Product Type: other board games
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A good way to round off a family evening
Member Name: JOHNDMR
Date: 05/09/04, updated on 05/09/04 (56 review reads)
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There are plenty of good ways to round off an enjoyable family evening. One to which we have been introduced recently is a round of games of Boggle.
Advertised as ?the 3-minute word game? (though we don?t stick to that too strictly ? read on), Boggle has a certain amount in common with Scrabble, except it?s much shorter and less complicated. It comes in a compact box, measuring about 7? by 10?, and contains a plastic tray with lid, 16 dice (six-sided with letters, not numbers 1-6) and a sand timer.
Any number (even one) can play. All you need, apart from the game itself, are pens or pencils and a sheet of paper. You shake the dice and each player (if more than one, obviously) sees how many words of three or more letters he or she can make from the resulting grid. The rules stipulate a time limit of three minutes, which is all the sand timer allows you. However, we time ourselves by a watch and take five minutes instead.
The letters must be connected or joining horizontally, vertically or diagonally. A combination of the two, i.e. two or three letters in a straight line and then diagonally, is allowed, as long as none of the dice is used more than once. Plural nouns are permitted as well as the singular form, which is handy if there?s a strategically-placed S. Foreign words, abbreviations and proper nouns are not. Though the rules on the box aren?t that specific, we think generic wildlife names are permissible, but not personal names, places or surnames. Foreign names can be tricky, as so many have been absorbed into English that can be considered acceptable now though they might not have been a few years ago. For example, SAUTE ? as in sauté potatoes ? comes into that category. Just be consistent ? it saves arguments!
Once time is up, each player takes it in turns to read out his or her list, crossing off any words which
have been found by another player. You don?t score anything for such words, but any which nobody else has score as follows: 3 or 4 letters, 1 point; 5 letters, 2 points; 6 letters, 3 points; 7 letters, 5 points; 8 or more, 11 points. (The letters QU are to be found on one dice, as Q on its own wouldn?t be much use, so they count as one letter). The highest-scoring player is the winner. On most games I?ve played, a few 5-letter words are par for the course, though any of 6 and upwards are a rarity. I?ve yet to see a word of 8 letters in our games.
The rules suggest that you agree on a score to be reached, or else carry on until someone has got to 100. We tend to make it the best of three or four games, depending on how wide awake everyone still is.
Oh yes, have a dictionary handy. Many?s the time we?ve found a word which looks convincing, even though we?re not sure whether it genuinely exists or not. Recently I found I could make GRICE, and though I had no idea what a grice was (unless something out of a poem by Edward Lear or similar), thought that was too good to waste. After time was up and we were comparing our lists, I checked the dictionary and found it was (is) ?a small sucking pig?. Nobody else had it, so two extra points for me.
We now regularly play it within the family. My octogenarian mother is still as bright as a button, especially on cryptic crosswords and TV quiz shows like ?Mastermind?, and nearly always beats wife and self. Recently my sister-in-law, her husband and their small daughter (aged 7) came to stay, and joined in the fun. She has been brilliant at Scrabble, but found Boggle more difficult and did less well than us, while her husband nearly always thrashed us.
Their daughter loved Boggling so much that she begged for a game before breakfast each morning a
s well as before bedtime. We modified the rules a little for her (though not for ourselves) by letting her use letters from anywhere on the grid, even if they didn?t join, two-letter words, and also allowing her to have proper names. My wife was so impressed that she promptly bought her her own set on eBay. The manufacturers recommend ?ages 8 to adult?, but there?s no reason why younger children can?t be accommodated with a little flexibility on the rules front.
A Boggle set should be readily obtainable in high street toy shops and the like. On checking the toys section of Amazon.co.uk, I was a little surprised not to see it listed as readily available new, though there are new and used sets offered by third party vendors on Amazon Marketplace, from £9.95 upwards. The US site sells it new at around $14.99. Alternatively, type ?boggle? into google or any other search engine, and you can play it online as well ? though to do this you have to adhere more strictly to the rules!
Capital letters courtesy of: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php
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