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What is It?
Wibbell++ is unique gaming system made up of cards containing letters, numbers and boarders. Similar to a standard set of playing cards, a variety of different games can be played with just one Wibbell++ deck. Rules for five games are included and the designer also offers a website where new rulesets are continually being added. Anyone wanting to channel their inner game designer creativity can easily tinker with ideas by coming up with their own innovative games.

Gameplay Mechanics

The mechanics of Wibbell++ will vary based on the ruleset in use. The focus of our discussion will be on the standard games offered in the box including: Alphabetickell, Faybell, Grabbell, Phrasell and Wibbell.

is a 15-30 minute 2-5 player game where each player starts with one card face up in what will be a personal horizontal line of cards. The dealer starts by turning the top card over and adds the card to either end of their line or passes to the next player. If the card is taken, it must be added in alphabetical order based on one letter from each card (each card contains two letters). The card must be placed to the front or back of the horizontal line. Once a card is placed, new letters cannot be added in between existing cards. Letters may be skipped, but no letters may be repeated. Each card counts as one point and the game ends if anyone takes their 11th card or if the stack of cards run out.

is a co-operative storytelling activity taking 15-30 minutes and involves 2-5 players. The first player flips over a card and uses the two-letters as initials of two words which will be used to create the first of five story elements. As example, if the first card had the letters “R” and “H” the first of five phrases could be “Rotting Humans”. The actual story telling begins once all 5 of the story telling statements are identified. The first player flips over the top card of the deck and creates a starting sentence using the top letter of the card. In addition, a separate word must start with the bottom letter of the card. As example, if the card flipped had the letters “E” and “M” the player could start the story with “Early morning mist surrounded the city.” He/she would also come up with a word for the letter “M” such as “murdered”. The next player would flip a card and come up with a sentence using the top letter of their card and would need to include the word “murdered” into their sentence. Ideally, both players would attempt to use one of the earlier 5 story elements that were created. This activity does not involve winning or losing and is more about simply having fun.

is a fast-paced 2-3minutes recognition game including 2-7 players. The game begins with each player having one card face down in the palm of their hands. All other cards are scattered face up on the table. On a count of 3, everyone flips over their cards and uses their free hand as fast as possible to take cards that either match a letter or border pattern to the card in their other hand. A player can stop at any time by slamming the cards face down on the table and shouting, “Grabbell!” The last player to stop receives all the cards on the table as bonus points while everyone else gets 10 bonus points. Everyone passes their stack to the player on their left to verify the cards match properly. Any stack with a mistake scores nothing, while the other players will receive one point for each card plus their bonus points.

Phrasell involves devising funny phrases with 5-15 players taking 15-30 minutes. The game starts by the first judge flipping a card and announcing a topic related to the two letters shown. For instance, if the letters on the card are “EY” some possible choices could be “eyes”, “early youth”, etc .. Two more cards are flipped to display four more letters. Players then race to invent 4-word phrases which relate to the subject and use each of the 4 letters. For example, using the “early youth” subject, the two cards flipped contain “AG” and “EK”. People in the group can shout, “All kids enjoy games”, “Kindergarteners always eat grass”. The judge can end the round at any time and reward his/her favorite phrase with two cards and their second favorite phrase with one card. The game ends when the deck runs out.
Wibbell is a fast racing word game lasting 10-25 minutes with 4-7 players. Two cards are flipped up in the center of the table. All players race to shout out a single word containing at least one letter from each of the cards. The first player to shout out then places the card in front of themselves and flips another card to start the next round. From this point forward, players need to shout out words containing at least one letter from each of the two central cards along with every face-up card in front of themselves.

Initial Impressions
I have to admit that when I first saw the box containing the game, I was not overly impressed. The look of the cards also made it difficult to get the game to the table. However, I was able to engage an audience during an outing for a playtest. The group was made of people ranging in age from 14 to 50 and included gamers and non-gamers. We tried each of the games and some light hearted laughter occurred at multiple times. As each of the games were played, the gamers in the group always reacted with, “hey, this is very similar to X”. For instance, Alphabetickell has some mechanics similar to Racko, Faybell reminded us of Story Cubes, Grabbell has some mechanics similar to Spot It!, and the judging of favorite phrases is reminiscent of Apples to Apples. Having similar mechanics is not a bad thing and some of the group truly enjoyed playing one or more of the games. Similar to other style party games, having the right mind set up front can either make or break the experience. In other words, people need to know up front that all of the games are very light and require a high amount of goofy creativity to make the group experience fun. Those that over think or are looking for anything beyond an extremely light activity would need to look elsewhere.

Quality of Components

Wibbell++ provides 48 cards which are similar in size, thickness and feel to standard Bicycle Playing Cards.

Artistic Direction
There is nothing particularly striking regarding the artwork in this game. Each of the cards are simply comprised of two large letters in black ink along with one of six borders also in back ink against a white background. While the front of the cards do include some red text along with the border symbols (again all borders in black ink) – nothing jumps out as artistically exciting and overall the cards look and feel quite dull and underwhelming.

Fun Factor
It is likely that people who enjoy very light filler games along with games involving letters and words will find enjoyment in many of the base games. The fun really shines with the “creativity” games especially when people are eager to let loose and push for zany words and stories.

Difficulty and Age Range Suggestion
All of the rules and gameplay for various Wibbell++ versions ae quite simple and kids as young as 6-8 would be able to play this game – especially Grabbell which at the heart is a speedy recognition game. It’s clear that a smaller vocabulary and/or an aversion to let one’s creativity juices flow will impact the majority of the games. However, that impact is not limited to kids since there are plenty of adults not keen to get silly and may not be fans of “word” type games!

Regarding adults, one thought not mentioned in the game is to consider leveraging the darker side of games such as Cards against Humanity. The popularity of these type of adult games may work for an adult-only version of Wibbell++. Meaning, those that enjoy those type of games can easily modify the rules of many of the games to be more “adult” based.

Wibbell++ is a simple card gaming system allowing a range of games to be played. The possibilities of leveraging letters, border symbols, and numbers is limited only by imagination. Similar to a standard set of playing cards, Wibbell++ offers a variety of styles and mechanics ranging from co-operative and competitive team play with large groups, to games involving only two players. Although the artwork and colors are quite plain, those looking for portability (fits in a pocket), easy rules, and gameplay ranging from party style to one on one card games may want to check out Wibbell++.

Mike Rizzo is a father of 4, board game collector, Sci-fi, Marvel and technology geek who works as a Director at a Fortune 25 company by day. His alter ego web persona is the “BoardGameDoctor”, based on his fascination with Doctor Who and all things Sci-fi.

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I'm never sure whether to reply to stuff or not. Jamey Stegmaier suggests that doing so can shut down conversation and that's the last thing I want.

I do hope that folk won't change what they're saying just because I'll be reading it.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to review my deck! This is the first unsolicited review, so that's super-exciting! (I've never paid for a review, but all the others were a result of giving away a review copy.)

Thanks for the balanced thoughts. One of the games on the website is not exactly light (

Of course, for 90% of the games, I absolutely agree that they are very light.

I hope you don't mind me pointing out that Alphabetickell is meant to last 3 rounds. If you want to just play once, that's absolutely fine as a shorter variant. I personally find that games tend towards the most interest in the 3rd round, once a pattern of behaviour, and maybe asymmetric starting scores have developed. Of course, YMMV and I'm never against anyone house-ruling something I've designed, as long as it's done with intention rather than by accident.

I hope you continue enjoying the various games for the deck!
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