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TRAPWORDS is the new family game from CGE (Czech Games Edition). It is for 4-8 Players Aged 8+ and takes 30+ minutes to play 

 

CGE have, over the past few years, discovered a good niche in the boardgames market and are currently filling it with such brilliant games as the CODENAMES series, PICTOMANIA and THAT'S A QUESTION. They are just about to launch TRAPWORDS and having played it almost non-stop since it arrived, introducing different players, gamers and non-gamers, to this new, possibly unique, take on the popular 'ARTICULATE' game.

TRAPWORDS comes with 2 sets of card holders folded bookform, each with windows at different heights in their rear sides. There is a large stack of word cards, each with 8 words type-written on it on both sides in a column, the words alternating between the correct way up and upside-down. The components also include 2 pencils, one large tablet of 'Trap List' sheets, 2 team figures, 3 plastic stands, 5 monsters, 10 Curse cards, 10 Monster cards, one Sand-Timer and 7 Room Tiles and of course the Rules booklet, supplemented with a Quickstart Overview sheet for the first Round of play.

Played over 8 Rounds TRAPWORDS is a team game where one player in each team is the Clue-Giver, the player who knows what the Secret word is and has to convey it to their team members without the use of any props, hand, arm or body movements. They can use as many legal words and sentences as they like and can keep doing so until one of several things happen at which occurrence the team's round ends.
One is the timer runs out.
Two is their Team guesses the Secret word within 5 guesses - yes that's FIVE guesses only
Three: The Clue-Giver uses one of the opponent's Trap Words
or Four: the Clue-Giver uses an illegal word or phrase
Unless something otherwise states so, the Guessers can say any of the opposition's Trap Words without forfeit - the opposition team has to be careful not to let on if this occurs.

  

If you know the games CHARADES and/or ARTICULATE then you understand the concept of trying to relay a Secret (usually a Word, Film, Book etc) to a partner or team of 'partners'. Predominantly that is what you are doing in TRAPWORDS, though with more of the Articulate than the Charades aspect of play. Here you can give as many clues as you want verbally but naturally you cannot use the Secret (aka Keyword) Word or examples, proper nouns, rhymes etc. There is a whole page of restrictions as to what is allowed and what isn't - it is this page of regulations that causes new players the biggest headaches and to be honest in the thick of the entertainment the game gives it is very easy to forget one or more of these rules. Once you have read through the rules, generally after playing the first Round using the Overview sheet (which for some reason has had its pages printed in the wrong order leaving the front page opening to the right instead of to the left like a regular book/booklet.

TRAPWORDS is played over several numbered square terrain tiles which are double-side printed, different number on each side. A number of tiles is determined at the beginning of the game and laid edge to edge to form a path lowest number tile at the start with the Team's Stand-Up pieces on it. On the tile at the far end of the path stands a randomly pulled Monster - there are two cards and one stand-up for each of these. Shuffle the cards, flip one over and place the selected monster in the plastic Stand - the card chosen will also have a unique ability on it. By introducing these monsters TRAPWORDS is already taking a large step away from the 'Articulate' game genre.

 

The Curse card deck is shuffled and a predetermined number are placed face down next to the board at specific locations. These come into play when reached and they can seriously cause players to laugh hilariously.

Okay so the board is setup, the Teams are ready and the Monster is sitting at the end of the road. Now it is time for the game and the fun to begin for real. Each team takes one of the Trapword List sheets and folds it so that it makes a sort of book, allowing each face to be used once. Then the teams randomly take a Word card each and slip it into their Book so that one word is visible through the window, ensuring that only the members of their team sees the word. The team pieces will begin on the tile numbered '3', this means the teams can write down THREE Trapwords on the first sheet. These words have to describe the word in the window but have to be within the legalities and regulations of the rules. What you are trying to do is write down three words that you think the opposition Clue-Giver will use to describe the word in the window.

Once both teams have secretly written down their TRAPWORDS the teams swap books and the team with the shiny icon on their book takes the first turn. Note that it is very important when you hand over the books that only one member of the opposing team (their Clue-Giver) sees the word in the window; the Clue-Giver being the player who holds a Torch Counter in the same colour as their Team's Stand-Up piece.

