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Subject: Fantastic quick-playing, strategic word game rss

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Scott Fischbein
United States
Sacramento
CA
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We play a lot of games during lunch at work (here's a list), so I'm always looking for new games that fit our tastes - and this one is an instant favorite. It combines some great elements into a unique package.

The basic idea of the game is that you're "stealing" letters from a grid of letters (4x4, 5x5 or 6x6 depending on player count - I've only played two players so far). You do this by spelling words that use the letters in the grid, as well as the letter in your "hand" which you refresh at the end of your turn (using the letter in your hand is mandatory, and is an important restriction which we would occasionally have to remind each other when we got overzealous and spelled some fantastic word without using our "hand" letter).

If you use a letter, you mark it with your piece (a nifty little zeppelin meeple). Then the next player goes and does the same thing - if they use a letter with another player's piece on it, they remove that piece, and if you use a letter with one of your pieces already on it, you get to "steal" that letter - you put it in front of you (to be used in a later turn if you wish) and you replace it with an upside down tile marked "stolen" and place your meeple on it. The game ends after six rounds, and you score points for each stolen letter, and an extra point each for stolen letters in groups of three or more adjacent letters. To spice things up a bit, some of the harder to use letters (F, X, W, etc.) have special powers that activate when you use them in a word (ie: place an additional zeppelin, remove someone else's zeppelin, etc.)

As I said, we REALLY liked this game. It plays very quickly (although there's plenty of potential for Spelling Paralysis, this is mitigated by a rule in the game that allows other players to tell you that they have a word you could use, and then they can give you 60 seconds to accept their offer, or make your own play...) The strategic elements of area control and deciding whether to steal more of your own letters or block your opponent(s) from doing so add a nice strategic element - having a good vocabulary is certainly useful, but spelling the longest/fanciest word is often not the best play.

The components are nice (I have the Kickstarter version - not sure if there are any differences for retail) - cute little wooden zeppelins and good solid tiles. It's also a nice small portable box with no wasted space, which is great.

I'm very much looking forward to playing this more - there are a number of variants included in the game, which we might try at some point, though honestly I think the base game will provide plenty of replayability, but I'll update this review if/when we try out those variations.

Bottom line: if you like word games with some added strategic thinking, this is definitely worth picking up!
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Patrick C.
United States
Milford
New Hampshire
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Just played it last night and it met my high expectations. I was assuming I'd like it based on the how-to video they posted during the KS and it immediately clicked. It might be premature to say this now, but this just might be my favorite word game. I've been playing Scrabble for years and years and it gets tiresome.

I have to disagree with your comment about the box. I think this game deserved a bigger package. The way the box is designed the player cards and instructions can easily be damaged. Also, it's a pain shuffling the letter tiles. I'd like to have had a large bag to jumble them up. I paid extra for the mat and, even though I know it's not needed, I think it adds to the gameplay and keeps things looking tidy and organized.

I think this should have gotten the Ticket to Ride size box treatment with a playing board in every edition. Maybe the finances and demand weren't there for it. I know lots of people say some games get too blinged out. This one didn't and should have IMO. And that's a compliment because I'm saying the game is good enough for it.
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Peter Schott
United States
Roanoke
Texas
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Personally, I'm glad that the box isn't overly large for what comes in it. I can likely fit this on my shelf without too much trouble and others noted that little bit of cardboard added inside the cover can keep it from coming down too far and squishing components.

I agree about the bag, though. I have a couple floating around from Artscow so I might throw one of those in there. Their "small" bags are surprisingly large if you don't pay a lot of attention to the details/specs. They compress pretty well, too, so should easily fit in a little space if I add that spacer like was done for Paperback.
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benjamin CLOVIS
France
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Amazing!
First game that my wife (who is quite literary, but has no interest in games), my son (who is a big gamer, but 10 years old), and my sister (who is new to gaming, but loves it) all really love.
Big vocabulary helps you in the early rounds to lay down a maximum amount of meeples (sorry, zeppelins), strategy helps in the later rounds to group your stolen letters and use letters special powers. In the last round your goal is to steal your remaining single zeppelins on the board, so it is almost a word jumble challenge.
From my limited play, I would say it plays best at 2 or 3 (at 4 players it's too hard to tell who is ahead to knock a few of their zeppelins off the board). I have yet to try the solo or coop mode, but the coop mode looks great (though really a different game altogether).
Cant recommend this game enough
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