d find in a « Happy Families » or « 7 families » game.
The game is composed of two sets of large cards, one with the 130 questions that
compose the game as such and the other with 20 power cards that could be named
Each question card has a 1 of the 5 psy-themes (Environment, Policy, Emotions,
Social Norms or Self-Control) attached to it. The Winner is the first player to collect 5
correct answers to Questions Cards( One from each Category), or 10 cards from any
One after the other the players will draw a random card and try to guess the answer
correctly after reading the situation. If the players picks the correct answer from the 4
written on the card, the card is his to take and its first step towards victory.
Some cards come with supplementary question allowing the player to do a second
guess on the same subject to obtain a power card, others let the player draw a power
card for free.
The power cards allow the player to do a variety of things, from taking another players
card to skipping a question card, …
I already mentioned the Happy Families game, Well to me Trivia game have only one strategy,
being « answer the question correctly and you win ». Nevertheless let’s talk about the theme.
The theme of a board game is detrimental to be appealing to the gamer. This more true for
a trivia Game and that’s the reason why the Irrational Game is the Best Trivia Game there is in
It’s undeniably more interesting to learn things about the society and the way we perceive the
world than to know when SteamBoat Willy aired for the first time or the birthdate of JFK.
The questions and situations presented in the Irrational Game are not only interesting they
allow/force the players to a deeper reflection than any other trivia game I’ve played while still
being very light society question without moral bias.
In fact when checking the answer, it is not only revealed but also contextualized by a short text,
explaining the discovery of the study thus making it even more interesting.
As a bonus you even get a link towards the source material if that specific question interest you
and you want to learn more.
There are 3 versions of the game, 1 contains a little less cards and one has improved
box art, but the contents of the box its self, the material used and the size of the cards
is the same in all three of the boxes. Picture displayed are of the Box with improved
Let’s open the box !
Inside the Box one will directly have a good surprise and find 2 packs of big cards as well as a
Let me emphasize again, those are BIG cards, and it does matter, in a Trivia game the size of
the card allows to display more text and for the text to read to be bigger and that’s really nice for
Not only are the cards BIG but they are also made of good card stock, which is detrimental when
you have to manipulate big cards, you don’t want them to be torn or folded. And 130 is a fairly
The rule book as such is really simple, easy to understand and quite anecdotical.
Each card comes with text and a small funny illustration. The art style chosen by the designer is
something that helps in grasping psychology and psychologically makes it more accessible.
Good and amusing choice it is !
Advantages – Downsizes
The game offers one major downsize, due to its theme, and even though its a Trivia/party game,
most of the questions will have you questioning society and not laughing out loud as some party-
game enthusiasts might like. It’s more a game for the people who want to remake the world
around a glass of wine than a game for those who want to laugh with a good beer.
The game’s biggest advantage is what one might able to learn from it. I know it’s not the only
manner to learn (strategy allows also to learn anticipation, probability and so on) but straight on
learning with small text and questions is also a really good aspect. People that are not inclined
to reading a big psychology book treating all the questions might still get something out and
liking the learning experience.
Another minor advantage of the game is that the language level is really accessible. Being a
native French speaker, most of my friends barely speak english. I tried improving the english of
my flatmate by reading him one question a day, discussing what he understood and why the
sentences were structured that way and it increased both his fluency and his vocabulary without
seemingly putting effort to it.
Long story Short
The Irrational game is the Best Trivia Game I played and certainly the most interesting one!
Allows to learn more about ourselves and our society. Although it’s the quietest party game I
played too and as for most trivia games, you won’t find the depth expert player are looking for.
Material : 8/10, No regrets, big cards is a go to when there is that amount of text to be
displayed! The simplicity of the Art-style helps demystify psychology.
Fun : 3/10 , I’m not certain its something I’d play a lot to have fun but its relaxing.
Strategy : -/10, Is their any strategy in Happy Families ? I’m not certain this category applies
Theme : 7/10, The choice of the theme is interesting and makes most of the games interesting
as well. Although from time to time it seems to obvious to be a good choice of question.
General : 6/10. As good as a trivia games get, not the game you’ll have the most fun
with but certainly one of the most interesting you’ll play to learn things about
yourselves and the way mankind apprehends society without putting much effort in it.
It’s all about the money money money …
MRSP : Normal Edition 26$ (22€) – Extra Edition 36$ (30€) –
Limited Edition 39$
Found without difficulties used at : 10$ (8,5€)
What I feel its worth : 25€ (30$)
Conclusion: Get it used now! Given the amount of research needed and the attention
put in the game I would get it to play at family reunions, I would get the Normal edition
though, but if you are willing to pay full price i’d consider buying the Limited edition, as
the bow art is much sweeter to the eyes.
Disclaimer: The publisher provided the Limited Edition copy of Irrational Game. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.
Check out Irrational Game and Irrational Ventures Inc. on:
QuelqunQui (literally Someone who in French) is an eclectic who can’t stop doing more than one thing at a time.. Quelqunqui is a harpsichordist and gamer at heart that doesn’t abide by rules he doesn’t believe in. When not playing he’s traveling the world for the Belgian Air force.
See QuelqunQui‘s reviews HERE.
Originally posted at Everything Board Games