 

The Sand-Timer is turned over and the Clue-Giver begins calling out words and sentences to describe the word in the window. The Guessers cannot discuss amongst themselves which makes calling out random words is a great possibility, but only 5 guesses can be made. However, if during the Clue-Giver's clues they should mention or very closely mention one (or more) of the TRAPWORDS written down by the opposition then their team's turn is over and it is the other team's turn. If one or both teams guess the Secret Word legally then their Team pieces move onto the next Path Tile. Usually after the first Round which starts on the '3' Tile,  this would be Tile number 4 which means that in the next Round the teams write down 4 Trap words (Tile 5 means 5 Trapwords etc etc etc). If both teams fail then the Monster moves one step (tile) closer to them, then the next Round begins. When a Curse is reached by a Player Team it is turned over and activated, if it is reached by the Monster it is moved one Tile towards the Teams; Curses can make the players do some funny things, such as acting like a frozen statue, holding your breath while speaking etc etc. If the Monster reaches one or both Team pieces then its effect is activated.

If both team pieces are in the same room as the Monster then they 'fight' it one time each - fighting it simply means having a guessing round as per the normal play. When on the same tile as the Monster if one team correctly guesses and the other team doesn't then the team who guessed correctly wins, not just the fight but the game. If both teams fail the monster wins, if both teams guess correctly then both teams win the game - one thing we have done if this occurs too near the start tile (because we haven't done well at moving) then we move our pieces past the Monster and restart the Monster from its high number tile where it began the game; we only do this once in a game though. By doing this the game is expanded and the fun continues. To ensure you have an outright winner (if possible) stop the timer by turning it to its side when one team guesses correctly. Then the other team have their attempt to win by having exactly the same amount of sand as the first team but guessing correctly in less time. If time runs out before they guess they lose.

 

You have to whisper very quietly when deciding on the words to use as Trapwords - going out of the room each time is out of the question as it means moving - or you could have some spare paper on which you and your team write down their ideas and then between you a decision is made. By having Trapwords you are, hopefully, keeping the other side's Clue-Giver from using the simplest words, thus making them think as the sand runs out - the more pressure on the Clue-Giver the more possibility of them struggling to find good descriptive words and thus less chance of their team guessing the word. We have many word games at GGO which we often play when non-gaming visitors come calling, and a number of those games are a whole lot of fun. We don't see too many core gamers who readily want to play word games, especially when there are strategy boardgames available to enjoy, and so although Word games aren't just 'family' games they are more likely to be played by 'family & friends' than core games players.

TRAPWORDS is a more than heartily amusing word game, it is a means to employ mind games with your opponents. You try to get into their heads by implanting thoughts/words in their minds so that they double-guess-bluff themselves - mental bluffing is one of the best weapons you have when playing TRAPWORDS. After a few Rounds, or games with the same teams playing each other then the mind games really begin. Depending on how you played those few games/rounds your opponents will now think they are on your wavelength and that's the time to switch tactics or at least make them think that you have switched tactics, and that blows their minds even more. The more you can create this mental mind-field the longer their Clue-Giver takes and the quicker the time expires.

 

TRAPWORDS is superbly produced and is a heck of a lot of family fun. The Curse and Monster cards add enough to keep it just that little bit edgy and the TRAPWORDS themselves ensure that all players think, sometimes over-think every Secret Word, and are quick (because of the timer) but careful when it is their turn to be the Clue-Giver. TRAPWORDS is a game you can happily enjoy to play several times in the same day. It is quick to set up and a lot of fun. Only the Do's and Don'ts of giving Clues really need to be learnt by everyone and with that in mind I am surprised and a little disappointed that page 11 of the Rules book wasn't repeated as 2 x reference sheets to make it easier for all players to have regularly in front of them as player aids. That apart this is well within everyone's budget to be the perfect gift for games-playing families and friends.

Trapwords will be launched at Essen Spiel'18 (25th-28th October) with a recommended price of $19.95/16.95 €.

Designed by: Jan Brezina  *  Martin Hrabalek  *  Michal Pozarek  with  Illustrations by: Regis Torres  *  David Jablonovsky 

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© Chris Baylis 2011-2015