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Subject: Word fun for two rss

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Joltin' Joe
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Letterflip is a word-guessing game for two players. On each side of the 150 double-sided cards included with the game are 4 words-- a 3-letter word, a 4-letter word, a 5-letter word, and a 6-letter word. In order to win, a player must correctly guess the 4 words on his opponent's card.

The cards are inserted into a "Letterflipper" -- a plastic unit with all the letters in the alphabet that flip up and down. Your opponent is trying to guess the words on the card in your Letterflipper, and you are trying to guess the words on the card in his. As you guess the letters in the word, you turn down the letters on your Letterflipper that don't appear in the word. If your guess does appear in the word, the letters have a gold tracking tab inset into the top, that can be pulled up to show a number of stars. These are used to remind you how many of that letter appear in the opponent's word, which your opponent must tell you when you guess a letter correctly. There is also a letter-count tab to remind you how many letters are in the word you're trying to guess.

The whole Letterflipper unit is quite portable, and was designed so that you have all the information you need in front of you to deduce the opponent's word, without having to resort to writing anything down.

The rules are very simple. To play, on your turn, you can

(1) Guess a letter
(2) Guess the word
(3) Guess the position of the letter in the word (only after you have correctly identified all the letters in the word)

If you're right, you take another turn. If you're wrong, your turn ends and your opponent goes.

The players take turns, and the first player to identify all 4 of his words of wins the game. It plays in about 20-30 minutes.

My impressions? Well, others have described the game as "Hangman" but it's really only related to Hangman, and even then only because you are trying to guess words. This game is much more challenging than Hangman, because you don't automatically get the positional information about where the letters occur in the word, as you do in Hangman. In Letterflip, you have to ask for that information, and you can only do so when you know all the letters that exist in the word.

This makes the game much more challenging because you have to visualize the possibilities in your head. For example, you may be faced with only the information: The word is 6 letters, and has 2 O's, 1 E, and 1 D. What would you guess next?

You can blindly guess letters, of course, and you may get lucky. But that's where the skill comes in. If you can anagram these letters in your mind (pencil and paper are not allowed), and think what some likely words are that use these letters, you can then narrow your choices and win much more often than the blind guesser. It requires the same skills as in Scrabble, I think. In Scrabble, you have your rack of letters and try to produce words by anagramming sets of them. Same thing here, although you also have to guess at the letters, so this introduces a luck element as well.

The components are well done, made of sturdy plastic, although the tabs that pull up from the letters are pretty stiff at first, but this should decline with use. The cards include basic words on the gold side, and advanced words on the blue side. The words used in the game are not obscure words, or words unsuitable for children. The advanced ones are just a bit more uncommon, or use letter combinations that are more rare. You can easily handicap more experienced players by having them guess blue-side words while a younger or less experienced player guesses the gold-side words, or by allowing them to use pencil and paper.

If you're looking for a game to take traveling, for long car trips, bus rides, or even just to play at home, this is an excellent choice. It won't appeal to everyone, but if you like word games and/or deduction games, you will love it. (The word in my example above turned out to be "POODLE," by the way.) Highly recommended!
 
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