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Upwords, as the name suggests is a word game. Since my daughter was given this as a present three years ago, at age 9, it has been a game that would always be top of my selection when choosing something to play, but sadly I struggle to find a willing volunteer to play with me. I think that this is because it actually requires using some intellectual thought and can be quite challenging to play. As much as I like to encourage stimulating play, my children both work pretty hard at school and on their homework, so in their opinion a game should be the complete opposite of anything that schoolwork demands and they therefore favour less academic board games such as the Game of Life and Cluedo, or the more electronic delights of the Wii and Nintendo DS. Occasionally I manage to coerce someone to play with me though and as I always enjoy word games, it can happily while away an hour for me, even if I may not be overly good at it.
I've always enjoyed scrabble and the original basis and principles of this game are similar. However, an extra dimension has been added; as well as placing words in 2D on the board you are also able to build words upwards by stacking the game tiles, making this a 3D game, which I find really enhances the enjoyment that I'd normally gain from playing scrabble.
Upwords was for sale on Amazon for £7.99 over Christmas, but now it appears that they only have old versions for sale for a staggeringly expensive £18 or a travel version for £10. Ebay currently has bids in for about £10. It comes in a square box, measuring 27 x 27 x 5cm, so is not too large to store away. It is produced by Hasbro who manufacture a large number of games.
Inside the box you will find a white plastic board, just slightly smaller than the box. This is divided into a grid of 100 small squares with a raised edge around each square. Four red stickers will need to be placed into the four central squares and these mark the starting point for game play and also four rubber feet which need to be attached to the base of the board to stop it either sliding across or scratching the playing surfaces. Additionally a packet of grey letter tiles is included, but you will need to find a container for them to be stored in once opened - not a great problem as a self sealing food bag does the job well enough. These tiles are just the same construction as those found in scrabble, but only have a letter printed on them and not a scoring number. They slot neatly over the raised grid and therefore don't slide out of place during play. The number of each letters is proportionate to their popularity in the English language, hence there are 8 Es, 6 Ss and thank goodness only one of the pesky Z and X, that I'm sure we all struggle to use when playing word games. One nice touch which makes the game a little easier for children is that 'QU' is one tile so you're not stuck with the Q if you haven't been lucky enough to draw a U as well. The final items in the box are four red plastic stands, again just like those in scrabble, on which the tiles are placed once allocated to each player. You'll also need to grab yourself a pencil and piece of paper for scoring as these are not included.
Between two and four players can play this game. Each player takes a stand and randomly selects seven tiles. We leave ours in the bag and pick tiles without looking, which seems to work fine, but the official guidance is that all tiles should be placed face down on the table prior to playing, to prevent any foul play and avoidance of the less popular letters, I guess. The next step is for each player to draw one tile to see who will have the first opportunity to create a word on the board. The person choosing the closest letter to the beginning of the alphabet goes first. Now finally the game can begin as the first player creates the first word using his selection of letters and places it straddling the one of the central squares, either horizontally or vertically, but in 2D. The aim of the game is for the players to then alternate play in a clockwise direction, building words that interlock with each other until all of the tiles have been used up. Initially we tend to find that we play in a 2 dimensional way and the first three or four turns for each player will be very much as per scrabble as complete new words score higher (more of this later). The board has far fewer squares than scrabble however, so quickly it becomes crowded and then 'stacking' of tiles and the fun begins. A player can change an existing word by placing one or more of their letters on top of letters already in play to create a new word, for example, CLIP can be changed to FLIP on one turn and then later it may be changed again to FLOP. The pieces are designed to stack neatly on top of each other and a pile of up to five tiles is permitted before that square is considered to be out of action. One slight problem that we've found is that you can inadvertently knock a tile off of a stack and it will fall into an empty square trapped between other pieces and either long nails or a knife are needed to edge it back out of the place.
I really enjoy this added dimension of play and it makes the game far more interesting. It can be as simple as changing one letter, making it suitable for children or can become as complex and challenging as needed to match the intellectual abilities of the players, as you can strive to change a greater number of letters or even to change the linking letter to create two new words, something that I don't think that I've ever managed to achieve. It should therefore be a very versatile game. It is recommended for ages 8 and above. My daughter managed well at age 9 when she was given it and I could imagine that as long as you can still visually see the layout, have reasonable dexterity in the fingers, and have retained a relatively normal cognitive level of functioning, it would be suitable for the very oldest of players. The intellectual challenge that it offers would certainly help with brain training and keeping the mind active and stimulated for older people and it also offers a good social outlet, as I always find that as well as playing the game a lot of social chit chat also goes on. Maybe if I concentrated more and chatted less I'd score better in the game, perhaps that's where I go wrong!
