Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mirriam-Webster's Word Sweep

Jonathan here again. Carrie's given me permission to review another board game! (And here you've been looking forward to an incisive commentary on Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. That will just have to wait for another time, I guess.)

Word Sweep. Carrie got this for me as a surprise, knowing that word games are usually my strong suit. I just had to promise only to play it with friends and guests, and never to inflict it upon her one-on-one. (She would generally prefer invasive dental surgery to 2-player word games.)

So, when my family (whom I described in my earlier post) was visiting last week, I took the opportunity to spring this on them. Splitting into two teams, each has to take turns trying to guess a series of three consecutive words that can be found in the dictionary. (For example: "Sofa", "Soft", "Softball".) The game comes with three separate sets of cards (easy, medium, and hard) with clues leading to the words, and the teams are limited by a timer that keeps the game moving quickly.

Upon reading through the rules, we didn't have very high hopes -- It sounded pretty boring. But, we gave it a shot, and turned out to be pleasantly surprised! Teamwork is a big aspect of the game; the more players you have participating, the better. The difficulty of the clues and words is also handled very well, and it's easy to assign younger kids the "easy" box of clues to level the playing field if you have different ages playing. (Our teams ranged in age from 13 to fifty-something.)

The gameplay feels a little bit like Taboo, but with a more intellectual twist. (You're guessing words based on the definitions on cards that come with the game, rather than on a teammate's stream-of-consciousness clues.) I would say it falls into the "educational" game category, and the box advertises that many of the words come from SAT test word lists. (This would definitely be one of the more enjoyable ways available for teenagers to do SAT prep!)

If you enjoy word games, this is one of the few that I've felt will hold up to extended family gameplay over the years. (I would put it in the "timeless" category of Scrabble, Balderdash, Boggle, Taboo, and Scattergories.) Everybody has unique tastes when it comes to game styles, but this is one that we definitely enjoyed!


Amy said...

I love games and this looks like a good one! Thanks for the review. :)

Janice Phillips said...

ohmygosh, this sounds SO fun. we most definitely have to play it whenever we get to spend time together.

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