I love a good family-friendly party game. The type with simple rules and plenty of opportunities for laughs. Today we’ve got a look at the award-winning Say the Word by Peaceable Kingdom. Does it meet my criteria? Well, here’s a picture of my son playing Say the Word, and laughing too hard to take his turn:
So, yeah. It’s a fun game.
The good news is that we’ve got one copy of Say the Word (only used once, during my play test) to give away! Yes it’s been opened but I assure you it’s in pristine condition. Details follow the review. For now, let’s get on with it!
Say the Word
- Designers: Joyce Johnson and Rosie Roberson
- Publisher: Peaceable Kingdon
- Artist: (Uncredited)
- Players: 3-6
- Ages: 10 and up
- Duration: 30 minutes
- Game Type: Story-telling, memory, acting, party
Note: Peaceable Kingdom does not ship to Canada at this time. Now, on with the review!
Peaceable Kingdom describes Say the Word as a “…Repeat-After-Me Silly Story Memory game,” and I couldn’t sum it up any better. It’s a story-telling game with elements of Mad Libs and Concentration. Each player receives several random words that must be woven, sequentially, into an ongoing story. The story’s main character is pre-defined, as are any “challenges” that must be met. As the story grows, each player adds a sentence while repeating the previous sentences. It gets tricky quickly, but the silly words make memorization a bit easier, as preposterous situations seem easier to recall than banal ones.
Say the Word ships with simple components with absolutely adorable art. I mean, look at that. There’s a mid-century modern/New Yorker cartoon vibe here that I just love. Inside you’ll find:
- A simple instruction sheet
- A dry-erase story board
- Six clue tokens
- 19 character cards
- 16 challenge cards
- 200 word cards
- One “Anybody Board”
- One dry-erase marker
The box itself features a plastic insert that accommodates everything nicely, even after being unwrapped and punched out. Sound good? Good. Now, let’s move on to game play.
The game begins with three players plus one who will act as the Story Master. That person’s job is to maintain a running list of the words that have been used in order, on the dry erase “Story Board.” Next, the Story Master selects one Character Card and (optionally) one Challenge Card. The Character Card determines who will be the “star” of your story. There’s a sumo wrestler, a cat lady, a queen…I don’t want to spoil too many. Note that you aren’t restricted to the characters on the cards. The dry-erasable “Anybody Card” lets you designate whomever you want to be the story’s main character, including people you know, celebrities, anyone. Just write his or her name on the card.
My testers (read: kids) and I played with and without a challenge card, and agreed that the game is more fun with the additional challenge, like “use a silly accent” or “keep your eyes closed.”
Finally, each player draws three Word Cards, which contain a single word. The rest are put into a draw pile. There’s no rhyme or reason to these, and that’s the fun. For example, I drew five cards as I’m sitting here, and they were:
Ah, I can smell my Pulitzer now.
The player to the left of the Story Master begins by selecting a card from his or her hand, and making up a sentence to begin the story, using that word. That card is placed face down next to the Character Card, and finally that player draws a new card. The next player, clockwise, takes his turn by repeating the first sentence before adding his own, using a word from his hand. Play continues in this way, with each player repeating the previous sentences before adding his own with a new word.
As this happens, the Story Master writes down each word in order on the Story Board. If a player can’t recall one of the words, she or he may play a Clue Token by giving it to the Story Master. In return, the Story Master must act out the forgotten word without speaking. Still don’t get it? Another player who does know it may act out the word. Out of Clue Tokens? Another player may choose to donate his token to the cause. Still can’t remember, despite having your friends engage in embarrassing pantomime? Then the game is over and the team loses.
The endgame depends on the number of players. For a 3-4 player game, it ends when 10 Word Cards have been used. For a 5-6 player game, it’s 12 cards. If you really want to challenge yourselves, go for 14 words. After the final word has been successfully played, the next player does not play a card, but must recite the full story. If s/he does, the team wins!
The Say the Word experience
This game is silly and fun. As soon as my kids and I drew a character card and a challenge, we were into it. The Game Gods must have been smiling on us, because we got silly words that had everyone in stitches. You can’t follow “mermaid” with “salty” and “barf” with a nine-year-old at the table. We did draw “oxymoron” at one point, which my youngest couldn’t define, so we just passed. Also, “barf” is about as rough as it gets, so you needn’t worry about “potty humor.” We liked this game a whole lot and I’m sure your family will, too. Now, on to the giveaway!
Say the Word giveaway!
Note: The giveaway ended on November 4, 2014. Thanks to all who entered!
And with that, it’s time to give away a copy of Say the Word. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
- To enter, fill out
the form belowcompletely and click or tap the Submit button.
- The entry must be made before November 3, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive one copy of the game as described in this post.