Back and Forth Review
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In Association with
Players: 4 to 6 (ages 8+)
Playing time: Up to you

Back and Forth calls itself the “Turn takin’, silly sentence makin’ game.” It reminded me of similar games such as Password or Outburst, where the other players try to guess a word based on clues. The twist with this game is that two of the players must form sentences that will enable the other players to guess the word.

The game itself is small and highly portable, the playing surface being 6 ˝ inches square. You set up the pegs in the Start area, each player choosing a different color. The first player rolls two dice—a regular one with dots and another with colors on each side that corresponds to the peg colors. When you roll purple, for instance, and another player has that color peg, she’s your partner for that round.

Next, you lift a card off a stack, read the target word, and slip it across the table to your partner. Then you flip the timer (sand falls through in about 20 seconds) and start shouting words, alternating with your partner. The words must form a sentence and cannot include the word you are describing. For example, if the word is “juggle” then the sequence might be: “Tossing” “balls” “into” “the” “air” “over” “and” “over.” The other players guess until the timer runs out or they say the right word. The person guessing the right word advances one spot, and so do the word-partners (since their brilliant sentence-making helped the person succeed).

The game lasts as long as the number of rounds agreed upon. The winner is the player farthest up the game path.

My family and I had fun playing Back and Forth, both at a campground and at home. Disagreements were few, and laughs were frequent. Our only complaint was that the game path is only two pegholes wide. So if all four pegs advance to the same spot, there’s no place to put two of them. But this is minor stuff. Back and Forth is a great game to take up to the lake or keep in a handy kitchen drawer. Your kids may even turn off their video games to come play it, like my son did.

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