Wordsy (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer:  Gil Hova
  • Publisher:  Formal Ferret Games
  • Players:  1 – 6
  • Ages:  10 and Up
  • Time:  20 Minutes
  • Times Played:   > 7 (with 2-4 Players)

GilHova

I first played Wordsy at Geekway to the West, and it was one of the highlights of the convention for me.  I bought a copy, and I’ve played it several times since, with everybody from my parents to my regular game group.  They’ve all loved the game, and I expect this clever twist on the word game genre to be a hit in the coming months.  

Gameplay Walkthrough

Wordsy is played over seven rounds.  Each round, eight different cards showing consonants will be flipped up, and you need to find a single word that scores as many points as possible using them.  

The first two letters are worth 5 points, the next two worth 4, the two after that worth 3, and the final two worth 2.  Each player studies them, trying to discover a word that uses as many of them as possible (or at least earns as many points as possible).  The word can use the letters in any order.  

You don’t need all of the letters in your word to be available — you can pick a word that uses letters beyond those shown on the table — but you’ll only get points for the letters on display.  

The first player to write down a word flips a 30-second timer. That player is now the fastest player, and every other player now has 30 seconds to write down their word.  At that point, players score their word, taking points for the letters they used from the display.  Some rarer letters (like Q or V) are worth extra points, as shown on the card.

For example, in the display pictured below, if I used the word “Vented,” I’d get 15 points (V = 2, +1 for V Bonus, N= 5, T = 4, D = 3).  A good score for a word seems to be around 20 points, so I’m sure there are better possibilities for the display below.

Wordsy

After the fastest player scores, the first player clockwise scores their word, and compares it to the fastest player. If that player scored more than the fastest player, they score a small bonus.  If nobody ultimately scores more than the fastest player, he or she scores a small bonus.  

For the next round, the last four cards (the ones worth 3 and 2 points) are discarded, the other cards are shifted into those spaces, and four new cards are put out.  If there are ever more than two rare letter cards, or more than two of the same letter, that card is discarded and a new card is put out.  After 7 rounds, players add the scores their best 5 words, plus their bonuses. The player with the most points wins!

In games with three or more players, the player that flipped the timer receives a card showing they can’t do it in the next round, so you won’t always have the same player causing the timer to flip.  

My Thoughts on the Game…

If you like Word games, I bet you’ll like Wordsy.  This is a fun challenge that plays quick and is easy to teach.  Wordsy takes the most fun part of games like Scrabble and condenses them to their core.

The clever twist here is that you don’t need to limit yourself just to the letters on display.  You can — and will probably need to — use the other letters of the alphabet, particularly since there are no vowels in the deck.  You’ll often need to get creative!

Since everybody is trying to do the same thing, there’s little downtime.  As I said, the game plays quick, with our plays taking 15-20 minutes.  

That said, even though the game is timed, it doesn’t feel rushed.  Thirty seconds feels like quite a long time when you’re playing, and in several plays, I haven’t seen anybody fail to find a word.  

I initially expected players to frequently guess the same word, but in seven plays, I have yet to see that happen.  Wordsy really opens the decisions up to creativity, and when we’re scoring words, people frequently call out, “Why didn’t I think of that!” or “Great word!”  The English language, it turns out, is a very big decision space.  

A good score for a word seems to be 20+ points, so that’s what I always aim for.  But I’ve written down words with as few as 11 points.  But if you have a rough turn, it isn’t a big deal, since you drop your lowest two words, a rule that keeps this close.   

The cards are high-quality, and the game comes with a thick stack of player sheets and enough pencils for the maximum player count.  The artwork is attractive, and overall, this is one of the better produced word games I’ve tried.  

Overall, I love Wordsy, and I think this will have a spot on my shelf for a long time.  I’ve already started steering my Scrabble-loving parents to this instead!

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!  Chris Wray
  • I like it.
  • Neutral.
  • Not for me…
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One Response to Wordsy (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  1. norkle says:

    Hi Chris – very much enjoyed your reviews of Wordsy, Werewords and Insider this year. Between these and Paperback/Hardback, which do you envisage still being widely played in 12 months time?

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