Onto scoring then. The game again deviates from scrabble when it comes to scoring. It can look quite complicated when first reading the instruction leaflet that comes with the game, but it is actually very simple when you get used to it. When a 2D word is created two points are gained for each tile included in the new word, so for example if a word contains four letters, 8 points will be scored. When stacking is used to create a 3D word one point is gained for each tile in that word, but each tile in the stack is included, so if the stack is 5 tiles high then that square earns 5 points. Those nasty J, QU, V, X and Zs gain the player an extra 2 points when they finally manage to create a word using them, so as well as feeling chuffed that you've managed to get rid of them from your stand, you also get bonus points. If two new words are created on a go as can happen if you're clever, then each word is scored separately. I find that this method of scoring is easier than scrabble and more manageable for children and it makes it fun trying to create stacks as high as possible. It is when we're trying to count the height of a stack that tiles do tend to knock off however so you need to be a bit careful. The winner is the player with the highest score when all of the tiles have been used, but be warned 5 points must be deducted for every tile that has not found a home on the board.
The game is most fun if lots of words are created that have the potential to be changed. Often shorter words are better for this and it can become a little frustrating if you've created an impressive long word initially, such as 'plunge' that I made early on in the last game that I played and then realise that there doesn't seem to be any way to change it and it sits there unchanged, boring and wasting squares throughout the rest of the game. Again this should make it easier for children who generally play with shorter words in traditional scrabble.
I think that this game should appeal to a wide audience and is a great tool to aid with a child's language development and spelling, if only you can persuade them that word games are a fun thing to do in their free time. Probably the greatest appeal though should be for adults who enjoy other types of word games and fancy a bit of variety. It should be able to provide a challenge to all but the most hardened scrabble players, as although it doesn't have the skill needed to maximise the use of triple letter scores etc, it can still be a very academic game. It is adaptable to play at the highest and lowest of skill levels. Personally I would love to give it five stars, but as I struggle to get my teenagers to play, I will downgrade it to four, as it obviously doesn't have enough appeal to tempt them away from their 'far more exciting' electronic gadgets. I find this very sad that they don't share my love of a simple stimulating game, but perhaps this is just my children and others would gain far more pleasure from it. However Hasbro have addressed this as they have created an electronic version, but at a whopping £40 plus I will stick with the hands on version. For those with limited dexterity however, this could be an excellent source of stimulation. I haven't played this though so cannot comment further.
We bought this game many years ago when my Mum was still alive (so way over 16 years ago, and probably over 20) as she used to love playing word games of all kinds and we thought this might be a different take on the normal games about at the time (scrabble and lexicon).
The game comes with a square board which has 10 x 10 slightly raised squares on it. (The old versions like we have have only got 8 x 8 squares and less tiles but I have put what you get now a days so you would know what to expect if you bought it today). You have tiles with letters on that you fit over these raised bits. The tiles themselves have raised bits on top so that you can stack them on top of each other.
To start the game each person picks seven tiles. You have to make words like in scrabble but the board doesn't have the triple or double squares on it like in scrabble. Instead you can stack the letters on top of each other to change a word and you get more points depending on how high the stack of letters is.
So say it is your turn first, you would have to make a word that covers one or more of the middle squares on the board. So if you put down the word BACK, then the next person might have an R that could go on top of the C to make BARK, but if they can fit this R inside another word like BIRD then they can lay down the whole word across like in a crossword so you would then have two words on the board, BIRD and Bark.
The first person who put down BACK would have scored four points (one for each letter) plus they would get an extra four points as all their word in touching the board. The second person who put down the word BIRD would get five points for the word BIRD (as you get one point each for any letters underneath your word) plus five points for the word BARK (same rules).
You are not allowed to add an S to the end of a word to make a plural in this game unless that S is included in another word you are placing down.
As you use up tiles you take more from the unused ones until they are all used up and no one can go. The winner would be the one with the most points.
This game gets better and better as you play along as the higher the stacks go the more points you are getting. You can just lay down one tile if you want to change a word, or any number of tiles changing the same word, you do not have to put down a whole separate word each time.
We find the kids love playing this game as once a word is down it is easy for them to think of a different word by just changing a few letters at a time. You can also help them spell words by doing this with them instead of playing the proper game, like you could put down a four letter word and then get them to change a letter and write down the new word and so on until they run out of ideas.
They also like making up crosswords on the board if they want something to do on their own which is another good thing for them to do to learn their vocabulary.
