Friday, April 10, 2009

Children's Games: Scrabble Junior

One of my new projects on Splitting Eights is to play through all of the children's and family games I own and talk a little bit about each. I'll be including any thoughts Abby has on the game as well, so between the two of us readers should be able to get a feel for what makes each game interesting and fun, or, as the case may be, not so much.

Scrabble Junior (The Disney Edition)
Ages 5+
2-4 players

Abby asks to play this game rather frequently. She likes that the board is two sided so you can alternate the sets of words to spell during the game, and particularly enjoys getting to collect the little scoring chits each time she finishes a word. She does get rather frustrated that each turn you have to pick new letters randomly and keep them even if they are currently useless in the game. Abby would much prefer to keep picking letters and putting them back until she draws the ones that are actually useful to her.

I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about this title. You do spell out words as the game progresses, so I suppose that is a good feature for children, but all the words are pre-printed on the board and thus players don't have to think about the spelling, they merely have to match the letters in their hand with letters on the board. Sometimes you'll be able to withhold playing certain letters so that your opponent cannot finish some words, but more often than not you'll only have a couple of legal moves and thus have to set up the other players to gain points. Through much of the game there is a feeling of not being in control, which is a bit frustrating. I'd like if the game could be more free-form, allowing players to create their own simple words (more like Scrabble), but I'm not sure how that would work when children and adults played together.

I'd say this is a middle of the pack kids game. Abby enjoys it and I don't mind playing it with her, but it wouldn't be one of the first I'd reach for if I were picking a game.

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