If you’ve ever played Bananagrams or any game of similar race-to-build-words ilk, it will take you maybe 10 seconds to understand not only how to play Zip-It, but why you so desperately need to have your very own set, immediately.

You get 24 letter cubes. The cubes are large enough, the letters big enough, the print heavy enough so it’s all very easy on the eyes.

The game, however, is not so easy on the mind.

You divide the cubes equally (it’s a two-player game), and, at the sound of your mutually agreed-upon warhoop, you race to be the first to assemble all your cubes into a crossword-style array in which every word is spelled correctly and can be found in your mutually agreed-upon dictionary. ¬†As in all crossword-style arrays, any letter that is vertically or horizontally adjacent to any other letter must make or be part of a mutually agreed-upon word.

As soon as you have assembled all your cubes (yes, you can turn your cubes as much as you want until you find exactly the right letter) (yes, every turn of a cube takes exactly the millisecond that might very well mean the difference between the joy of victory and the agony of you-know-what) you scream, as gloatingly as possible, “zip-it!,” thereby indicating the conclusion of the round.

This takes maybe 20 seconds.

You now record the score, which you do, ever so cleverly, by using your zipper. Let me clarify. On closer inspection of the Zip-It case, you will notice that there are two zippers. Why two? On even closer inspection, you will notice a line of numbers, from 0-10, next to each zipper. And, when you inspect the zippers even more closely, you will notice that one pull is reddish, the other greenlike. Aha! And, O, the cleverness. Not just zippers are they. But the score-keeping device itself!

And now it all becomes clear, the scoring, the shouting of “Zip-It!,” the veritable name of the actual game.

Furthermore, there are variations, o yes there are. A probable myriad of ways to make the game even more challenging, or, perhaps, less. You can, for example, get an additional point for words of 7-letters or more for more. Or points for rhyming words, or words that can be read backwards as well as forwards (palindromes and perhaps even semi-palindromes), or words that describe, for example, fruits, musical instruments, psychological¬†aberrations…. Or, you can allow the less verbally or digitally endowed players to make words of 2 or 3 letters whilst you must make words of 5 or more or more than that. Consider all these possibilities, and you can easily see how you can play the game endlessly, keep it interesting and challenging, play with children and seniors.

And then, for those who wish to delve further into the back alleys of language, the good people who bring us Zip-It include, at no extra charge, a charming little dictionary of “Weords” – a collection of “weird words that win crossword games.”

Zip-It is just the right size, with just the right amount of pieces, with just enough self-contained portability to play anywhere you have a surface to play on – a restaurant table, the backseat of a car, the kitchen floor. You don’t need pencil or paper to keep score. You don’t need a big empty table. All you need is your Zip-It game and someone who likes to play with words as much as you do.

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