And then if you have really small children they just like stacking up the tiles into high stacks and knocking them down again (as long as they don't lose any). So this is quite a versatile game.
I would highly recommend this game if you are into word games as it is different to scrabble and doesn't take as long to play a game and a lot of fun too for all the family.
I have just had a look on Amazon to find out how much this game is to buy and it seems to be quite expensive, £37.99 for the Hasbro version, and there is a deluxe version which is £59.99 which includes and electronic counter and timer. You can buy a secondhand version by Parker Toys from £6.24 which doesn't include pp charges. I can't find it on the Toys R Us website, may be you might pick one up cheaper on Ebay or a better idea would be to look out in the local charity stores or boot fairs but make sure all the tiles are in there. There should be a tile for each square on the board, so the old version would have 64 tiles and the newer versions would have 100 tiles. Happy hunting xx
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If you are a lover of Scrabble and I have been over the years then you will also love this game called Upwords made by a company called Hasbro. In fact if you've played Scrabble to death then this is a great game to try something that's similar but at the same time different. The big difference with this game is that you can put letters on top of word that is already on the board, which is something you can't do with Scrabble. When I bought this a couple of years back now I paid about £10 for the game but I think if you get the deluxe version with the electronic time included then it will most probably set you back around £36 which is bit pricier.
In regards to the game itself the board is very similar to Scrabble and also alot of how you play the game. Each player takes 7 letter tiles in the same way and the board is made up squares where you place your letters to make words. The scoring in this game is actually not as complicated as scrabble. In this game each tile counts as one point as opposed to the different values you get in scrabble. There are also no double letter, triple letter scores for example. In my opinion this actually makes upwords much more about skill as you really have to work hard for your points whereas in scrabble there was a lot of skill involved but if you were given the right letters with high values you'd have a better chance of doing well.
As mentioned you can lay words or letters over the top of others and the tile stack on the board mounts up as the game continues up to 5 high as a maximum. It makes things a bit more tactical as you will get the points for each tile in the stack as well as the rest of your word.
To be honest with you having played both games now I actually prefer upwords as it's more challenging and adds more versatily and scope by the fact that you can build words upwards as well as sideways. Great fun and really stimulates the brain.
Upwords, a rival for scrabble?
Upwords has got to be one of the most addictive word games since scrabble,infact scrap that,it is the new scrabble! The challenge should you choose to accept it is to create as many words as you can from the seven lettered tiles you have chosen from the pile.The added twist is that you can stack your letters, eg - you have placed "town" on the board, the next player can then put a "g" on top of your "t" to make a new word "gown". Of course the points value will decline but once you are struggling to find words it makes it alot easier!!
The box and contents:
The box itself is as pictured above,blue with a picture of the board on it and several letters placed on the board.
You also get a selection of lettered tiles to play with.They cover all letters of the alphabet.As in most games "Q" and "U" are joined on the same tile making "qu".
The game is for upto 4 players and for the gameplay you get 4 red plastic letter stands, similar to that in scrabble.
You get a sheet of paper that describes the rules and instructions for the game, although it is rarely needed and the game is fairly simple to follow.
The only thing you dont get is a pencil and paper which are essential for gameplay, I usually keep some in the box.A dictionary comes in handy too!
How to play :
To play the game all the tiles are turned upside down so no one can see the letters, each player then takes a selection of 7 tiles.(make sure to mix well after each game!!)The players place their tiles on their tile stands away from prying eyes.Each player then randomly selects a letter from the box and shows it to the other players stating the letter chosen.The person with the letter closest to A has the first go.The pieces are then returned to the box.
The first player puts down a word with one of the letters placed within a red tile on the board,put there to indicate the centre of the board.Each letter used is worth 2 points.The players take their turns and the pattern continues.If the player places a tile on top of another - an upword - the points drop to 1 point per letter.The players replace any tiles used with new tiles from the box.
You can get extra points if two words are created in one turn, such as putting down the word "salad" running across the board and diet running down from the "d" at the end of "salad". In this case you would get the points from each word,if they were on the base level each would be worth 2 points, if there was any raised letters in one of the words you would only get one point for each letter.You also get an extra 2 points for using a "j,z,qu" or "x" in any words.
The end of the game is when a player has no tiles left and there are non in the pile to use, or when there are no tiles left and no one can take a turn.For each remaining tile the other players have left 5 points are removed.
The game costs about £10-£15 and is worth every penny!
