Buzzword Junior Review
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Players: 4+ (ages 7+)
Playing Time: 30 minutes

Buzzword Junior is the re-release of the original Buzzword—but, this time, it’s specifically designed for kids.

Players divide into two teams. On your team’s turn, one player from the opposing team selects a card and announces the buzzword, which is part of the answer to five questions. Your team must try to answer all five questions before time runs out. If there are any questions left unanswered when your time is up, the opposing team can try to answer the remaining questions to receive extra points. The team that scores 30 points first is the winner.

The ability to steal points by answering the other team’s questions at the end of the round is a nice twist—and it keeps both teams engaged throughout the game. However, with a group of kids all trying to answer questions at the same time, things could get loud very quickly. There isn’t any particular rule for dealing with this issue, so an adult might want to act as scorekeeper and referee in case game play gets overly loud—which may lead to confusion.

Most of the buzzwords are interesting; a collection of nouns and adjectives is used to create answers, such as compound words or short phrases. Many of them will help to strengthen the vocabulary of young children. However, some questions seem too simple—especially when the buzzword is reused in the question. One particular example is the buzzword farm. One of the questions is: “The person who runs the farm.” The answer, of course, is farmer. For questions like this one, the setup of the question removes all challenge, since the buzzword is included in it. Perhaps the question could have been reworded to read something like: “The person who plants crops and cares for his animals.” Removing the buzzword from the question could have raised the level of difficulty enough to engage post-elementary-aged players. Instead, I would only recommend the game for elementary-school-aged players.

Overall, Buzzword Junior is a good choice for parents who want to introduce young children to the concept of teamwork while operating in a fun environment. Plus, this game will help kids to think on their feet quickly while strengthening their memory retention and reading skills. It’s a decent game for a rambunctious group of kids assembled at events such as birthday parties and sleepovers—and it’s a great alternative for parents who are looking to replace the old party game standby of Pin the Tail on the Donkey with some intelligent fun for the whole group to enjoy together.

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