Krazy Wordz is a game about making your own silly words to match various definitions in the hopes that other players will match the two together. In a nutshell, it’s a bit of Apples to Apples crossed with Balderdash.
At a glance: Krazy Wordz is a game by Ravensburger for 3-7 players, ages 10 and up, and takes about 45 minutes to play. It retails for $19.99 and is available from all the usual places, including Amazon. The exact length of time it takes to play varies with the number of players, and the appropriate age is really dependent on the kids. If they can read and spell in even the most rudimentary of ways, they can play. We played with my 5-year-old, and he held his own just fine.
For a small, relatively quick game, Krazy Wordz comes with a surprising number of different pieces. It comes with 156 task cards (plus 9 blank cards for you to make your own tasks), 56 guess cards (in seven colors), 8 number cards, 7 word boards, 48 scoring chips (in values of 1, 3, 5, 10, and 20), and 64 letter tokens (22 vowels and 42 consonants).
The cards are on the small size (roughly 1.5″ x 2.5″), but the quality is pretty good. The task cards each name a different topic, and the topics are printed twice, so there’s no “top” or “bottom” to the cards. This makes the cards easily read by everyone, no matter where they’re seated. The scoring chips and letter tokens are decent quality and are fairly typical components for this type of game.
How to Play
The object of the game is to make up a word from a limited collection of letters that sounds like it might be a match for your topic. For example, if your task is “Name of a Scary Movie,” you might spell SKREEM. If your task is “Type of Cloud,” then maybe you’ll be clever and create SAUFT. You’re not allowed to make real English words or words that immediately identify your topic (e.g., you can’t spell SCARI MUVI for that first example). But you want to evoke your topic since you want the other players to recognize a similarity and match your word to your topic (which is secret).
Example tasks include “Appalachian Folk Band,” ‘Type of Pest,” “Species of Tree,” “Name of Magical Land,” and “Someone Remarkably Smart.”
Each round consists of a number of steps. First, everyone draws a task card and keeps it secret. Every player creates a word that names a different task. Then you draw letters from the face-down pool of letter tokens: 9 total – 6 consonants and 3 vowels (which are differentiated by different colors on the reverse side of the tokens). Finally, put your letters together to spell a word. You can use as many or as few of the letters as you want.
Don’t pronounce your word out loud yet, since that could give away your intended meaning! Once everyone has finished spelling their words, the starting player collects all of the task cards (still face down) and then draws a number of cards from the draw pile so there are a few extra distractors in the mix. All of the task cards are then laid out and assigned a number. For example, in a 4-player game, 6 task cards are placed on the table (1-6).
All players then decide which topics/tasks the other players’ words match and place one guess card – with a number that matches the related task number – in front of every other player (face down). For example, the player to my right made the word SKWEEK, and I think that sounds like a kind of toothpaste. “Toothpaste” is task #1, so I’ll put my #1 guess card in front of SKWEEK.
Once all guesses have been made, players take turns pronouncing their words and revealing their tasks.
For every player who correctly guessed your task, you earn 1 point. And you earn 1 point for every correct guess you make. In other words, 2 points are assigned for every correct guess (1 to the word’s creator and 1 to the player who made that guess).
Play continues for six rounds, and whoever has the most points at the end wins.
Krazy Wordz is really a lot of fun to play with kids. I played with my 5- and 8-year-olds, and they both loved the game. Since the entire point of the game is to make up nonsense words, spelling isn’t a factor, and words can really be pronounced any way you want them to. As long as kids understand the task on their cards (“Brand of Toilet Paper,” “Extreme Sport”), they’re free to let their imaginations run wild.
Like I said, there are a surprising number of components for such a short, small game. But all of those components are required for play. There’s nothing here simply for aesthetics. The game is great for family game nights or to throw into a suitcase for hotel play while on vacation. It’s also a fun alternative to more popular “filler” games for an adult group.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this game.