Product Type: other board games
Newest Review: ... container. Words can only be formed so long as each word is adjacent to one another. Words gain a certain number of points depending on ... more
Boggled by Boggle?
Member Name: Meggysmum
Advantages: Great if you like word-games
Disadvantages: The most boring game on earth if you don't!
I have always had a soft spot for word games. I have loved playing Scrabble ever since I was a child and I also enjoy crosswords and any letter puzzles. I am not sure where I first came across Boggle, made by Hasbro, but a several years ago I added it to my Christmas list when I realised that it was a game I would probably enjoy.
The game is presented in a nice solid box which is reasonably compact at 20cm x27cmx6cm so it is easy and convenient to store. The box is blue with a bright orange and white design of tumbling letters which in my opinion is quite eye-catching.
Upon opening the box there is an orange plastic tray with a circular base which is about 12cm in diameter. The tray houses a 4x4 grid. There is a clear plastic dome which fits over the tray. The box also contains 16 letter dice which have a letter clearly stamped on each side in blue.
The box also contains a sand-timer which counts three minutes.
The box does not contain paper or pencils which I thought was a bit odd considering they are an absolute necessity to play this game. I know that most people usually have such things knocking around the house but it is nice if they are all conveniently stored inside and are ready to play on opening.
===How to Play===
The 16 dice are put on the tray, they are covered by the lid and then the whole unit is turned upside down and shaken before righting and then jiggling until each die falls into a square on the grid. The cover is then removed and the timer turned-over and each player has 3 minutes to write down as many words as they are able that can be formed using the letters in the tray. The words are formed by linking adjacent letters either horizontally, vertically or diagonally and each letter dice can only be used once.
When the timer runs out players take it in turns to read out their lists and the only words that score any points are ones that none of the others players have found. Words are then scored on length, 3 or 4 letters score 1, and this increases until words of 8 letters or above score 11 points.
===Thoughts on the Game===
As I previously stated I love word games but unfortunately this isn't a love shared by most of my family. My mother enjoys them too and will happily play Boggle with me but otherwise I struggle to find another player. My son is a good sport and sometimes he will agree to a game but I can tell he finds it boring and unfortunately since I always win he is never keen for a rematch. Although my husband will play Scrabble he draws the line at Boggle as he just finds it too "wordy". I do have a friend who I have found out recently likes playing word games so I am hoping to have some more challenging matches with her soon.
The game says that it is recommended for children aged 8 to adult. I think some children will play this but I am sure most would find it a bit dry and since all of the letters are block capitals it takes a while for them to become attuned to spotting the words as they seem more used to spotting words in lower case. It is a game that really needs to be played against a challenger who has a similar command of English to you. As an adult you will invariably beat a child unless you are cheating to let them win and my children always hated winning if they thought that I wasn't trying. I never used the rule about cancelling out words if all players had them and just let the children score all of their words as they were happier to lose if they had scored 15 and I had scored 20 rather than them not scoring anything at all (I was always able to lower my score without them noticing!)
Due to the fact that I do word searches and crosswords a lot I think I just find it easier to spot the words and groups of letters than anyone else in my family so therefore I find more words even though I wouldn't say my vocabulary was that much better than theirs.
When setting the game up the clear lid does fit securely on to the tray so even though my children have shaken it quite vigorously in the past it has stayed on although it is quite cumbersome to hold whilst shaking as the domed lid makes it quite deep. The letters fall in random directions so I always found it beneficial for my children if I quickly turned them so that they were all facing the right way so that they could see them more easily.
The W, M and Z have underscores so that they will not be confused with other letters. The Q is already printed with a U so that you can immediately start making words which shouldn't be possible if it didn't happen to land by a U. The selection of letters on each cube seems quite random but I presume they have probably been calculated using letter frequency in words. A few have all consonants whilst others have mainly vowels whilst the majority seem to have a mixture. We have never had any problem making a good selection of words with the letters that have appeared.
This game is also suitable for playing solo. You simply challenge yourself to make the more words than on your previous turn. I have tried this a few times but I have decided that I prefer playing it on the computer against an imaginary opponent than playing it by myself as sometimes 12 words will be good and other times 30 words would be mediocre simply depending upon the letters that have appeared. This is also not a quiet game, it really rather noisy when you shake the letters.
Although I really enjoy this game I could only recommend it if you know you have people who would like to play it with you. My game hardly ever comes out of the cupboard and I now tend to rely on playing on versions on the internet if I fancy a game. The concept is simple and the pieces are well-made and seem durable although mines has not had enough play to really evaluate how much it would stand up to regular wear and tear. I was hoping my children would enjoy it more when they were a bit younger as I think word-games are educational but unfortunately neither of them has ever been particularly impressed with it. I do think the lack of pens and paper is a bit mean and could easily have been incorporated. Overall I think that the idea for this game is great but I can understand why many people would find it boring as there are no exciting twists to the gameplay at all.
Summary: Quick, vocabulary based game.
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