In my opinion this game is a must for the toy cupboard and is one for people of all ages. It is ideal for a rainy day and you can spend hours playing it,you are guarenteed never to play the same game twice!!Both my husband,nephew and children all like to play this game and it has taken place in my kitchen it is played that much.It makes you think and can test your language - and spelling talent.You can have fun trying to outwit each other and laugh at some of the words that people try and sneak onto the board!! A great family game!
Upword in my opinion is a very similar game to scrabble in the fact that you create words from lettered tiles you have and using letters already on the board but this is a 3d version.
Having said this i wouldnt recomend this for the expert scrabbler like my dad as it is a lot more basic in the scoring system and requires a lot less thought, spelling ability and inteligence than the original scrabble game but for the less expert scrabbler like me it is great fun.
The basics of the game are very similar to scrabble, you place tiles onto a board to make words but it is a lot easier to score points and win at upword as the points system is different and you can creat a completely new word using just one letter ontop of another in an already formed word. EG pig could become pin with just the addition of one letter.
The scoring system is a little confusing to begin with but you soon get used to this but dont loose the book as it is often needed to refer back to for points totals.
You can get a few different versions of this game, there is a travel game which is good but the tiles are small and fiddly for anyone with large thumbs, a basic game and an electronic one that keeps tabs of your score.
This game is obviously only suitable once a child can read and spell but it is great for developing there skills at forming new words and improving there spelling, literacy and vocab. Having said this i too think it is a great game for adults.
To me, it feels like this game could have been made just a little better. I love the idea of stacking tiles on top of one another - it brings a new dimension to the classic Scrabble format. But this game differs from Scrabble in so many ways it can be frustrating. I should also say that the game never claims to BE Scrabble in 3D, I'm just drawing the comparison because I'm a huge Scrabble fan!
The aim of the game is to create words using lettered tiles. Players place their tiles on the game board and score points for each letter in their word and bonus points for stacking their tiles on top of other players. For example, if the word "DOG" was already in place on the board, the next player could place the letter "I" on top of the "O" and gain bonus points for creating this mini tower. There is a stacking limit of 5 tiles.
The thing that troubles me about the game is that the tiles do not have their individual worth marked on them. In Scrabble, for instance, the letter "A" is worth 1 point - this fact is clearly marked on the tile. In Upwords, you have to refer to the rule book to see what each tile is worth. Also, scoring has to be written on a piece of paper - which is how many Scrabble players do it of course - unless you've got one of those little tile racks with pegs to keep score... man, I love those pegs.
I don't think there's much more I can add. It's a fun game - the 3rd dimension adds lots of fun possibilites. It's easier than Scrabble in that respect - players can just win off the back of their opponents success. For example, the word "QUACK" could craftily be changed to "QUICK" for some easy points. There are no special scoring zones as such (like there are in Scrabble). I think the game would've benefited from more helpful tile design and some special scoring spots - in the corners for instance.
If you've ever played Scrabble you have probably come across a situation whereby you can't find a word to put on the board but if only you could put one of your letters on top of a word that is aleady on the down, you could create a great word...well, in Upwords this is exactly what you can do!
The game board and game play is very similar to Scrabble in that each player takes 7 letter tiles and the board is made up of squares where you have to place your letters to form words that interlink with the words that are already down on the board.
Unlike Scrabble, the scoring is more simple with each tile counting as one point rather than different letters being worth different amounts. That said, some of the tougher to place letters (J, Z etc) do add an extra 2 points to your score. There are no double letter, or triple word squares like in Scrabble, but if you place a word in a single layer on the base of the board (ie not on any other tiles) you get double the score of the word.
As the game goes on, the tile stack up (to a maximium of 5 tiles high) and the words change. This element of placing tiles on top of other tiles really adds to the tactical nature of the game as you get points for each tile in each stack of the word you have created, if it is a long word and there are several stacks with a few tiles, your score can soon add up... but so could the score for the next player if they can add to a stack on the word you just made! Also, you have to weigh up whether it would score you more points to put a word down in a single layer and get double points or would you be better adding to a stack?
This tactial element of the Upwords takes what could easily have been a less intellectual version of Scrabble which allowed you to take the easy option of adding on top of other words, and transforms into a really good fun game which requires more thinking than you would initially credit it with. It is difinitely easier to play than Scrabble as there is normally an easy option to take when you are struggling to think of something to put on the board but personally I think this actually makes it much more enjoyable than Scrabble which at times can become a long and drawn out game as each player struggles to come up with anything to ad to the board.
As an owner of both games, I can tell you that Upwords is by far the more played of the two and definitely the more enjoyed of the two!!!
If you enjoy using your brain when playing a game but find Scrabble a bit too dry to be really fun, give Upwords a try, it's available for about £10 from most places (mor if you go for the deluxe version with electronic scoring and timer...totally unnecessary!) and I'm sure you will find it great fun!
