Jon Vandergrift's A Way with Words combines features of crosswords, word searches, and even jigsaw puzzles to create a new word game where creating words—any word, any way—is how you score and win. In this game, for two to four players, you play one letter token at a time to create words forward, backward, vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.
To start, each player chooses a color and receives three letter chips and five square starter vowels of that color. All players place the token with their written color on the 0 space on the game board. All the other circular chips should be placed in the draw bag. Then place all the starter vowels onto the board. All players then draw two more chips.
You can play the game two ways: until all the tiles are on the board or to a certain point count. Either way, players take turns placing one letter chip on the board, keeping track of any points they score by moving their colored scoring token along the point track at the edge of the game board. If you draw a Steal chip, you can play it to steal a letter from another player. If you draw a Replace chip, you can replace any one chip on the board with a chip from your hand.
You score one point for each letter you put down on the board to make a word. Sometimes you get a double word chip, so you can add that up for twice the points. You also score points if you create a word using letter chips that are all in your color. When your turn is over, draw a new chip from the bag.
As the board gets fuller and fuller, it will become more challenging to find words. The game board is going to end up not like Scrabble or anagrams where you can see all of the words. It's going to end up more like a word jumble or a find-a-word where you put down different letters and come up with a word.
A Way with Words comes with a game board, 20 starter vowel chips, 80 letter chips, 24 special action chips, a draw bag, and 12 tokens (three per color).
This game is a little complicated. It's kind of fun, but it does get a little more complicated than what most players will have the patience for. Most players want a simple game that is easy right out of the box. The rules are a little complicated, but if you take the time to learn them and you like this kind of game, you may have a good time with this one.
A Way with Words is for ages 8 and up.
Try Try A Game also makes John Vandergriff's Flick Your Chip game, which is sold separately.
The game mechanics (the way the game plays) are a little clumsy. There are too many options and game changing elements, which can mean that keeping track of what's going on where and when may take more time than playing the game, and that's never fun.
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