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I received the Countdown board game as a Christmas present and although I rarely watch the programme it is still a really easy game to learn. In the first place I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the game but it is not a bad game. I don't consider it a favorite though, or anywhere close.
Like the programme the game has nine rounds, 6 word rounds, 2 number and 1 conundrum. I think this is a good amount of rounds as it isn't too long or too short. If it was too long I would probably get fed up of playing.
The word game, this round includes choosing nine letters and making the longest word out of them you can. There is 30 seconds to do this using the letters only once and writing it down. As the letters are chosen randomly their may not even be a nine letter word which could be found in the dictionary. It is definitely easier said than done! This is not my favourite round but it is the most frequent. I find it can be very hard to find these long words, especially when I'm always playing with my mum.
The letter cards all have c or v on the back so it is easy to ensure you pick the right cards and the letters on them are big and bold so you can see them from quite a distance away. The paper is provided with a space for each of the games and a grand total. There are also two pencils which is useful but what about the rest of the players!
The best part of the game is the classic countdown clock. There is a small blue box which when pressed does the 30 second sound effect. This is a great part of the game. Unfortunately it is not so great if you have children around pressing it over and over again as it is quite loud.
The number round, this is my favourite round and if I ever watch countdown this is usually why. As there are only two rounds it is a long wait. For this round there must be six number cards chosen and put in the center of the playing area. You must then roll the 9 sided dice which is provided three times to make a three digit number. That is the target number which you now have to make using the six numbers only once and adding, subtracting, times or divide to get it exactly in the 30 seconds. I usually manage to get these whilst everyone else struggles which helps me get my score back up from the failed word round. If no one gets the target number the closest person wins the round.
The last game is conundrum. For this you pick one conundrum card and place it in the playing area. Within 30 seconds you must work out the anagram. For me this round usually consists of us all sitting there staring at the card for 30 seconds thinking to ourselves, I'm not going to get this, why am I bothering. We rarely manage to solve it as they seem to be so hard, despite it being for eight plus.
I don't think it is the kind of game you would buy for an eight year old. Maybe they could join in but it is not the easiest of games, especially if your eight playing against adults.
Although this is a good game I only really like the number round. Make a game with more of that and it may get a better score but otherwise I give it three out of five. I wouldn't rush out to buy it!
Most people must have heard of a television game show called countdown; or you should have since it's been on the television since dinosaurs walked the earth, or since 1982 anyway. But if you haven't heard of it it's simply a game consisting of two contestants, a selection of letters and numbers with a clock and a memorable theme tune.
Well, since this game show was aired it became more and more popular, gaining viewers as it aired. So what usually happens with television shows that become popular?
Yes, you've guessed it, there's a board game on sale these days, making more money for those people involved in what started out as a harmless bit of fun for people who liked words and numbers.
But first, the game itself, both the television show and the board game, as they are both played in the same way, sort of....
(If you know how this is played then you can skip this bit...)
The game consist of what is called letter rounds followed by a numbers game. Being played in a way that there are three letter round followed by a numbers game, then there's three more letter games followed by another numbers game. Finally, you play two more letter rounds and a final numbers game finishing off with what is called a countdown conundrum.
What are the 'letter round' and 'number games' then?
The letter rounds consist of a player choosing the 'letter tiles', either a consonant or a vowel until there are nine letter on the rack. Then the two players make the longest word they can from the nine letters they can see.
The numbers game consists of a player choosing six 'number tiles', those tiles having such numbers as 25,50,75 and 100, which are the 'large numbers, and the low numbers being numbers such as 2, 3, 5, 7,8,10... (you get the point).
Once the 6 'number tiles' are on show a 'total amount' number is made up, with this number being almost any three digit number.
The players then have to try and make that 'total amount' number out of the chosen numbers, using some or all the numbers only once.
Then there's the finally...
This is called the countdown conundrum, which is where a nine letter word comes into view with the letters all jumbled up.
And the aim of the game is..?
Well, it's simply to get as many points as you can.
In the letter rounds a player gets the same points as the letters in their word, so if they get a five letter word they get 5 points, a seven letter word gets 7 points and an eight letter word gets 8 points, but only the player with the highest points score, or longest word, actually gets the points. If a player gets a nine letter word they get a double score, so nine letters used would give them 18 points.
As for the numbers games; if a player gets the exact target number then they get 10 points, but if they get five points either side of the target number they get 7 points, or 5 points for six to ten away from the target number. Anything over that scores nothing at all and isn't really worth declaring.
The conundrum round...
When the mixed up nine letter word spins round the player who unscrambles it and is quickest to the buzzer earns 10 points, that's it, there's no other points awarded in this round.
That's the scoring system, so who is the winner then..?
The winner is the person who has scored the most points after all the rounds, including the conundrum.
So that's how the game is played, and as I said, this board game is played exactly the same way as the television show, although in the board game there's a few things missing, such as Rachel Riley, (who took over from Carol Vorderman), Nick Hewer, (who's the latest in the list since the late Richard Whiteley), and Susie Dent in the dictionary corner.
This board game comes in a lovely blue box, (NO, not Doctor Who in his Tardis), and consists of a playing board, a countdown clock, 100 letter cards, 14 number card, 30 conundrum card, a score pad and 2 pencils.
The cards are quite important but the pencils, and even the score pads, can be replaced.
This is a fun game to play, being for 2 people or more, aged 8 and upwards, although younger ages can join in as you don't really have to take this game too seriously and silly words can be used, (no rude word unless that's the sort of game you want to play).
As I said, playing this game is more or less the same as the television game show, picking letters and numbers then trying to get the longest word or closer numbers, finishing with the nine letter conundrum.
The countdown clock actually works, and you don't need batteries, you just need to wind it up a little so that it counts down the 30 seconds, but don't expect the countdown theme tune to blast out as there's no speaker so it won't.
The board itself is straight forwards to understand, having spaces for the letter, with the numbers being placed below.
The cards themselves aren't too bad either, feeling sturdy like a good set of playing cards really, so they should last a while.
Then there's the conundrum cards which simply give a jumbled up selection of letters to be sorted into the right word.
Now here's the downside...
The numbers game is spoilt beyond belief as it doesn't come up with a random number for you to try and reach. You have to write down a number before the number cards are chosen.
What I tend to do on this is select three of the lower single digit numbers to come up with a three digit number, such as a '3', a '5' and a '7', which makes the target number '357'. Then it's a matter of selecting the numbers as normal to try and get that '357' target.
And the countdown clock doesn't blast out the countdown theme tune which is what it really needs to add to the 'tension', but I have been told that there is a little box available which does actually play the theme tune for the standard 30 seconds, but I can't guarantee this as I have never seen it.
So what about the price.
This game sells for around the £15.00 region in most good retailers, and some bad ones too. But I have seen it on the shelves in charity shops fro a couple of quid.
Would I recommend this?
Yes and No.
Yes, if you can get it for less than a tenner, mainly as it is fun to play and, don't tell the kids, it can be quite educational too.
As for the No, well, I don't think that it's worth paying over £15.00 as the numbers game isn't really thought out and the fact that the players have to do actually come up with the target number before picking the numbers themselves is pretty shameful on the games designers. I mean, it doesn't take a genius to come up with a system that picks out three numbers automatically.
Plus, the clock does countdown thirty seconds but it should be able to play the theme tune as well, instead, it's left to the likes of us the hum the tune ourselves, and this causes us the get confused when trying to think of a word or get the number target.
In all, a game that can be fun but can also have been made a little better
© Blissman70 2012