Dale Yu: Review of 13 Words

13 Words

  • Designer: Romain Loussert
  • Publisher: Captain Games
  • Players: 2-8
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Played on review copy provided by the publisher

13 words

13 Words was a game I had never heard about prior to SPIEL 2022 from a company that I had never heard about either prior to the show.  As it turns out, I maybe should have known about Captain Games as one of the principals is an old friend of mine who used to work for REPOS.

This party game is a cooperative game that challenges team members to try to guess the word chosen by the current Captain.  There is a round board with 12 numbers around it.  12 words cards are placed around the board, one at each number.  Additionally, one card is placed in the spot in the center.  Each player takes a scoring dial, and makes sure that the bottom wheel which has the scoring star is set to zero.  Someone is given the Captain marker.

13 words in play

In each round, the Captain makes sure that everyone can read the word placed in the center slot of the board.  It may help to simply read it aloud.

Then, all players pick up their wheel.  The Captain chooses the card they think has the most obvious connection to the central word.  All other players secretly choose which of the words around the outside of the circle they feel the Captain is going to choose.    There should be no communication or other clues given during this process.  When all players have chosen, the wheels are revealed. 

The round is then scored.  Each player who chose the same card as the captain scores a point.  The captain scores a point as long as one player also chose his word.  In the event that no one matched the captain, then no one scores a point.

The card in the center of the board is discarded.  The card along the outside which was chosen by the Captain as the match this round is then picked up, flipped over, and then placed in the center of the board.  The cards are double sided, so there will be a new word seen in the center.  Pass the Captain token clockwise and repeat.

The game continues until the round when there are only 2 words around the outside. This is the final round of the game.  At the conclusion of this round, the players in the game then sum their points on their wheels and compare their score to the chart in the rules or their previous high score.

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My thoughts on the game

13 Words is a game that always seems to deliver lots of laughs.  It’s not a serious sort of cooperative game; but it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is.  For me, the most fun in the game is when players have to explain why they made a particular connection between two words.  There is often a humorous story or memory behind the connection; and for me, this is the “funnest” part of the game.

The word cards generally use words that are quite common, and many of them have multiple meanings – which makes the game a little bit better as there is more chances for connections to be made.  For instance, the word “stake’ might be related to a bet?  Or what about a vampire? Or wood?  Or camping or a tent?  Or, it’s a homonym for steak, and might go well with food or potato?  In the end, you can make whatever connection you want, and the words here give you plenty of opportunity to do that.  The other nice thing about the usage of common words is that were able to play this in Essen with gamers who didn’t use English as their primary language.

The game moves by really quickly, with some rounds only taking a few seconds.  Of course, it can slow down a bit when there is reminiscing about a particular memory or connection.  But, the whole game probably takes 15 minutes or so?  Which, for me, is the perfect amount of time to play this sort of game.  Give me 60 seconds to explain it, and we’re playing the game.    There is a chart in the rules to see how well you have done, but I’ve decided to simply use the inside of the box to write down our best score at each player count.  For me, the goal would be to beat the high score for the player count.

The back of the box proclaims: “The most accessible of all cooperative party games!”  While that’s a pretty bold statement, but it could be true.  It’s definitely fun, and one of the games I’ll be using as a filler or at casual parties for years to come.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!  Dale 
  • I like it.  
  • Neutral.
  • Not for me…

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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