- Designer: X-Multiverse, Jin C.
- Publisher: X-Multiverse/Taiwan Boardgame Design
- Players: 2-6 (with available expansions)
- Age: 8+
- Time: 20 minutes
- Played with review copy provided by Taiwan Boardgame Design
From the box- “Why You Lying” is a tabletop card game that combines dice bluffing game mechanics (similar to Liar’s Dice) and complex math concepts… It’s a great bluffing game to allow children to learn probability concepts while practicing addition and multiplication during game play”. Whew. That is all true, and I’ll admit – if this is the sort of game that Taiwanese children can handle, color me super impressed!
As the box claims, the game is indeed similar to Liar’s Dice or Perudo, a game that many of our readers are likely familiar with. However, there are plenty of differences as well that will set this one apart. To start, there are no dice in the game. Instead, each player gets their own identical 30 card deck of cards – having 5 each of crickets, spiders, fish, chicken, rabbits, and “mascot workers”. In each round, the deck is shuffled and players draw a hand of 5 cards from the deck.
The starting player makes the first claim. All claims are in the format “X number of Y type animal, with a total of Z appendages”. What? Yeah, it sounds confusing at first, but it really isn’t too bad once you break it down. The claim is a statement made about the contents of all the player’s hands at the table. So, the first part is a number of animals of a particular type – say “4 chickens”. The second part is a separate claim of the number of wings or legs – say “10 legs”. Each card has the number of wings and legs shown at the top of the card.
The next player then has to decide if they want to “catch the bluff” of the previous player – which means that the next player believes the previous claim to be wrong… OR the next player makes a new claim, which must be somehow bigger than the previous one.
To increase the claim, at least one of the three variables must be increased. So if the original claim was “4 chickens with 10 legs” – there are three options to take. First, you could increase the number of the stated animal, so “6 chickens with 10 legs”. You could also change to a bigger animal. The rankings on the animals are seen at the bottom of the card, and as long as you move to the right on that spectrum, it’s a legal call. The order is: crickets < spiders < fish < chicken < rabbits < mascot workers. So “4 rabbits with 10 legs” works too. The final option is to increase the number of the stated appendage. Once the first person makes a claim of either legs or wings, that particular appendage cannot be changed for the round. You must increase your claim by at least 2 as all of the animals in the game have pairs of legs or wings.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, it’s a little bit more complicated. I’ve now mentioned the mascot worker a few times without explanation. Essentially, these are like athletic mascots or those animals you see at amusement parks. Apparently, since they can change costume, they count as a wild card for any animal type. But, to further confuse you, they ALWAYS have 2 legs and no wings… because, after all, there’s a person in there! You’ll just have to keep that all straight in your head when calculating it.
But, wait – there’s one more level of complexity… On any turn, before a player makes a new claim, he can shout out “Why You Lying?”. When this happens, all Mascot animals lose the ability to masquerade as other animals for the rest of the round. (I do kind of wish the game came with a card/tile/marker to flip over so that everyone could remember whether this had been claimed for the round). After saying “Why You Lying?” the active player must make a new claim…
If the active player thinks that the current claim is false, he can instead “catch the bluff” of the last player – if he calls the bluff, all players reveal their hands and the animals and appendages are counted up. If any of the portions of the claim are wrong (the number of the specific type of animal as well as the number of appendages) – the claim is wrong. The player who called the bluff then takes one of the claimant’s cards as a score card. If the claim was right, the person who made the last correct bid is the winner, and he takes a card from the opponent to score.
Everyone shuffles their deck back together – of course without any cards claimed as score cards – and the next hand is dealt out. The game continues until one player has 5 cards, and that player is the winner.
My thoughts on the game
I have always liked Liar’s Dice, and given the ubiquity of that game for me, it’s hard not to compare the two games. This has a much higher level of bluffing and less of a sense of calculation. The main reason for this is that you get very limited information about the cards in play. Heck, other than seeing the cards which have been collected from players as score cards, you essentially get no other info.
In Liar’s Dice, dice can be revealed and frozen in place. As this happens, you can slowly focus in on the dice which are remaining, and you are able to make some informed guesses as to what the remaining dice might be. In this game, you pretty much always see the back of the five cards in each other player’s hand, and other than trying to infer information from their claims, there’s not a lot else you can do to improve the information situation.
The one big wrench that can be thrown in the mix is the “Why you Lying” claim – because this can definitely change how claims are adjudicated because there are no more wild Mascot Animals in play. I’ll be honest, I haven’t figured out yet how best to use this play – as it’s often not clear to me when my opponents are relying upon the wild mascots or not. But I do know that I’ve been busted a few times on a claim when the mascots no longer counted as Spiders or whatever…
The art is nice, and each of the different cards in a species has unique art – I really liked that. The card quality is normal, they have a slick coating to them, but the cards have held up well to the play so far. In any event, you don’t shuffle them much, and you don’t play them – so they don’t need to be super durable.
If you like the bluffing in Liar’s Dice, but you want something a bit more complex, then Why You Waiting on picking up Why you Lying!?
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor