Reviewed by Lindsay Harris
Having previously reviewed Throw Throw Burrito, I was excited to try the latest release from the award-winning Exploding Kittens team – a tile unscrambling game called Little Wordy.
Described as ‘a sneaky two-player tile game for aspiring geniuses and would-be word wizards’, the aim is to guess the other player’s secret word from the letter tiles they’ve given you. BUT it’s not enough just to guess the word before your opponent; you must use as few clues as possible to do so. This evens the playing field, making the game about clever choices rather than just who has the biggest vocabulary.
As I’ve come to expect from Exploding Kittens, the artwork and design of the game is superb. The clue cards are illustrated with humorous bird-themed creations like Hum Reaper, Bow & Sparrow and Quid Pro Quail, which make the game a joy to look at. I also loved the two cloth bags they give you to store the letter tiles.
Although there’s an instruction booklet, it states in large print that you shouldn’t read it! Instead it directs you to go online and watch an instructional video, which I was pleasantly surprised to see was voiced by Mara Wilson (of Matilda and Miracle on 34th Street fame). It’s really useful that both players are able to watch at the same time – don’t you always hate being the person who’s given the boring job of reading the instructions?!? The video itself is 3 mins 47 secs, but we did find it took us longer than this to watch it, because we followed along and set the game up as we went.
The gameplay itself took us a little while to get the hang of, so if you’re a first-timer I’d recommend taking a quick peek at the instruction booklet and using their suggested set of Clue Cards to get familiar with the game and the different types of clue. But once you get into the swing of it, the game settles into a feeling of friendly competition, as you each try to decipher the other’s word (and chuckle to yourself when the other person heads off on a wild goose chase).
The box says the game takes about 15 minutes to play, and although our first game took longer than this while we were getting used to the rules, subsequent plays should be closer to the 15 minute estimate.
The game is recommended for ages 10+ and this seems about right. Since you don’t necessarily need to be an expert wordsmith, it allows you to play across generations, and it won’t always be the older or wordier person that wins.
Since Father’s Day is coming up, this would be a great gift for a dad who loves word play or even just likes a bit of friendly competition. It’s a two-player game, which makes it perfect for some one-to-one time, but if you’d like to play as a family you can split up into two teams to choose and guess the secret words.
Overall, this is a great game for someone who enjoys some sneakiness, a dollop of clever thinking and a little bit of subterfuge.
This product can be purchased from Exploding Kittens here.