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KERFLIP! from Amigo is a good fun family word game.

Designed by Damon Tabb it merrily plays in about 20 minutes with 2, 3 or 4 players.

The box contains a board, which fits into the box, a packet of plastic letter tiles coloured white on one side and purple on the other, a sand-timer, and 22 bonus cards, these Bonus cards being shuffled and positioned in a specially designed slot as part of the board.
Surprisingly for a family game there is no pencil or pad for scoring (you'll need these) which seems a bit of an oversight.

The game mechanic is pretty simple and easy to understand in seconds, but the game itself is about speed of thought by rearranging letters quickly in your mind and then being the first to call out the formed word. 

The tiles are placed in a bag and shaken so that they are well mixed, then depending on the number of players each person draws tiles from the bag. Once all players have their tiles they are thrown onto the board (gently dropped is better than actually throwing them) and someone quickly flips them all to their White side. Now you make your word (in your head) and call it out. If you are the first to call out a word you arrange the tiles to show it and then score 10 points per tile, marking the score on the paper you have provided. The tiles used in the word are then flipped over to their Purple side and the other players have to find a different word and call it out. Purple letters score only 5 points. The Lightning Flash (Flash Stone) tile scores the first player to call out a bonus 25 points; it's Purple side isn't counted for later words but it is turned from White to Purple once claimed.

Some of the letters have a difficulty number in the bottom right corner, 1, 2 or 3 which if you manage to use in a word gain you 1, 2 or 3 (as appropriate) bonus cards from the deck, these giving bonus points from 0-20.

At the end of the round, when all players have scored or the time has expired - all games are timed by the sand-timer - the Purple tiles are removed from the board and are not returned to the bag; any White up tiles are left in play for the next round.The next round begins and is played out like the first, drawing tiles, throwing them onto the board, turning them to the White side and then making words.

This is a good fun game without the intensity of word games like Scrabble(tm). It does have one minor negative part and that is while one player is flipping the tiles to their White side either they or the other players (depending on how clever or devious or innocent they are) has a slight advantage of seeing them first. Yes they are the same letter on both sides, but that means the person flipping them may have a disadvantage, again because the other players can concentrate for that little bit longer.

Words have to be of 3 letters or longer so if you quickly make a 3 letter word for 30 points (or 55 if the Flash Stone is in play) you may be leaving a much larger score on the board for the other players. Because of the way it is played KERFLIP! is a great game for 2 players unlike many 2-? player games where the mechanics change so much for 2 players it becomes almost a different game, KERFLIP! isn't like that.

I am not sure I like the name KERFLIP! as it doesn't actually relate to the game. I can see the "flip" part but what is "Ker" ? It does not translate from German into English and it means nothing as far as I can see. The German word for "letter" is Buchstaben but I guess Buchstabenflip! wouldn't look or sound so good. Also it reminds me too much of KERPLUNK! (Hasbro) which is a children's game and this isn't; at least it's not for young children like KERPLUNK! is, though obviously children who are old enought o spell can play it and maybe even learn from playing it.

Overall I would happily recommend this for families who enjoy word games and who like to get their children and grandparents around a table playing games rather than having their faces glued to their iPhones etc.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015