Designer: Alvin Sanico Graphic Design: Alvin Sanico, Michael Graham, Scott Kim Publisher: INversion Games 1-6 players 10-20 min. ages 10+ MSRP $9.99
Double Play is a set of word games a fun twist, literally. Every letter card in the deck is actually two different letters, depending on the direction you play the card!
Double Play is a deck of Versatileletter cards. What the heck is a Versatileletter, you ask ? It’s a specially designed font that represents two different letters, depending on the orientation of the card.
That means an upside down t can be an f. A d can be a p.
An h can be a y. Or an s can be a v.
Like Scrabble, each letter is assigned a value. But because each card is two letters, the value of the card also changes based on how you play it.
There are four games included in Double Play:
Finders Stealers: A race to find the longest word from face up letters on the table (2 per player).
Solitaire Dare: Just like it sounds, lay out letter cards in columns and try to form words to play every card in each column.
The Final Word: A 2 player game where players take turns playing cards from a common hand, but only the last word played each round will score.
These first three games can be interesting and fun but the fourth game, Word Wars 1-2-3, is the reason Double Play is Major Fun.
There are 3 rounds in Word Wars 1-2-3. Each round you get a hand of 10 cards.
Your job is to form 3 words using all 10 cards. You’re looking for the three highest scoring words you can find.
Pro tip: you may want some scratch paper handy for each player to write out various words you find and the score for each word! I’d also recommend setting a timer (5 minutes to start; once you’re comfortable, reduce the time to 3 minutes a round).
Once each player has found his or her three words, you’ll compare your results.
I dealt myself a hand of 10, set the timer for 3 minutes.
Here’s your hand. See if you can beat me!
Here’s what I came up with. la (3) cuff (12) yuck (15)
First, compare Word 1, your lowest scoring word. The player with the higher value, scores 1 point.
Next, compare Word 2, the middle scoring word. The player with the higher value scores 2 points.
Finally, compare Word 3, your highest scoring word. The player with the higher value scores 3 pts.
If you make a clean sweep in a round you get a bonus of 4 extra points.
After 3 rounds of play, the player with the highest score wins!
The innovative graphic design in Double Play is the heart and soul of the game. Without this fun twist, it would be like a thousand other word games under the sun. But this letter system will turn some of your assumptions about word games on their heads.
Unlike a traditional word game, Double Play avoids the bad mix of letters problem that has plagued many a Scrabble player through the decades. You don’t have to raise your fist and curse the spelling gods for giving you a hand that spells A-E-I-I-O-O-U because in Double Play that hand would also be
E-A-L-L-C-C-N. The dreaded Q-W-G-C-H-L-T is also P-M-K-O-Y-I-F. Or ANY combination of the two sets of letters! You may not find a 10 letter word in every hand or every round you play, but there is an amazing variety available in every hand. It’s up to you to find it!
Word Wars 1-2-3 takes full advantage of this variety and gives each player a fun word puzzle to solve each round. Especially if you add in a little time pressure, once you are familiar with the letter system, you’ll see how the deck and the rules connect to give you the sense that there’s always a better word just waiting to be discovered.
The designer of Double Play offers up a creative set of cards and a clever set of games but perhaps best of all, the designer encourages players to use the cards to find other ways to play. The wacky letter cards certainly entice you to try classic word games (try a crossword style game, building the board with cards) or even tweak the games they provide.
After a few games of Word Wars 1-2-3, we found it was even more fun to make each of our 3 words using the entire hand of 10 cards for all three words. This encourages finding longer and higher scoring words and can result in even more fun discoveries hidden in your hand.
Using the same hand above and three minutes, here are the 3 words I found with the Major Fun variant.
Knot (10) yuck (15) toughen (15)
See how you do using the same hand, using all 10 letters to form three words.
Double Play encourages players to be playful with the game itself. You can use the cards to find new ways to have fun. That’s a concept that’s woven into the fabric of Major Fun.
For its value, versatility and fun, any lover of word games will find lots of reasons to love Double Play.
And if traditional word games have left you frustrated, Double Play’s new twist gives you plenty of reasons to give it a try.