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My Word! and Zen Benders games Review by Heidi Strawser

Out of the Box Publishing Inc.
609 Bennett Road
Dodgeville, WI 53533
800-540-2304
http://www.otb-games.com

Several months ago, my family was introduced to what would quickly become our favorite game--Apples to Apples by Out of the Box. I had heard so much buzz about Apples to Apples among my homeschooling friends, almost to the point that I thought it might be a letdown to actually play the game. Not so! It was so much fun that we had to rush right out and buy it for ourselves!

I didn’t realize, when I was offered the opportunity to review My Word! and Zen Benders, that these two games were by the makers of Apples to Apples. When I received the games and a product catalog, I got very excited. These games did not disappoint! They are both fun, educational, entertaining, of good quality, and well worth the price.
 
My Word! is a card-type game of “fast and fun wordplay”. I love word games, and this one lived up to my expectations. One player acts as the dealer, laying cards out on the table one at a time. Cards contain either single letters or double letters. The first player who calls out a word using at least three of the cards wins those cards, and the game continues. This game is recommended for ages 7 to adult (though younger skilled readers can easily play, or the rules can be slightly adapted). It is for 2 to 6 players, and an average game takes from 10 to 30 minutes. I like this, as I can easily sit down and play a game with my daughters while supper is cooking or between subjects in school--anytime we need to add some fun to our day. The cards come nicely packaged in an embossed tin box, which is nice for storage and you don’t have loose cards lying all over the house. At only $9.99, this game is worth its price. It would be a great way to encourage reading skills with hesitant learners and would also make a great gift for those word-game lovers in your family. (I should also mention that cards are included that will make this game adaptable for Spanish-speaking players or those studying Spanish.)
 
Zen Benders is more of a puzzle-type game. It comes packaged in a round, plastic container that holds 9 dice-like puzzle pieces, 36 challenge cards, and instructions. To play the game, select a challenge card (these come in three degrees of difficulty) and then flip and slide the special Zen Benders dice to recreate the pattern on the card. This game is a single-player game, which makes it ideal for my 8-year-old game lover, especially when everyone else is too busy to play. One game can easily be played in about two minutes; but it becomes addicting, so it’s hard to stop at just one! This game is recommended for ages 8 to adult, and it comes in several varieties (we received three different ones--all equally fun and challenging). Again, this game is priced at just $9.99 and is well worth it for the hours of fun you will have.

I’m sold on Out of the Box games! I’ve been perusing the catalog, making my Christmas list already. There are games for every level, every interest, and every situation. If your family enjoys games, I would highly recommend checking out Out of the Box for all your gaming needs!

Product review by Heidi Strawser, E-Book Reviews Specialist & Marketing Assistant, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2008

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