Stir ‘em Up Review
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Players: 2-4 (ages 8+)
Playing Time: 15-20 minutes

Every day, people around the world settle in with a cup of coffee and their daily crossword. But if you don’t have time for all of the obscure clues and the frantic erasing, you can sit down for a game of Stir ‘em Up instead.

To begin, players use a spoon to scoop seven two-sided letter tiles from the included storage bowl. Once the players have their letters, everyone shakes them up in their hand and dumps them out on the table in front of them. One player then rolls the colored die to determine whether players will have to flip or trade some of their tiles.

Once the tiles have been flipped or traded as directed, the first round begins. Players have 30 seconds to arrange their letters into interconnecting words—just like a crossword puzzle—placing them left to right or top to bottom, connecting new words to existing words. When time runs out, players replenish their tiles and begin the next round. Play continues until the bowl is empty and all of the tiles have been distributed. Players then have one last chance to build onto their crossword.

After the last round, players count up the tiles they used—and the player who used the most tiles wins the game.

Stir ‘em Up may have been inspired by crossword puzzles, but this isn’t your grandma’s crossword. After you finish playing your first round, you’ll realize that 30 seconds isn’t a whole lot of time to find words in a jumble of letters—especially when those words have to connect to one another in some way. You’ll have to think quickly to scramble the letters and come up with something—anything—to add to your puzzle. The timer definitely makes for fast-paced and challenging game—one that’s also a whole lot of wordplay fun.

The colored die, on the other hand, seems rather unnecessary. It appears that its object is to throw another wrench in the works—to mess up any plans that you may have started making as soon as you first saw your letters. But if you’re playing a fast-paced game, you don’t have a whole lot of time for planning anyway—and the die only acts as an extra distraction.

Still, if you enjoy word games like Scrabble or Boggle, you’ll want to add Stir ‘em Up to your collection. It’s a fast-thinking, crossword-building word game that will challenge word-loving players of all ages.

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