For anyone who likes word games this is an interesting twist on some classics.
The idea of upwords like many word games is to score the highest points. Points are counted by the number of tiles on or under the word (the balance is between getting a word on the flat (double points) and counting a stack (to a max of 5 per stack)
The games is, like scrabble, set up in a traditional crossword fashion and players take turns to lay some or all their seven tiles on the board.
This games checks out logical basic maths (worth more flat or on stacks), knowledge of words (what is similarly spelt, howe many changes you need to make to change the word, how many changes you can possibly make and still make a word). If you can change several words at once you can score tonnes more.
This game is a challenge not only against your opponents but also against your mental acuity. The more used to this game you become, the more easily you can see the possibilities.
My mum and I enjoy playing board games, and in particular like a game of Scrabble. So when we saw Upwords on sale in an outlet decided to give it a try as it's a similar premise, in fact I believe in the States at least it is called Scrabble Upwords.
HOW TO PLAY
After selecting 7 tiles, each player must choose a letter and the player closest to A begins. The first turn must cover at least one of the central red squares. Very Scrabble-like so far.
However the difference is that for every word you play of one "layer" you get 2 points per letter, and those with several layers get one point per letter. You also get two extra points for using the rarer letters - Z, X, V, J and Qu, of which there are only one each in the set. You can lay a new word where there's room as long as every word it intersects with is valid. You can also change an existing word by adding a tile on top of a letter - for example changing the word THIN to THAN by adding an A.
Because multi-layered plays only get one point per letter it's sometimes not worth going down that route, but as the board becomes full you can really cash in once the towers get higher. You can't stack more than five letters, and as long as the tiles you add are all in the same word, you can sometimes change two or three words at a time if you play skilfully, getting the points for all of these words.
Unlike Scrabble, plurals aren't allowed unless they are part of a new word in another direction, but you can easily sponge off your opponent's moves by altering a letter to high towers!
When you run out of tiles, or none of the players can move, the points are added up, with five points per tile remaining unused deducted from the player's score.
Upwords is a game for 2-4 players and for the two-player games I participated in, they mostly took around 30-45 minutes to complete.
QUALITY AND FEEL OF THE GAME
While the board itself and tiles are well made, we were a little puzzled as to why we had to affix red stickers to the central spaces and "Upwords" labels to each side. This did cheapen the feel overall, surely it wouldn't have been too difficult to print that directly onto the board?
The board does have feet, which was appreciated as when the towers begin to get a bit higher, you do need to move the board around a bit to see what letter is hiding behind, so our table wasn't going to get damaged. It also means that the pieces won't go flying if you knock into it as it should stay put.
The one addition I think would have been welcome would be a bag to put the letters in. The instructions say to lay them upside down on a table top, but this takes some time to set up and surely it would be easier to fish them out of a bag, and make it easier to store them without any going astray. We ended up putting them inside a little gift bag left over from Christmas!
I really enjoyed the game and won by miles which I don't usually in Scrabble, but Mum prefers the traditional two dimensional game (probably because she lost!). The beginning of the game is quite slow with lower scores, but once you get towards the end you can pick some pretty decent points.
The board is smaller than a Scrabble board, and of the 100 letters there are less of the "nasties" such as X, J, Y etc. As a result we found ourselves with really good words but nowhere to play them because the board was full.
What I did like is that even though your opponent might play a move where you were wanting to go, this doesn't always stop you from playing over the top of it. I hate getting a good word spoiled and sometimes it takes me a while to think of a move in Scrabble, but Upwords flowed pretty freely.
The game suggests it is for age 9 up. Obviously how well you play depends on how wide your vocabulary is, but I do think younger players would need a particularly kind opponent for it not to be a total walkover.
I had a lot of fun playing Upwords and prefer it to Scrabble now as it just adds a dimension to a game I already like - literally!
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
We bought our copy of the game from The Works for £4.99. You can find the game at Amazon for £9.17 at the time of writing, so this is one of the cheaper board games as they are, I find, as a whole pretty darn expensive! This is a fairly popular game and I shouldn't think you would have any trouble finding it for under a tenner on the high street or online.
This game is a great game to get all the family together. Made by HASBRO
For 2-4 players.
Age 8 and above.
It will help with increasing your English Language as you will learn new words each time you play. If you play it with different age groups you begin to understand new words and meanings. Also it is a great for the mind. I think it is a little better than Scarbble as it does not just go in one single layer across the board.
