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This is an inexpensive (around €8.00) word game for 2 players aged 8 and above. It can be played by numerous players though it's generally better when played with yourself and three others (4 total) for speed of play. It comprises of 60 cards, two 30 card decks; one of Categories which have 1-4 Challenge Difficulty Stars and the other of 30 double-sided Specification cards (17 Green sides and 43 Blue sides). For your first game or two I suggest that you separate the Category cards into difficulty levels 1-4 and use only the 1 star cards, perhaps upgrading to 2 stars for your 2nd or 3rd game. This is part of the Pegasus Spiele family game range.

Each card has the category in English and in German.

1 Star:
Toys / Country / City / Name / Animal / Sport / Food 
2 Stars:
Film or TV / Job / Plant / Literature / Medicine / Vehicle / Bodies of Water / Computer / Politics / Music / School
3 Stars:
VIP / Print Magazine / Mountain / Tools / Household Appliance / History / Comic / Space / Religion / Fashion / Magic
4 Stars: One card only
Homonym (words with the same spelling but with different meanings and are sometimes also pronounced a little differently - examples given below)
address    /   arm  /  back  /  bank  /  bark  /  base  /  bat  /  beam  /  beams  /  bear  /  board  /  bolt  /  book  /  bore  /  bow  /  box  /  bustier  /  cabinet  /  can  /  case  /  cast  /  cave  /  chair  /  change  /  check  /  chicken  /  chip  /  circular  /  clear  /  cleave  /  close   /  club  /  command  /  content  /  cool  /  cordial  /  current  /  crane  /  dance  /  dear  /  deck  /  down  /  duck  /  dust  /  employ

Before beginning to play ensure that all players have their own paper and pen/pencil. Then either select or draw randomly 5 Category cards and write their titles along the top of the page as headers, for example you could write "Specification / City / Country / Music / Name / Animal / Points" creating a column and then row for each by drawing lines down and across to form the detail of a blank grid. Note that "Specification" and "Points" are always placed either side of the 5 chosen Categories.

There are two types of Specification cards; Green and Blue; you can play with only one colour or you can play with a mix of both. Green cards are concerned with Letters and Blue cards that concern Words; Blue cards require a little more creative thought to solve. The rules do not specify how many Specification cards you should create the necessary deck of. There are only 17 Green cards against 30 Blue cards (but there are only 30 cards in total made up of: 17 Green cards with Blue flipsides and 13 cards that are Blue on each side), so if you only play with 17 Green cards do NOT turn them over. You can use any number of Blue cards up to 30 or up to 30 of Green and Blue cards). We played with just 17 Green to begin with and then flipped them over and tried 17 Blue, eventually settling on a shuffled mix of 9 Green and 9 Blue cards as a reasonable Deck with fair chances of all one colour being used throughout the game.

Played over a number of Rounds each Round begins with the drawing of a random Specification card (eg shuffle the Specification cards and form them into a face down deck). All players write down the Specification in the first column of the spreadsheet you have created on your piece of paper. Thus if the Green card drawn was "2nd Letter A" all players would write that down under the Specification header. Then each player secretly writes on their grid, one correct word under each title/header. In the example I have stated you would need to write correct words for each Category, something like this; "Specification (2nd Letter A) / City (Canterbury) / Country (Canada)/ Music (Can) / Name (James) / Animal (Kangaroo) / Points ( )" . You score points for each word you write. As everyone writes in secret it is possible that players may choose the same word as each other. This is okay in the Round but NO words that have been used in the game may be used again in any of the Categories. You score 2 points for each unique word, 1 point for each word someone else has written and 1 point for every blank Category of your opponents. If you were the first to complete all five categories you shout "out" or "finished" or something along those lines then all other players have to stop writing immediately. If a player calls "out" but has 2 or less spaces that thery haven't filled in because they don't think it is possible then they shout "out and 10" which gives all other players an additional 10 seconds to try to complete their row of categories. You only score points for opponents blank spaces if you have completed the category where the opponent has left a blank.

If you draw a Blue card then your Category will be a different type of word, such as; Tentative (Schüchtern) and then you really have to think and be creative in your mind wars. From the example categories "City / Country / Music / Name / Animal" I cannot think of a word for any of them off the top of my head that might be Tentative. The Dictionary gives me the following synonyms for Tentative:  "provisional" "unconfirmed" "unsettled" "indefinite" "preliminary" "hesitant" "uncertain"  "cautious"  "unconfident"  "timid"  "shaky"  "unsteady"  "halting"  "unsure"  "doubtful"  "diffident" and "iffy". From these I guess you could write "timid" under Animal, "shaky" under Music "provisional" under City, "unsettled" under Country and "unconfirmed" under name, but even in our games these examples would be stretching it a lot. It's words like "Tentative" that make the game harder and more thoughtful/mind-numbing but do never detract from the fun                

The designer, Peter Neugebauer, makes it clear that the categories are flexible. So that you can use words that describe the Category in different ways. For example: Politics - you could say "Liberal" "Tory" "Labour" "Democracy" etc or the name of any Politician or even Parliament or a Parliamentary Bill as long as you can do so as just one word. So No Harold Wilson, but Wilson, Churchill, Thatcher, perhaps even Thatcherism would be a little creative and you should score well.

The game is set for 5, 7 or 9 Rounds, thus the players should determine which prior to starting. We usually play 1-3 games of 5 Rounds each. We used to play a similar game called "Stop the Bus" where we had 20 Categories and stabbed a newspaper to get the starting letter then you had to write a name for every Category that began with the chosen letter,and I believe there is a game called "Scattegories" which is very similar to "Stop the Bus" and thus in align with this game. Word games are always fun and the correctness of the answers depends often on the other players accepting your word rather than it being written in black & white in a rules book (though you can use a Dictionary or/and Thesaurus if you really want to be pedantic).

I have played a myriad word games such as Crossword Puzzles, games with cards, tiles, on the computer or tablet etc and the majority of them are fun but there is also a tendency to see the same questions or the same words appearing over and over, especially in generic general knowledge quizzes or generic or specific music quizzes. Therefore I can understand why the author decided to look for lesser used words and categories



© Chris Baylis 2011-2015