Last term session for the Dalhousie Pharmacy Gamers! We finally pulled ourselves away from the new Mario Kart and sat down for a starting round of this new game from Winning Moves, which I've been itching to try for a while.
The Players: Myself (Mark E.), Mel W., Sanjay M., Vicki P.
To quickly sum up the rules, there are a variety of cards with colored backs (red, green, and blue are the three colors) and each one has a letter on it. There are a number of wild cards as well. Using these cards, players must first spell out pure (all one color) or mixed words based on the requirements set each round by a small pack of cards.
After they have met their word requirements for the round, players then try to get rid of the remaining cards in their hand, either by altering their own words or those of their opponents. Words can be altered by adding letters, covering letters, or inserting letters. Once a player uses all their cards, they score based on the cards/points left in their opponents hands, so it's important to get your cards out as fast as possible.
The only other way to score points is by playing a letter card marked with a 'bonus', which appears on difficult to place letters such as C, J, Q, Z, etc. Placing these cards in a word immediately scores the player points for that word, irregardless of whether they win the hand or not.
Beefs? A couple. The rule booklet is ridiculously vague on some things that it shouldn't be and having to intuit certain rules bogged us down at points. The goal cards supposedly get more complex in terms of requirements as they go up in round number, but really don't.
Personally I would have preferred that the designers included a score of random goal cards (the ones in the package already are numbered 1-10 and are followed in a set order to the end game) to keep things mixed up.
Also, maybe it was just the decks not being super-shuffled from the first opening but we had a number of rounds where players would score huge just by getting the right cards to go out on their first turn before a bunch of other people had a chance to play. I'm really not sure if the intent of the game is to be able to score huge like that or not and would like a couple more play-throughs to figure it out.
Sanjay suggested a variant whereby every player was guaranteed at least one turn to play cards, but as noted I'm not sure if that would solve the problem since it's hard to say if the problem exists.
A couple minor points would be that the game seemed way too long, clocking in around 45 minutes for 10 rounds. The rules suggest shortening the number of rounds, but I have to admit they went by quickly. Also, no designer credits that I could see, which is a shame.
So for all that, how did it play? Surprisingly well. I'm a huge Scrabble fanatic, minus analysis paralysis, and while this is really nothing like Scrabble it was good fun for something that almost comes off like a more complex word game version of Crazy 8's.
I was actually surprised how much I liked the game after reading through the rules, because I wasn't quite sure how it was going to play. We had a lot of rounds where people didn't play cards on anybody else's words though, which makes me curious as to just how much player interaction the game has, irregardless of the options presented in the rules.
So, I'll hold off on my review because I'd like to see this played a couple more times first. Everybody else enjoyed it, though the common beef was that it was too long. Sanjay and Vicki both dislike word games so this was not quite up their alley, and Mel and I duked it out for the win, with Mel pulling away in the last round for the victory. She had around 110 points to my 90 with Sanjay around 72 and Vicki about 58 or so.
First post -- and it has to do with this game.
It may be obvious, but I felt that each of the challenge cards could have stood better explanation in the rules.
Got stuck with the first challenge.
Was wondering, in general, if per chance, you can't make the challenge with the letters in hand, do you pick just one card from either of the piles, or enough letters until you can make the challenge?
I like your variation about each person getting a chance to at least to a stab at the challenge of the round.