Generally speaking, I’ve never played a lot of trivia board games like Trivial Pursuit or the like. However, at Gen Con I was able to play many rounds of CDSK, an incredibly popular board game from France published by Randolph!
Designed by Joël Gagnon, the premise of the CDSK board game is simple: answer a trivia question correctly among your group and move ahead until you reach the end of the board. Seems simple right? There has to be more!
Let me tell you all about how CDSK has completely changed my opinion of trivia and question-based board games!
I got my first glance at CDSK courtesy of the Hachette Boardgames Press Event, where our game started as a one v one affair and ending in a table full of people. The CDSK board game is perfect when you’re waiting for more friends to arrive or guests are just trickling in, because adding people to the game is seamless and easy.
There are four categories of questions that you will be presented with, each one starting with one of the letters of CDSK:
- Curious – Precise or bizzare subjects
- Delightful – Movies, music, sports
- Seasoned – Grown-up stuff, school of life
- Knowledge – Science, nature, history, geography
Whatever space you’re on when your turn is up determines the question that you’re going to get. All of the base category questions are phrased in a way like, “How well do you know X?” It’s your job to determine how well you actually know that category, on a scale of 1-10.
The number you choose determines how many spaces forwards that you will move if you’re correct. If you’re wrong, you’ll stay on that same space for the next turn.
Difficulty 1 is literally a joke and a gimme answer; you’ll have no problem getting all of those correct. The difficulty 10 questions, however, are an entirely different ball game, and are very difficult. I won’t say impossible, because I’ve witnessed someone getting one correct, but they will not be a walk in the park.
There are also challenge spaces, which typically are timed and you get points per number of correct answers given. And once you make it to the end of the board, you have to correctly answer one more question from a special stack of Final Question cards in order to win.
Staking Our C.L.A.I.M. on CDSK!
CDSK is a trivia game and therefore the primary components are just cards. However, there are a few other things worth nothing about the game.
First, the tray for the cards is slanted, making it very easy to just pull a card from the pile and place used cards back on top. There’s also plenty of space for more cards in case expansion content comes calling (which I dearly hope it does).
Secondly, the game board is just the underside of the box’s lid, which folds out to lie nicely alongside the box. This is a really clever design choice that makes setup instantaneous.
The only other thing I want to note is that CDSK doesn’t come with any player markers; part of its charm is that you/your team need to find a token to mark your spot on the board. I’ve used coffee creamer cups, tokens from other games, and even a spare bit of napkin. Whatever is on hand!
You might think that a trivia game like CDSK has no strategy, but you’d be mistaken. Since you are the one choosing how many points you’re “wagering” – which I say loosely because you don’t lose anything if you’re incorrect – you can set yourself up for more favorable turns. Maybe you’ll only take a level 3 question because it’ll land you on the Challenge space, or maybe you’ll go slightly higher to avoid a category your team is weak at.
Challenge spaces are really sought after because you can gain a BUNCH of points that way. At the same time, they could also stump you, leaving you in the dust with only a point or two. They’re a great gamble, especially since the question content can come from anywhere.
There’s really not much to say about CDSK‘s aesthetics. The different fonts and illustrations are whimsical and playful, as if enticing you to play. After all, a trivia game can’t be that bad, right? Sometimes you think that you know a topic decently well but CDSK is sure to put you in your place.
This whimsical vibe is furthered by the fact that you bring and establish your own player pawns. Every game will look different, and passerby will surely question why there is a salt shaker on the game board.
I said it at the top and I’ll say it again: I generally don’t care for trivia games. To me they’ve always been filled with obscure or out-of-date questions, and I never really got into them. I can say the same of a lot of my core group of friends and family that I play games with as well.
CDSK changed the game.
We played game after game, switching teams around and just having a really great time. We even played in the car on the long drive back from Indianapolis…twice. There are plenty of fun and timely questions, like Taylor Swift or Lord of the Rings, that ensure there is a place for everybody to have their turn in the limelight. Will some of these become dated? Of course. But for now, I’m loving the relevancy and hope to see additional cards as time goes on.
CDSK will leave you seething at the other team as they get questions that are SO EASY while you’re obviously stuck with nothing but stumpers. It’ll have you question yourself and everything you know about anything. On the other hand, the game will also surprise you with knowledge that you didn’t even know you had.
There was one Challenge question that my brother and I had that asked us to name the birth year of different people with an acceptable error of 2 years in either direction. What started out as a terrible showing ended up with us having multiple logical deductions and getting way more points than we thought that we would. It flipped our mood from sour to sweet in an instant.
CDSK: Ask Me Anything!
What else can I say about CDSK? This isn’t the trivia games that you’ve known forever; this one is spiced up in a whole new way. It’s engaging, fun, and makes you want to play again and again.
Therefore, I am happily awarding CDSK with the Nerds on Earth Seal of Awesomeness award for making me a believer that trivia fans can be fun! It’s really good and I beg you to give it a try.
You can pick up a copy of CDSK from your FLGS when it releases August 16th, or you can preorder from Hachette Boardgames directly.
[Disclaimer: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of CDSK from Hachette Boardgames in exchange for an honest review.]