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WORD for WORD is a brand new game from Gibsons Games. It is designed by Mike Woods from “That Games Co”.

The box contains 99 wooden letter tiles, a 15 second sand-timer a cloth bag and a single sheet of rules.

The players each take (and replenish to) 9 tiles each which they lay face up in front of them, other players can look to see what each other has but with only 30 seconds (twice through the sand-timer) there isn’t a lot of perusing time available.

Players agree on an end-game target of victory points and then the player who has been chosen as start player begins. One of the other players turns over the sand-timer (and has to remember to turn it over when it runs out) and the first player lays out a word - generally best to lay the longest - that they can make from their tiles. Then replenish their tiles to 9.

The next player, in clockwise order, then has these options:

Rearrange the tiles to form an anagram or  Substitute one tile from the word with a tile from their hand, or add one tile to lengthen the word (they can rearrange the letters if they wish), or add one tile and substitute another, again rearranging the letters if they wish.

The example given on the rules sheet is this: NOT add an E to make NOTE, rearrange to make TONE add an S to make STONE etc.

With just 30 seconds the pressure is really on and although I openly admit to liking word games I found I was panicking very quickly and often losing out on the round by not adding or adjusting the tiles before my time expired.

We thoroughly enjoy playing this game but we have had to add a couple of in-house rules that are not on the rules sheet.

1. We decided that the same word cannot be used in the same round. For example (using the above example) NOTE becomes TONE becomes NOTE, there is nothing in the rules to prevent this. Obviously this could then go on all night.

2. The rules state that you can rearrange the words to make an anagram. We decided that this means the anagram must be a real word and not just an anagram. For example ENTO is an anagram of NOTE but it isn’t an actual word.

3. There is no rule that prevents Proper Nouns / Names being used so in my above example NOTE, TONE, ENTO could also become ETON (as in the public school/town name - is Eton a town ?) We do NOT allow Proper Nouns in our games.

When all players have passed, the player who played the last word scores 10 points for each letter in that word. The game suggests a target of 500 and with scores around 70-80 each round it isn’t long before this total can be reached.  A very enjoyable game.

Comment from Mike Woods the game's author: "Thanks Chris for an excellent review of my game. Regarding the amendments you have suggested, we will include these in our rules on the next print run."

NOTE:   Edlitrice Giochi will be taking WORD for WORD under licence for Italy next year

Currently available from all Gibsons Games stockists at £11,99 or on Amazon at £10.54

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015