When I first got married, I still played a lot of computer games,
something I do very little of now. My wife couldn't understand how I
could spend so much time in front of a computer screen, and said so
often. Then I downloaded a game called TextTwist, and she was hooked.
TextTwist was basically a game where one finds the anagrams of six or
seven letter words. Letterflip (Out of the Box Games, 2004 - Ruddell
Designs), reminded me of a mix between Hangman and TextTwist.
For my wife and me, it was a good combination. In fact, she found
that many of her friends enjoyed playing the game, and it was even a
good tool for teaching English. There are several people who have
found the game boring, but they are the same type of folk who dislike
Hangman. Letterflip is a nice, short, two-player game that works
really well for people who enjoy word games.
Each player is given a flip board that contains the entire English
alphabet, with a slot in the side to stick in a Letterflip card. Each
card contains a three letter word, four letter word, five letter word,
and six letter word. The card is placed so that the three letter word
is showing through a small window. The game is then ready to begin,
starting with one of the players.
On a player's turn, they can either guess a letter in their
opponent's word, guess the word itself, or guess the location of a
letter in that word (if they already know all the letters.) When
guessing a letter, if the other player replies in the negative, the
guesser simply pushes that letter down on their card, and the other
player takes their turn. If the player's guess is correct, however,
the other player must tell them how many times the letter occurs in
their word. The guessing player pulls a tab out of the letter that
shows stars - far enough to recall how many of that letter is in the
opponent's word. The correct guesser then gets another turn.
When guessing a word, if a player is incorrect, play passes to the
other player. If correct, the player flips all their letters up,
pushes their tabs in, and prepares for the next word. The opponent
moves their card so that the next word is showing (four letter word
after three, etc.) The correctly guessing player gets another guess.
When guessing the position of a letter in a word, they get another
turn if correct, and end their turn if incorrect. The game continues
until one player has guessed all four words on the opponent's card, at
which point they are declared the winner!
Some comments on the game…
1.) Components: The trays themselves are good quality, with the
letters made out of plastic - the whole thing reminds me of the old
"Guess Who" game, but of better quality. One problem was that the
letters only were able to be pushed back up from underneath - which
was fine when finishing the end of a word, but if you pushed the wrong
letter down by accident, could be a pain. A "letter count" tile is
included on the tray, with a tab that allows a player to keep track of
what number letter word they are working on. The cards are small, but
very readable, and fit very nicely into a small plastic insert that
comes in the box. A little divider card is included for each side, so
that players can recall which cards they've already used. Everything
fits inside a small, sturdy box, and while there are no illustrations
anywhere - I'm not sure they are needed.
2.) Rules: The rules booklet is four sturdy pages of full-colored
formatting and are simple and detailed - as detailed as you can get
for a simplistic game that's in the OOTB lineup. The game is easy to
teach and learn, and anyone who's played Hangman before will
immediately catch on to how the game is played.
3.) Upwords: Ruddell Designs also designed Upwords, the box yells at
us. And just as Upwords (in my opinion) is a more fun variant of
Scrabble, so Letterflip is a more fun version of Hangman. In Hangman,
one simply has to be a better guesser of letters. In Upwords, one has
to quickly figure out how those letters go together, which is a bit
more challenging (= fun).
4.) Variants: The letter cards have two sides, yellow and blue. The
blue side is considerably harder, allowing players to play a more
difficult game, or to allow one player to give a handicap to a less
experienced player. The rules also suggest (and I do recommend) that
younger children can play with only the three and four letter words.
5.) Words: Speaking of the number of letters in a word, the game is
fair when playing with the three and four letter words, but it's at
its best when the five and six letter words are chosen. At this
point, some serious unscrambling (especially with the blue cards) must
be done in one's head. For some people, this is a downside to the
game, but for my wife (especially) and me, this was the best part -
reminiscent of TextTwist.
6.) Fun Factor: OK, we're not kidding anyone here - those who don't
like word games aren't going to be bowled over with this one, it's
simply another word game. Is it a fun word game for those who like
puzzles and something that can work well when traveling, etc.? The
answer to that is a resounding yes, and I think that puzzle lovers
will be pleased with the game (though some might find it too simple or
easy). But if you don't like word games, then Letterflip isn't going
to change your mind.
I'm glad that I have Letterflip, as it's an enjoyable two-player game
that my wife enjoys. As someone who enjoys puzzles and letter games
from magazines such as GAMES, I also have a good time with the game.
Many of my gaming friends thought it a bit blasé, since there's no
theme, and nothing other than words. Your decision to purchase it
really hinges on whether you are interested in a short, fun
letter-guessing game. For simplistic two-player word games, this is
an excellent choice.
"Real men play board games."