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Subject: A Ferret By Any Other Name rss

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Alex S
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St. Louis
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Alright, folks! I've still got another major Gen Con release to play and review when I can, but for now my in-laws are in town. We decided to spoil them with this little gem that wouldn't normally be our cup of tea. That's right, prepare for Wordsy, the first (and possibly last) word game I'm reviewing!

Context

I've played my fair share of Scrabble, Speed Scrabble, and Banagrams games. I've never been a huge fan but one likes to be a good sport and help people to enjoy games they like when they get a chance to play them. That said, this wouldn't be a game I would normally be looking to pick up but when my wife saw it in the Gen Con vendor hall, it immediately made her think of her mom, so we decided to try it out.

We played a short game there, then picked it up and have played it twice with my wife's parents. The first time we did miss the rule about not being able to reuse words that had been used previously in the game, but otherwise we played to the rules.

Rules & Mechanics

A game like this needs to play really smoothly. The content is satisfying when you can play quickly and two the point and this game does that extremely well. It took maybe two minutes to teach and then we were off to the races. By far the hardest aspect for people to grasp was that you can use letters outside of what's visible on the table. This especially bothered my mother-in-law who loves scrabble. Even so, it didn't take more than a round for everyone to be comfortable with how the game plays and everyone to be giving each other a hard time about the words chosen.

If nothing else, this game nailed the use of the timer. A lack of timer leaves people waiting forever for someone to find the perfect word which may or may not exist. A normal game timer has one player almost always pushing the timer first. As an example, I'm almost always the person to push my group along in Galaxy Trucker. Often one person will just drive the speed of the group and this can be frustrating for everyone. The 'no turn' card in Wordsy handles this beautifully. One person can still flip the timer every other round but on off rounds they have to wait for someone else to do it, which leads to a really interesting experience where you might as well go looking for better scoring words, actually pushing that player to grow instead of always just taking the first thing they see. I would love to see this implemented in other games with timers.

Art, Theme, & Components

The components of this game are exactly what you would expect them to be. There are pencils, a scoring pad, a sand timer, and a deck of mini cards. Nothing catches the eye as either amazing components or bad. Except the box. The box feels very sturdy and the box insert is both sturdy and has a nice angled setup to make pulling pieces out of it easy. This game doesn't even need an insert really, yet 'm glad it's there. That was definitely an unexpected plus.

The only real art for the game is the box cover, which has a very nice imitation of a book. This matches nicely with the 'theme' of this game, as much as it has one. Language games are usually pretty abstract and this one is no exception. It just feels good.

Strategy & Replayability

As noted at the start of this review, this isn't really my kind of game. I'm much more interested in jumping into something with some nice theme, whether it's more Ameri-trashy or Euroesque. As such, I'm not really going to be wanting to get this game to the table frequently. That said, it has a nice short playtime and is so easy to teach that it definitely has plenty of room to make it to the table when the right people are around. Between the English language (or whatever language you're using) and the variability of what letters come out together there's plenty of room for the game to have different permutations.

Strategy wise, I've definitely noticed a pattern where people would often use the same letters, interestingly often creating different words, and it was it was the person who could get just more more letter into their word that was winning the round. Practice definitely makes one better at a game like this but unlike in games like chess, one can get better by all sorts of different activities. For example, noticing license plates as one is driving and trying to find words that use all the letters in the plates would be a good way to practice.

Final Thoughts

Wordsy is exactly what it sets out to be. It's a quick, fun word game. If that appeals to you then you should definitely pick it up as it's hardly expensive. If you hate word games you should probably avoid this game like the plague as it might be contagious. You wouldn't want to accidentally start liking word games. In all seriousness, I enjoyed it more than I expected to and it was quick enough to not overstay its welcome. It's a great counter offer to that relative who might want to try to corner you into a two hour game of Scrabble, or just a good game to grab on the way out the door to play at a restaurant while you're waiting for your food. And being a game that's so quick to learn, it's not a big deal if someone in the group hasn't played it before. So, really it's a solid, versatile game that can be quite enjoyable for everyone so long as they don't hate the English language too much! It's definitely my new top word game.

Thanks for taking the time to read my review of Wordsy! If you enjoyed it, please pass a thumb my way and feel free to check out www.epicherogames.com to find all my reviews conveniently situated in one location!
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