The board itself is made from plastic and would be hard to break, so would with stand a good few years of playing. The tiles are also made from plastice so will not break or become shabby in time.
The idea is to create the best words from your tiles, very similar to Scrabble although you can build up and not just across. There are a few restrictions as to how high you can go and also u you cannot cover all the tiles at once. The rules are very simple and most children can easily play.
This is available at alomost all the large stores also on the internet this is the cheapest I found at Amazon £13.97, but you have to pay postage as it is under £15.00. Although it may be cheaper as we are drawing nearer to XMAS.
Well Worth buying
Calling all Scrabble lovers and masters I have found a challenge for you that will really show just how good you are with your word's. Upwords is a great new board game that I have just discovered by accident because last nught I popped out to buy a game of Scrabble because a friend was coming round for a quite night and few glasses of wine but when I got to Toy's are Us they did not have a single game left so I opted for a game I had never tried before yes you got it Upwords. So what do you do I hear you asking well for all those that have played scrabble take scrabble's basic rules of word building and remove any tile scores and triple points,double points places on the board,then add the fact that you can change a word by piling up letters on top of exsisting words and score points for each tile and you have Upwords. CONFUSED well yes I would expect you to be but it really is simple as with Scrabble the idea is to score more points for word's you create from your allotted tiles than your opponent,word's that are in the English dictonary are allowed but no names or slang words unless they are in the Dictonary. This game is real fun and for those who love Scrabble a welcome change to the norm but beware there are more possibilities than you can imagine when one letter put down to change a word can win you the game even at the very end. A huge improvement on Scrabble is also the fact that you can rotate the board as it is on a wheel and can be turned to face the player who's turn it is so for all those cheaters out there no more leaning round to peek at the other persons pices under the excuse of trying to see whats on the board sorry. What's more this game is extremely cheap and can even be used to help your children along with their spelling you will be suprised what they can learn when they really want to win a game,for the adults you can also as we did last night spice it up a bit
by allowing let's say non-dictonary words that we all recognise childish I know but what else do you do after 3 bottles of wine lol. At £9.99 this game is a real bargain in anyones book so if you love word games and are looking for something other than scrabble then this is for you.
I have always enjoyed reading and spend most of the time not spent here with my head in a book. As a result, I have always enjoyed playing word games. From a very early age, I was introduced to Scrabble. My parents believed in getting me used to words as early as possible. When I got a bit older, I spent more and more time reading and the Scrabble board got put in the cupboard, not to be seen again for many years. For Christmas last year (2001), my mum bought me Scrabble for the PC, which I really enjoyed and it got me back into word games again. I remembered seeing Upwords in WHSmiths a few years ago and thought I would see if it was still available anywhere. I have found that getting board games can be a real nightmare, as no-one seems to buy them anymore hence not many stores sell them either. Luckily, WHSmiths had a large stock of board games and I was able to bring Upwords home for the measly sum of £9.99. They even had a bag that was exactly the right size for the box so that was a double result. I visit my Nan regularly for a chat, so I took Upwords with me for a test run. There was some setting up to do so I will go through the process. As you will see on the box, the board is a plastic affair that looks like the base of a pyramid. To make it fit in the box, it is supplied in two halves that need to be put together. This is achieved with the use of plastic clips that are moulded to the board. They are easy to push into place and when you finish playing, you squeeze the clips and the board can be separated again for storage. The clips are very sturdy, but I think that if you use the board a lot, the clips could get bent or snapped over time from the stress of being pressed. Once the board is pressed together, there is a square panel that you press down into the middle four spaces of the board. This area is used as the starting square. It too has clips to press in and these look as if they may break more easily. Time will te
ll. If you are so inclined, there are some Upwords stickers supplied so you can decorate the board. The whole process of building the board is very simple and only takes seconds. I would recommend that an adult build the board though as young children may pinch their fingers between the two halves of the board. It will not cause an injury but would probably bring a tear to the eye. Also supplied is a base for the board that acts as a turntable. This would be a very useful feature to enable the player to see the board the right way round on their turn but for one flaw. The turntable does not lift the board off the table enough and as you turn the board, the pointed corners of the board will scratch a polished tabletop. If you were going to use this game on a polished table, I would recommend that you use a cloth to protect the surface. The turntable has its uses though. The rubber feet prevent the plastic board from sliding all over the place but I think that rubber feet should have been supplied to fit on the corners of the board as well. Having set up the board, I proceeded to read the instructions. They are printed on a large sheet of paper that is the same size as the area of the box and is laid in the bottom. I would have preferred a booklet, as it is awkward to read this enormous sheet. In its favour, the instructions are comprehensive and well written. They take you through the game in a step by step fashion so you can play the game as you read the instructions. You probably want to know how to play the game so here goes. The basic principle is the same as Scrabble. You have to place words in a crossword fashion onto the board in order to score points. The highest scoring player wins at the end of the game. With the standard Scrabble though, you could only alter a word by adding letters to the beginning or end of the word. With upwords you can alter a word by putting another letter into it. For instance, If you played the wo
