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Wibbell ++ Review

Quick Look: Wibbell ++

Designer: Behrooz 'Bez' Shahriari, David Brain, Aaron Reading, A. Dennison, D. Barker
Artist: Bez Shahriari
Publisher: Stuff by Bez
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-10
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 2-45 min, depending on game variant

From the publisher:

Wibbell++ is a game system designed to support many different games! Just as you can play thousands of games with a standard deck of playing cards, you will find Wibbell++ to be versatile with a large variety of possible games.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Overview and Theme:

Wibbell ++ is a game system that includes a deck of 48 cards, each with 2 letters and a patterned border, plus a number at the bottom. Using this deck of cards, you can play a multitude of word and matching games of various kinds--dozens are listed on the Wibbell ++ website, and five are included with the deck: Alphabetickell, Faybell, Grabbell, Phrasell, and Wibbell.

The cards are lovely with hand lettering and intricate borders. A few of our gamer friends had some issues telling letters apart (C and G, for example) but over the course of a few of the slower-paced games they became more familiar with the style. The box also includes a fold out poster that lists all the cards by borders, by top letter, and by bottom letter, which can help you with your strategy within games as well as in developing your own new variants.

The varied games each fill a different niche in your toolbox of games!

The Wibbell ++ system's flagship game, Wibbell is a game of quickly coming up with words. This fast game plays in usually 10-15 minutes with 2-7 players. Lay out two cards face up in the center of the table, and everyone tries to come up with a word that uses at least one letter from each of the cards. The first person to do so moves one of the cards in front of them and flips over a new card in the center. That person now has to include at least one letter from the earned card in addition to the two cards in the center. Every subsequent letter card you take makes it more difficult to come up with a word, as you have more required cards to use.

Once a player wins their 4th word, they take both cards from the center into the pile in front of them, and all players flip over all earned cards face down. Two new cards are added to the center, and you begin again. When the deck runs out, the person with the most cards is the winner!

This is a fast and furious, shout-out-your-answers game that is great for gamers who think on their feet and love wordplay. Be careful, because you can't reuse a word in the same round, even by adding an ending like "s" or "ed."

Another speedy game, Grabbell takes only 2-3 minutes with 2-7 players and is simply about sheer hand speed and recognition of letters and patterns. Each player takes one card in hand and all the rest of the deck is spread out on the table in a single, messy pile. One, two, three, GO, and you flip over your start card and grab for new cards that match the top letter, the bottom letter, or the border pattern. Now match the card on top! Match again! Keep matching! Once all the cards have been picked up, everyone verifies their deck (make sure you didn't pick up a card that wasn't a match), and the player with the most cards wins.

If you've got a group that's anything like ours, one round of Grabbell won't satisfy you--you'll be playing over and over again.

Phrasell is a third quick-thinking game, but this time, it's for a bigger group (5-15 players) and you're trying to think of phrases that relate to a subject. Here, you'll pick a judge for each round. The judge flips over a card and uses the two letters on the card to choose a subject, maybe Race Horses or Radical Heroes or Rainy Hours for RH.

Then two more cards will be flipped over, and the players shout out four word phrases that use these four letters that could somehow link to the subject, maybe Mom Owns Red Umbrellas or Rain Over My Uncle or Under Mostly Open Roofs for RM/OU and the subject of Rainy Hours

Whenever the judge feels they've heard enough, they call time, and award 3 cards to the favorite phrase, using whatever criteria they like. The judge can also split those three cards, giving 2 to one phrase and 1 to another. You'll play through the deck, alternating turns as judge, and the player with the most cards wins.

Faybell is a cooperative storytelling game that can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes for 2 or more players. This one is looser in its rules and may feel more like an activity than an actual game. At the beginning of the game, each player will choose a card and use the two letters as inspiration to come up with a story element (character, setting, plot point, action element, etc.). 

Once you have several story elements, then the story begins. Each player will take a turn to flip a card and create a sentence that begins with the top letter on their card to add on to the story, and will choose a word starting with the bottom letter that the next player has to include. Add to the story for as long as you can, or until you've covered all the story elements you chose at the beginning of the game. If you have creative and imaginative friends, you may go through the deck more than once as you spin your story!

Alphabetickell is the most strategic of games that comes with the Wibbell ++ deck--it involves creating one long alphabetical chain of letters. To start the first round, each player draws 3 cards and chooses one to begin their personal line of cards, and returns the other 2 to the deck. 

Deal one card face up and each player, starting from the dealer, must play the card or pass on the card. If you choose to play the card, take it and add it to either end of your chain of letters, but not in the middle. The chain must run alphabetically from left to right and though you may skip letters as necessary, you cannot go out of alphabetical order or repeat letters. If everyone passes, the card is discarded and the same dealer flips a new card.

The round will end when you've gone through the whole deck or when someone adds their 11th card.  Each card in your line at the end of the round is worth 1 point, and you continue to play new rounds until one person has 26 points or more to win the game.

I loved the logic and strategy in Alphabetickell and found I could play it with players who didn't like word games--because this isn't about words at all, just order, probability, and logic.

The Good:
Wibbell ++ is a lot of versatility in a small box. Just like a standard deck of cards, Wibbell ++ is highly portable and is open to lots of variety, as there are dozens of game ideas online and you're encouraged to create your own games as well.

Because of the variety of games, there's something here for almost everyone. My 11-year-old daughter loves playing Grabbell with me, my strategic husband is a fan of Alphabetickell, our homeschool group enjoys a good storytelling game of Faybell, and we play Phrasell with more competitive adults.

The Bad:
Besides the fact that not every player will enjoy every game in this system--which you could hardly expect them to--our only real quibble with Wibbell is the handmade font making it hard to tell C from G at a glance. Otherwise, this is a lovely deck of letter cards.

Players Who Like:
Because of the wide variety of available games, Wibbell ++ may appeal to gamers who enjoy a whole host of various games, but in general, if you enjoy word games or storytelling games, you'll be pleased with this deck.

Final Thoughts:
Wibbell ++ is a delightful new game system, full of possibilities for many types of games. Besides enjoying the games as fillers on game days or in the evening with our family, many of the games fit nicely into our gameschooling days--Wibbell, Phrasell, and Faybell in particular are great for working on vocabulary and word use.

Check out Wibbell ++ on:


About the Author:

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!
Wibbell ++ Review Wibbell ++ Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on October 30, 2018 Rating: 5

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