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Word Slam Review

Quick Look: Word Slam

Designer: Inka and Markus Brand
Artist: N/A
Publisher: Kosmos
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 3+
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 45 min

From the publisher:

"EAT, YELLOW, CIRCLE — do you mean pancakes? Or pineapple rings? Oh wait, the CIRCLE is DIVIDED? So something that you eat that is yellow and semicircular? Uh, is it, maybe…a banana?" "Yes, the answer is banana! One point for the Blue Team!"

In the communication game Word Slam, two teams compete against one another simultaneously. In each round, one player on each team tries to get their teammates to guess a hidden word or phrase using only the 105 explanatory cards available in the box. Speaking and acting is absolutely forbidden for the storytellers! They must tell their stories using only 105 cards, each with one word on it: a noun, verb, adjective, or preposition. A player can use as many explanatory cards as desired, and whichever team guesses correctly first scores a point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins!

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Overview and Theme:
Word Slam is a bright word-guessing game similar to Charades or Pictionary but instead of acting or drawing your clues, you will be using a set of pre-printed word cards to try to describe the object before the opposing team does!

Word Slam is easy to set up, teach, and play, and is great for groups of all ages. Clue givers need to be able to read quickly but younger kids can play as guessers by having their teammates help them read words they don't know.

Components and Setup:
Word Slam is primarily made up of cards. There are 200 Answer cards--these are the objects that you're trying to get your team to guess. Each team has their own identical deck of 105 Story Word cards--these are adjectives and descriptors to help your team guess the Answer. There are 2 card racks for each team also, which can be used together for one large set of clues or pulled apart to denote that the Answer has two parts or two different words. You also have a die, to determine which Answer on each card you're going to work towards, and a timer to keep the rounds short.

Set up is easy--divide into two teams, shuffle the Answer deck and deal out a pile, and give each team their Story Word deck and card racks. You're ready to play!

Game Play and Mechanics:
Word Slam is easy to pick up: the idea is just like Charades but you're using Story Word cards like Thin, Bad, Historic, Divided, or Heavy to get the idea across.

Roll the die to see which of the 6 items on the Answer card you'll be giving clues for. The Answer card pile will have a certain number of cards per game depending on how many people are playing or how difficult you want the game to be; the cards are also color-coded for Beginner, Easy, Experienced, and Expert players.

The storyteller searches through their deck of Story Word cards to find the ones that will help you.  You can use as many cards as you want, in any order you like. You can point to a card if it's especially important or remove a card if it has your team going down the wrong path. You can use the two card racks together or separate them to show that the Answer has two words or two ideas. You cannot speak, sing, gesture, or pantomime!

Both teams are working on the same Answer at the same time, and if they're feeling stuck, either Storyteller can start the 30 second timer to bring the round to an end. The team that guesses the Answer correctly wins that Answer card as a point. Play through all the answer cards or for a certain number of rounds or particular length of time, and the team that has guessed the most answers correctly wins.

The Good:
For anyone who has played Charades or Pictionary before, the premise of this game is at once familiar and new. Get your team to give the answer by doing just one thing--in this case, dealing out adjective cards to get them to name a particular object. Word Slam is easy to understand, quick to teach, and a snap to set up.

Word Slam is a fun party game for families and even for mixed groups, because you can adjust the cards in the pile based on the skills of the Storyteller. It draws lots of attention and you can always add more members onto your team as the game goes on!

Word Slam (and its junior variant, Word Slam Family) is a great game for my Gameschooling ELA group, a set of upper elementary and middle school homeschool friends, because it helps them think about the objects in different ways and really work to describe an item using just a set selection of words.

The Bad:
There's nothing that we didn't enjoy about Word Slam--obviously, it's a party/word game and not all gaming groups will choose it, but it shines in its place.

Players Who Like:
Groups who enjoy games like Charades or Pictionary, or who have enjoyed group word games like Anomia or Apples to Apples, will most likely enjoy Word Slam.

Final Thoughts:
Word Slam is a boldly colored, highly polished, accessible, engaging word-guessing romp for your family or friends. It's a delight to play, and we were grateful to receive a copy to review!

Check out Word Slam 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!
Word Slam Review Word Slam Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on January 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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