rd HAT across the board, I could play the word HIP downwards so the P was placed on the H, or I could place it with the I on the A. If I couldn't cross the word due to surrounding letters, I could play the word CUT downwards creating the word CHAT in standard Scrabble way. This opens up a whole new way of playing and creates opportunities to use even the most difficult letters. The big problem can be the way that you ration your use of letters. The first time I played, the word HOT was played. I changed it to HUT, HIT, HAT and back to HOT again. I had then run out of vowels and couldn't do anything with the letters I had. So although you have the advantage of being able to play more words, you have to think hard to avoid only having useless letters left. Scoring is very simple. All letters are worth one point. If you play a word so that none of the letters are piled, you get double points for the word. This encourages players to spread the game out. There is one Q tile but they have printed it as Qu. This is good because you can play it a lot more easily. It is also one of the bonus letters. These are letters that are hard to incorporate in words. The letters J, Qu, V, X and Z are all bonus letters. When you use these letters to create a word, you get two bonus points. That bonus only applies at the time they are placed so you don't get the bonus if you make another word with the letter on the next turn. When letters start getting piled, you get one point for every letter in the stack. That is what makes piling the letters so important. If you cannot make a move (This rarely happens), you can pass or you can change a single one of your tiles with one in the bag. I tend to relax this rule. In order to keep the game flowing, I play with the rule that you can change as many letters as you wish. This ensures that no player is isolated from the game for a long time. It just depends whether you are playing seriously or for fun.
I find Upwords to be a very enjoyable pastime. A game generally takes between one and one & a half hours to play unless you have some seriously useless letters and need lots of time to consider your move. I find it very annoying though that the game is not supplied with any score sheets. You have to make you own up on a piece of paper. The pad needs to be A4 sized if you want to tally the scores in a single column. Now for some boring info. The supplied equipment is: 1 game board in two parts, 1 push-in Start section, 1 turntable with 4 rubber feet, 1 label sheet, 1 green letter bag, 4 tile racks, the instruction sheet and 100 letter tiles. The game is made by Parker, which is a well known brand in board games. The board is 32cm by 32cm in size and has 100 squares (10 by 10) so it is a bit smaller than a standard Scrabble board. Being supplied with four tile racks, funnily enough, it is a game that is suitable for 2 to 4 players It is recommended that the game not be used by children under 3 years old due to containing small parts that are bite sized. Enough said. The box in the picture shows the old style box. The newest version comes in a bright green box with UPWORDS written on it in giant white letters and a photo of the playing board with letters on. The bottom of the box shows an excessively posed photograph of a steriotypical post nuclear (you will understand if you have seen the Young Ones) family enjoying a game. Overall, if you love Scrabble, you will like Upwords. It is very interesting to play and gives a refreshing twist to the old favourite. Upwords makes an ideal family game and also allows you to get the brain cells working. Get the kids playing. You get the double benefit of some quality family time mixed with knowing that your children are learning (but the kids don't need to know they are learning do they?). For the small sum of £9.99, you can't go far wrong. Than
ks for reading :o)
I’ve just spent a few hours of happy fun, playing a game called Upwords. This game, by Parker toys, is described on the box as “the 3D game of high rise word building.” The games set up is very simple. It consists of a raised plastic board , with a space underneath to insert a small turntable, so that the board can be rotated . This makes playing all the more fun, as you haven’t got the inconvenience of craning your neck to see what the words on the board are. We did find that turning the board using the turntable, was easier on some surfaces than on others. You’ll have to experiment on surfaces in your home, to find the best. Hopefully it’ll be somewhere that you want to play !! Also included are 4 letter racks, 100 letter tiles and a bag to hold them in. Each letter tile is worth a different amount of points. For example, a “w” is worth 2 points, and a “b” is worth 3 points- remind anybody of scrabble yet? Well it should do. Upwords is similar to scrabble, but doesn’t take as long to play .The scoring of Upwords is not as complicated as Scrabble. I find the game more challenging, and not as boring! Each player places 7 letter tiles on his rack, and replaces the amount that he has used at each turn. The idea of the game is to score as many points as possible. This can be done in the conventional scrabble way of simply making new words, or in the Upwords fashion , either by making new words; or changing existing words to create new ones, by stacking the tiles on top of tiles already on the board . An example of this would be to turn the word “hear” into “near” by stacking the “n” on top of the “h”. All very simple !! The game is over when all the tiles are used up, or when no-one can make a word with the tiles that are left. The winner is the person with the most points, after deducting 5 points for each remaining tile. The s
coring system is well explained in the instructions, and easy to follow. We played the game tonight with the children, in teams of boys v girls. To make it easier for them, we didn’t worry about adding up the scores and just enjoyed ourselves with trying to find words. Some of the words made were quite basic, but it is good practice for the children –it can only benefit their literacy skills to practice word games, and the sense of achievement they get when they’ve thought up a new word is fantastic! They enjoy the game so much that they have been playing it without the adults, and coming up with some really impressive words – the trouble in playing with grown ups, is that they tend to take over !! The game costs £9.99, which is good value for something that will give the family, and friends hours of fun. In these days of fast living, with everybody in the family doing their own thing, it’s a good idea to try and get everybody together as often as possible, to share some quality time. Upwords is a great way of doing this. Definitely recommended by me, and mine!!
