Wordigo really took us by surprise. We see a word-board game and we think: “maybe fun for the guy playing, but agony for the people who are waiting their turns.” So we conclude “Word-board game = not really Major FUN material.” Then we notice the different boards and four complete sets of tiles. This leads us to conclude that maybe all four of us can play simultaneously. No turn-waiting. Immediate gratification, verbally-playfully speaking. Except that there are six of us. So we play in three teams.

And the game just takes off. Sure, we are confused a little by the different boards in the set, and the funny arrows on the tiles, but we start anyway, racing against each other and the timer, using and drawing tiles and discarding, trying to fill our boards up with words. And then, when the time is reluctantly up, we figure out the scoring, which really gets interesting, strategic-implication-wise. The next round (we hardly ever play more than one round during a “game tasting,” but this game was just too darn delicious), we are much more score-conscious so we get strategic and discover we really don’t have enough time anyway. We also decide to start with the second board, only to discover that it is actually more challenging than the first.

The game comes with four sets of letter tiles with pouches, four sets of four different game boards (two boards with a different design on each side), the first and probably only seven-minute sand timer in the world, and a score pad. The tiles look remarkably similar to those letter-with-number tiles you see in scoring letter games, but they have arrows on the vowels. The boards are similar to kids’ crossword puzzles, but without the clues.

The game can be played simultaneously with up to four players or with teams, which we think is even more fun. And you can even invite the kids to play or compensate for those with different verbal skills. The boards are of varying levels of difficulty. Those who want to can use the easier boards or start with more tiles or maybe recycle their discarded tiles.

Wordigo is the only word game I know of that allows you to use a dictionary while you’re playing. Of course, looking something up in a dictionary while the sand is inexorably streaming your time away is perhaps not such a useful option. Unless you’re playing in pairs. Which we just happened to be. And even then, we were all too wrapped in the rapture of it all to use anything other than our rapidly muddling minds.

For those of us who enjoyextended moments of time-free deliberation, the game is still entertaining without timers. Players just continue until all the boards have been filled.

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