Ages: 8 & up
Playing time: It depends on how many players and how long it takes someone to
go out. A two-player game takes about 30 minutes.
Imagine, if you will, a sort of Scrabble game played with cards that’s
a lot like a game of rummy. Except that you’re not allowed to lay anything
down until you have your whole hand (except for a discard) made up into words
(rather than books or runs) composed of no less than two letters. And you’re
not allowed to play on other players’ cards any time during the game.
Okay, so when you come down to it, Quiddler isn’t that much like
either Scrabble or rummy, but it’s a lot of fun. Other than slight
defects—like there seeming to be a disproportionate amount of Qs, Js, Xs, and
s in the deck and that the solitaire version is only absorbing enough for five
or six repetitions at a time (that is, not nearly as absorbing as either classic
solitaire or Yahtzee played alone), Quiddler is quite an enjoyable game. It’s
about time someone came up with a word game with the portability of cards—this
one will be traveling with me.
When playing with others (up to eight players), the rules go roughly like this:
a game consists of eight hands, starting with three cards for each player and building
one card per hand until each holds ten cards in the last round. As I mentioned,
the goal is to make up your whole hand into words and lay them down with a discard
left over, preferably before anyone else does, because after that you only have
one turn left to try to lay any words you can down. At the beginning of each
turn, you pick up a card, and you must discard one card at the end of each turn.
If you’re caught with cards in your hand at the end, you lose the point
values on each card (which is a somewhat similar concept to Scrabble, though
the values aren't the same), and the winner gains your points. There are also
bonuses given for the most words and for the longest word each round. The winner
is the one with the most points at the end of the game.
This game is a quite pleasing mishmash of elements from different games. Since
it allows words as small as two letters, it's good for kids as well as adults.
It doesn’t quite stack up to Scrabble or Boggle, but then
again, what does?