Review – CDSK

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Designer Vincent Burger

Publisher Randolph

Category Trivia

Length 45 minutes

Release Date 2023

Player Count 2-16

CDSK is a trivia game for people who may or may not know a lot of trivia. How confident are you in your knowledge of Christmas movies? How about your knowledge of pies? Motorcycles? Let’s find out.

Review

Most gamers, myself included, tend to roll their eyes at the mention of trivia games. However, while the lion’s share of trivia games are indeed terrible, there are a few diamonds in the rough. CDSK is one of these diamonds.

In this game, 2-4 teams test their knowledge of subjects across 4 categories:

  • C (Curious) – Precise or bizarre subjects
  • D (Delightful) – Popular subjects (movies, music, etc.)
  • S (Seasoned) – Topics generally learned from life experience (i.e. grown-up stuff)
  • K (Knowledge) – Academic knowledge (science, history, geography, etc.)

The game is played in the lid of the box, on a track of spaces. The goal is to reach the end of the track. Player pieces are not included, so players will need to find something—coins, buttons, pawns from another game—to represent them.

The track consists of category spaces and challenge spaces. If a team begins their turn on a category space, another player draws the top card of that category’s deck. Each card lists a particular topic and 10 increasingly difficult questions about it.

The player then asks the team, “On a scale of 1-10, how much do you know about [x topic]?” Whatever the team’s response, the player then reads the corresponding question. If the team answers correctly, they move that many spaces forward. If they guess wrong, nothing happens.

Alternatively, if a team starts their turn on a challenge space, another player draws a challenge card and follows the directions. Challenge cards can be open-ended questions, multiple choice, rapid-fire answers, etc., and the categories vary. The amount the team moves is based on the outcome.

When a team reaches the end of the track, they must answer a final question, this time from the “Hurry Up & Win” deck. If they are correct, they win the game! Otherwise, they will have to try again on the following turn.


CDSK is a rare example of a trivia game that is genuinely fun. Like the uber-popular Wits & Wagers, players need not know a lot of trivia in order to play CDSK. Don’t know much about cigars? That’s fine! Just bid a low number and you’ll get an easy question. Feel super confident in your knowledge of tools? Then go big and try to move far!

I like the subtlety of considering where a team will land if they get a correct answer. If players don’t know much about, say, pop culture, they might want to avoid making a bid that would land them on a D space. This could mean bidding higher or lower than they actually want to.

The questions themselves are nicely varied, and it feels like the difficulty increases appropriately. In general, low-level questions are easy or very easy, mid-level questions require some foundational knowledge, and high-level questions require deep or specialized knowledge. What’s more, with over 2,500 questions in the box, there is quite a lot of trivia to explore.

The game’s production is pretty good overall, though I loathe the lack of player pieces. It couldn’t have cost more than a few cents per unit to include 4 plastic pawns (heck, or even simple cubes!), and leaving them out seems lazy. On a more positive note, CDSK has perhaps the fastest setup I have ever seen in a game—simply open the box and you’re ready to go—and I like how this lets players dive right in.

Bottom line, CDSK is among the best trivia games out there, alongside classics like Timeline and Wits & Wagers. If you can overlook the bizarre omission of player pieces, what remains is a fun party game that both hobbyists and newbies can enjoy, regardless of their trivia knowledge. You will seldom find me recommending a game in this genre, but CDSK is indeed worth checking out.

A review copy was provided by Hachette Boardgames.

The Bottom Line

Trivia games tend to be terrible, but CDSK is an exception. This game provides silly fun for gamers and non-gamers alike, regardless of their depth of trivia knowledge.

 

7

Author: Stephen Hall

A bard pretending to be a cleric. Possibly a Cylon, too. I was there when they dug up the "E.T." cartridges.