Finding word games that kids can play, grownups can play and families can play together is difficult. A game might work for one or two scenarios, but not all three. On game night, we always have a hard time finding games that we all are able to play and want to play. So we end up playing the same five games in rotation.
Recently, though, I found two new games that my entire family loves. They make great party games, but they also require you to think. Word on the Street was chosen as one of the Mensa Select winners this year, which was no surprise to me. At Mind Games, everyone had a great time playing it, and kept going back for a second or third round.
The same company also makes Word on the Street Junior, which is very similar to the regular version, except the board and pieces are slightly different, and the rules have been changed to allow kids a better chance of doing well. We mostly played Word on the Street Junior, teaming up one grownup and one kid on each team. Perhaps this wasn’t necessary, however, since my son usually came up with longer words than anyone else.
At first glance, there don’t seem to be many differences between the two games, but after playing both, they really are appreciably different. Some differences between Word on the Street and Word on the Street Junior include:
WotS: All the vowels and J, Q, X and Z are missing from the board.
WotSJ: Has all the letters, from A to Z.
WotS: Tiles seem to be actually made of tile and are heavy for their size.
WotSJ: Tiles are somewhat smaller, to accommodate more letters on the board, and are made of thick cardboard.
WotS: Confusing the other team with background chatter is encouraged.
WotSJ: Supportive atmosphere for the other team is encouraged.
WotS: Must spell words correctly or you are penalized.
WotSJ: Spelling is a cooperative effort among all players.
WotS: Must spell words and move tiles before timer runs out.
WotSJ: Spell words after the timer runs out, allowing for more thinking time.
WotS: You can concentrate on finding words with multiple rarely used letters.
WotSJ: Since vowels are easier to capture than most consonants, you have to keep an eye on them more closely.
WotS: Comes with more cards than WotSJ.
If you own both games, you can use either board with either set of rules, mixing up the difficulty. One nice thing about these games is that, if you play with at least four people, it is both cooperative and competitive. You’re working with your own team to outwit the other team.
Both games are from Out of the Box Games, which have brought us such excellent diversions as Apples to Apples, and the 10 Days In.. series of games. Also, GeekDad’s own John Kovalic worked the Word on the Street games. Both versions are supposed to last from 20-30 minutes. Word on the Street is designed for players age 12 and up and is for 2 to 10 players. Word on the Street Junior is designed for players age 8 and up and is for 2 to 8 players. If you have a child with a good vocabulary, however, the Junior game can be played by younger children. Our six year old son did very well.
Wired: It’s fast-paced word-making fun. It’s a fun challenge to think up obscure words that use rarely used letters. Great for the entire family to play together, or separately.
Tired: I wish the pieces in the Junior game were as nice as in the regular game.
Note: Review copies of both games were supplied by the publisher.