WayWord Review
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Players: 2-4 (ages 10+)
Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Every game player has a favorite kind of game. Maybe your favorite games are easy-going dice games…or strategic card games…or detailed role-playing games that take all night to play. Or maybe you prefer noisy party games. Personally, while it may be part of my job to try all kinds of games, I have a weakness for anything involving letters. So I couldn’t wait to try Tom Jolly’s WayWord, a word-nerdy blend of a variety of games—everything from basic board games to dominoes to (of course) Scrabble.

Before the game begins, seven letter tiles are placed in a circle in the center of the playing area. Each player then gets a colored pawn and seven tiles.

When it’s your turn, you begin by playing one of your tiles, connecting it to the existing tiles. Then you create a path through the tiles, moving your pawn to spell words as you go. You can move in any direction, even using the same letter twice (i.e., doubling the T and/or using the same E twice in the word “letter”). But you can’t use any words that your opponents have already used, and your pawn can’t touch any tile that’s occupied by another player.

Each letter tile has a point value. Once you spell your word, you add up your points. Then you choose a new tile from the draw pile, and play moves to your left.

The game has a few other twists in the form of some special tiles, but the object is simple: the player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

WayWord is the kind of word game that can be as laid-back or as competitive as you want it to be. If you’re just looking for a wordy way to pass the time with your family on a lazy afternoon, it can be a perfectly relaxed game. But if you take your word games a little more seriously, you can go head-to-head against your most competitive word-gaming friends to seek out longer, more elaborate words while plotting strategies and blocking your opponents’ moves.

The WayWord designers thought of all kinds of simple but clever details to make the game move smoothly. For instance, it isn’t a big change to have players draw a new tile at the end of their turn instead of at the beginning, but it saves a whole lot of time—because players have extra time to plan their next moves while their opponents are playing. The special tiles, too, add a few exciting twists to an otherwise relatively straightforward game.

Some details, on the other hand, are rather unnecessary—like the included die, which is used only to help determine which player goes first. And one additional detail—a score pad—would definitely be helpful.

WayWord is the perfect game for all levels of players—from cutthroat to cooperative. So whether you’re looking for an intense game to play with your word-loving friends or an easy-going, family-friendly game to help your kids build their vocabularies, you’ll get just what you’re looking for from this clever word game.

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