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Wednesday
Jan062010

Review of Word on the Street

 

 

 

Word on the Street

 

Out of the Box Publishing

 

MSRP: 24.99 USD                                                        

 

Available for around $20 through online retailers

 

 

The Spin: “The Hilarious Tug of Words”

 

 

The Story: Word on the Street is a simple word game played on a board that is shaped like a long, narrow street and divided into squares. Letter tiles are placed down the center column of the board. Throughout the course of the game, players will say and spell words based on cards that are drawn and pull the letters in the words toward their side of the street. A team wins when they have pulled eight letter tiles off their side of the board.

 

The Play: The brief description of the game above almost covers the entirety of the game. Players divide into two teams and choose to play with the easy or difficult cards. The cards have conditions on them that the players will use to generate a single (though not necessarily singular) word. For instance, the card might say “Method Actor.” The team whose turn it was would have thirty seconds to decide on an actor, say it, and spell it while moving the letters in the name one square per time used toward their side of the board. In the above example, the team might say “Brando” and move the B, R, N, and D toward their side of the board (vowels and some other letters are not on the board from the start).

 

Players must spell the word correctly and both the spelling and the appropriateness of the word can be challenged by the other team. We play the spelling rule pretty loosely and only penalize the team if the misspelling helped them, not if it hurt them (not sure how nice we are being there).

 

Proper nouns are allowed assuming they are appropriate for the card, as above, and all English words including plurals and hyphenated words are allowed. This is far less strict than many word games and we appreciated the looser feel.

 

The combination of simple game play and the 30-second timer make the game fast-paced and sometimes a bit hectic.

 

My Take: I really enjoyed Word on the Street. I played it with both our regular groups and with some students from one of my courses and it went over well with every group. As I left the last game session, one of the players said “you need to give Word on the Street” a good review. Well, here it is. The game is quick and fun. It is simple and easy to explain which means it works well with casual gamers and new gamers.

 

My only complaint is one I've mostly had with trivia games over the years. Some of the cards are too wide open, meaning way too many words would work. The one that came up in our first game was “Name of a Street or Boulevard.” I'm not sure what word the other team could have said that could not have been justified. It reminded me of the Planet Hollywood trivia game where players went back and forth naming actors or movies that matched specific cards. When the card said “John Ford Films” or something, the game worked great and rewarded the players with the most knowledge. When it said “beautiful actress,” it bombed because a team could justify any answer: “Well, I think Whoopi Goldberg is stunning!” Luckily, not too many similar cards have come up since that first game and it is really only a problem when one team lucks into a majority of the wide open cards.

 

That small complaint aside, I have no trouble recommending Word on the Street to our readers. The back and forth action on the board feels fresh and unique, and I expect the game will be played at our house for many years to come.

 

Components: I'm rarely unhappy with the components from Out of the Box. Word on the Street is no exception. The tiles are heavy and have a great tactile presence. The board is attractive. The cards are good, not great, quality, but considering that they don't get handled or shuffled often, they should last through many plays.

 

Score: 4 out of 5

 

Pros: Easy to teach, good for a variety of groups, attractive on the table

 

Cons: Some unbalance cards

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