Upwords is scrabble with a pretty damn cool twist - You can play in 3D. I was introduced to this game last year by my girlfriend and have enjoyed playing it ever since (especially when I win). It works like so: Every player (up to four) has seven letters to start and the person who reckons they can build the longest word goes first. Words which are placed directly onto the board, without covering other letters, count for double. So if the starting word is 5 letters it will get 10 points, unless it contains a 'difficult letter' like q,j,x or z when it counts twice. The player would then pick up another 5 letters to replace them. the instructions for the game are well set out, and make this all clear. The next player has the option of adding to the word in a manner similar to scrabble and utilise the double points option , or build on top of the word where each letter in the 'pile' counts for one point. The next player can then build on top of that and so on until the pile is five letters high. The beauty of this is that you can alter words by putting down just a couple of letters in the right places, or even a cheeky s at the end, and you get more points than the person who wrote the word before you. As you may have guessed, the winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game. The end of the game happens when one player is out of letters or when everyone agrees that they cannot go. Each letter you are left with at the end takes 5 points off your score and the 'difficult letters' take 10 off. Yes, so its a good idea to get rid of those ones as early as you can!!! Depending on how many players you have, the game will take about one hour. I think the price of the board game is around 20 pounds and there is a cheaper travel version available, which is just as much fun, if a little bit more fiddley. IN summary, I highly recommend this game to anyone, especially if you are a fan of wo
rd games. I think most people enjoy scrabble, but I find it a little boring, Upwords adds that little bit extra which makes it that little bit more fun. Just make sure you decide who is going to clean it up at the end before you start!!!
Scrabble is a great game but 'Upwords' is in a league of its own. A simple word game taken a step further and yet still remains really simple and great fun. The idea is the same as with Scrabble. Each of the players (as many as 4) has 7 letter counters and has to place a word on the board in the same manor as Scrabble. But letters can be place on top of others to change the word for example 'time' can be changed to 'tile' and then to 'mile'. Or the word can be completely change, e.g. 'plant' can be altered to make 'smile' just so long that any words leading from it still make sense. Letters can only be added in one plane of play, down or across. The only other restriction is that only 5 tiles can be placed on top of each other although we once played without the 5-high restriction just for a variation. The scoring is really simple. If the letter is one tile high off the board i.e. no other tiles beneath it, then it scores 1 point. If it's two tiles high it scores 2 points and so on. If a word is made entirely of tiles flat on the board with no others beneath any, then the word scores double. The letters Q, J, X, V and Z also score double regardless of their height on the board - a Q tile with 3 other tiles underneath it will now score 8. Scoring can be huge - I think our highest ever has been about 350 with the highest score on a single turn being 38. The board and the tiles are made of tough heard wearing plastic and are designed to fit together to allow successful stacking - in fact, we have managed to stack every single tile in a tower! The board snaps in two to fit back in the box and the letters are held neatly in a little drawstring bag. Overall this game is fab. Not only educational but great fun and easy to play. It's a great game for older children and adults I played Travel Upwords for the first time today and I have to say, I am very
impressed. It is an exact miniature version of the Original (except for the clever little turn style thingy!). The letters bag and the letter holders neatly fit inside the fold-away box. The only problem is that the letters don't stack very well - when there are 5 letters high, they tend to slide off, especially from the edge of the board...so unfortunately no 100-tile tall towers!! I'm off to Greece in 10 days so I can test it out for real!