Review: Family Word Game Fun With Letter Roll

Geek Culture

Image: Out of the Box Games

Some people love word games. Some people really don’t. I’m somewhere in the middle. I really enjoy some word games very much, such as Boggle and Quiddler, but others aren’t as much fun, such as AmuseAmaze. So when I received a review copy of Letter Roll, I wasn’t sure on which side it would land.

Promoting itself to be “Everybody’s Word Game,” Letter Roll has many options that you can set depending on how difficult you want to make the game. It contains seven 20-sided dice. Two contain frequently used letters (white), three contain less frequently used letters (blue) and two use infrequently used letters (orange). The basic rules say to take turns rolling four of the seven dice and then choosing three of those on which to base your words. Each person writes down as many words as they can that use all of the shown letters. After time is up, you compare lists and cross out duplicates. Each remaining word scores one point. Because of this, unusual or extra long words may gain you points, while common words that everyone thinks up will probably get crossed off.

The rule sheet has some basic guidelines for play, such as how many rounds you play, and some variations for easier or more difficult games. But the beauty of this game is that you can make it as easy or hard, or as short or long as you want it to be. By giving you excellent game materials, you can even make up your own games.

You could make the game easier by rolling and choosing fewer dice, or make it much more difficult, by using more. Or you could restrict yourself to the more frequently or infrequently used letter dice. This game is incredibly adaptable for playing with mixed age groups, such as families. In addition to the different dice, there are two sand timers. One is a two minute timer, for a standard game, and the other is a one minute timer, for a fast game. Or you can use the timers as we did, using the two minute timer for the kids and the one minute timer for the adults. That way the kids have a built in advantage to have more time to write and think of words.

I like that the scoring is much simpler than Boggle, with just one point per word. Also, since misspellings are allowed (as long as the required letters are still present and aren’t incorrectly included), kids feel more free to write down difficult words. This definitely helps them learn spelling by taking a chance on words they wouldn’t ordinarily try to write.

After playing it a few times, I’ve decided that I do enjoy Letter Roll and I strongly recommend it to others who enjoy word games. I have played with just grownups, and also with a mix of kids and grownups. It works equally well both ways, especially when it is established that you’re playing to have fun, not necessarily to win. But it is easy to give the kids an advantage over the adults by changing the rules around a bit.

Letter Roll from Out of the Box Games is currently available on Amazon for about $17.

Wired: High quality dice, easy to learn, extremely easy to customize, enjoyable game play.

Tired: The sand timers aren’t as high quality as the other pieces, but they do their job.

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