List Price: $24.95
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(Worth 2,095 Funagain Points!)
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In Wordigo, players race against each other and the 7-minute timer to form high scoring words along designated paths on their board. Several features make Wordigo special: 1) No waiting - everyone plays at the same time. 2) A game takes only 7 minutes. 3) 4 copies of 4 different playing boards offer varying degrees of difficulty, making it easy for higher-skilled players to play with lower-skilled players. 4) Wordigo's vowels, with their arrows and bonus markings allow for a very unique way of scoring points. 5) Dictionaries are allowed during play. Wordigo works equally as well as a solitaire game and is especially fun in partner play.
See the Wordigo Demo at the Wordigo website!
It's true that there are certain types of games, which which it is difficult to make enough of a game to make it stand out from the genre. 'Word' games are old and many, but not all that much varied. Hangman, Scrabble, Palabra, Boggle, Upwords -- classic word games to be sure, but all of them come back to words. They all execute differently, but they are still squarely in the 'word game' genre. And this is nto a bad thing -- not at all -- but what it does mean is that unless you are a word game fan, you will probably not find much 'game' in them.
Wordigo seems promising as word games go: each player gets their own player mat, 4 copies of 4 difefrent mats, which they will use to compete against each other. The mats look something like simple crossword grids, and they are all blank, just waiting to be filled with words. The deal is that when players are filling words, they must start with the '1' word, and once that is finished, they may then play letters to make the '2' word, which is interlinked (like a corssword) with the '1' word, and so on. The crossword mats have 10 or so different spots for words, varying from 3-5 letters per word.
Each player has their own tile bag, and each bag has the same distribution of tiles. To start the game, each player draws 8 tiles and places them on their mats. Like Scrabble, not all tile draws are equal, and that means some players may have harder combinations of letters. Having said that, the longest word in a grid is 5 letters long, and many are shorter, so you don't get stuck too often. A nice feature is that if you have useless letters, you can discard and replace them one at a time, with discarded letter worth -1 point each at game's end.
The letters themselves look similar to Scrabble, but do differ somewhat, and this is where Wordigo becomes its own game. The standard 'score' is printed on the bottom ocrner of all the CONSONANTS, but the vowels have no score value -- what they have instead is arrows and multiplier values. You might have an 'A' with an arrow pointing left and another pointing right and 'x2' printed on it. What that means is that it is where you put the vowels, and what consonants that you surround them with, that will increase your score. Using that 'A' descibed above, you'd want to put high scoring letters on either side of it (or wherever the arrows point) because those are the only letters that receive the 'x2' bonus.
The game is speed based, so faster can be better. Every person to complete their grid before the 7-minute timer runs out gets bonus points, and the first person to finish also gets bonus points.
And that's it. The problems with the game are varied. The game box is a bit flimsy, and the color palette could have used some work, but for the price, it's a good deal. The main problem with the game is the solitaire nature. In theory we are all competing against each other (except in the solitaire version) but since every player has their own mat and is drawing different tiles at different times, it is vary much a solitaire experience. Secondly, the game is really not all that challenging. All words are fairly short, and the only tricky part is trying to get your 'x4' vowels to line up with good consonants. Wordigo feels a lot like the public domainish game 'speed scrabble' (which uses Scrabble tiles in a speed game played on a table) and I feel like speed Scrabble works much better since it allows all kinds of double usage on letters and rewards extremely well planend grids. Wordigo lacks real challenge, except as a speed game, and, at that, has no interaction, and penalities for discarded letters almost seem too lenient.
If you are a word game fan, you will probably enjoy this enough to buy it, but for me, I would rather just buy a crossword puzzle book and time myself, since essentially that is what it boils down to. 2 stars for the majority of gamers, I think, but probably more of a 3 to 4 star game for people who love word games.