Smart Mouth

Smart Mouth
got the Major FUN Award almost before we started playing it. The design of the toy – I know, it’s really a “game mechanism,” but it’s just so darn much fun to play with – makes a very simple word game concept into a genuinely fun, exciting challenge.

OK. The game first. It’s a word game. You’re given two letters. Your objective: to be the first to call out a word that begins with one and ends with the other. For example, S and T. You could call out “SIT,” but you’d be wrong, because words have to be at least 5 letters. How about, um, let’s see, “SMART”? Why yes, that’s exactly right.

Easy to understand. Challenging to play. And there are variations, and more variations, so you can play it with the kids or with your friends or your parents, and everybody’ll have fun.

Now to the toy part. There’s a box on a base. The box has two sections – each rounded at the top, each holding 36 letter tiles, which are also rounded at the top, so they can only fit in their sections one way, which turns out to be exactly the way they need to be if they are to be displayed in the right direction. There are two different colored tiles (so that the letter combinations will all work), each color goes in its own section. Fill the box. Put its cover on. And slide it forwards. When you slide it back, you reveal the first two letters. Simultaneously. To all players. The first player to call out the correct word gets those tiles. Which is how score is kept.

Elegant. Easy to understand. A device that works so well you can actually throw out the nice, sturdy box the game came in. My only regret – I had so much fun playing with the toy that I had to be the judge for the whole game. Oh, well.

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