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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

PCB Game Night: Word on the Street


I hear this is a good game. From a guy on the street.
Ever have one of those game nights where you plan to play something big - Like Arkham Horror, or Battlestar Galactica - but not everyone is on time, and you want to play something before the whole gang arrives? Give Word on the Street, by Out of the Box Games, a try.

That's not to say WotS doesn't stand on its own; it's a great game that'll have you wanting to challenge your opponents again and again. It's really easy to learn, takes no time to set up, and lasts for less than 20 minutes. Well, usually. I guess it depends on your players.

The setup, as mentioned, is easy. The game consists of a stack of category cards, a game board with a street theme, a bunch of high-quality letter tiles, and a timer. Place the letters on their spots on the board and pick your teams, and you're ready to go!

Game play is also easy: on your turn, you read a category card to your team, then your opponent starts the timer. Your goal is to pick a word that you think matches that category. Any non-hyphenated word counts, even proper names of people and places, so long as it fits the category. You may have to fight for "Churchill" in the category "bull dogs", but that's the chance you take!

See, it's a street. And the letters are on it. It's like Frogger with letters. No, not that. Trust me, it's fun.
While you're deciding on a word, the other team is allowed - no, encouraged - to try and distract you. Within the time limit, you must not only agree on a word, but then spell it correctly AND move the correct tiles towards your side of the street. When your turn ends, your opponent lets you know if they agree with your category and spelling. If you made a mistake in category, your word and letter moves are lost, and you get no points. If you make a spelling mistake, you get to keep the letters you got right, but lose the ones after your first error. For example, if you wanted to spell "campaign", but instead spelled "campain", you only lose the "g" and "n". But keep in mind: if a challenge fails, the challenging team loses a turn.

It's worth noting that no vowels are on any tiles (except "w" and "y", depending on if you think those are vowels), and there is also no "j", "q", or "z". However, you can use any of those letters in your words, and if you use the wrong ones, they count against your spelling. But, using them correctly doesn't give you a score.

From the description, you've probably gleaned that words with double letters are big. Also, if it wasn't obvious, when you move a letter to your side of the street, your opponents can use their turn to try and move them back. Once a letter tile moves off the board on your side, you've captured it. The letter can still be used in words, but nobody can score with it any more. The first team to capture eight letters wins the game!

This is a GREAT two player game. Pitting your vocabulary and strategy against a friend is really fun. Playing with more players is harder. OotB says you can play with ten players (two teams of five), and presumably any set of two teams would work. But in my experience, this can be very tough, because you really have to work together. Imagine a game of Family Feud, where everyone is talking at the same time, they all have to agree on one thing, and then agree on how to spell that one thing. I recommend at minimum picking one person to move the tiles per turn. Just deciding on that can use up all your turn time if you're not careful.



Overall, Word on the Street is a very fun game. A little pricey at the $30 list price, but it can be found for less online. If you're looking for a two player game, I highly recommend it. For more players, it's more fun if you play with people (both on your team and opponents) who are generally good at games. You know who I mean. Team cooperation is essential under the time limit, and one team with one person who is a roadblock will make the game very lopsided very quickly.

Word On The Street - The Hilarious Tug Of Words
2-10 players, Out of the Box Games
$29.99

7 out of 10 phonemes, for price and better fun for 2 players rather than teams.

Hey, why not have a look at the previous review of Forbidden Island?

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