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Words of the Wise Review by Kathy Gelzer

Griddly Games Inc.
633-5960 No. 6 Road
Richmond BC, V6V 1Z1, Canada
604-249 5020

Words of the Wise is a word game that contains 101 Words of the Wise category cards, which are approximately three inches square. Each card lists a category such as countries, authors, or trees. These categories are printed in English, French, Spanish, and German.

There are three ways to play. First of all, a winning point score is determined, such as 100 points. The standard method is for players to go around clockwise, each naming a word in alphabetical order relating to the category. If you can't answer, you are out. The last person remaining wins the number of points posted (multiples of ten from ten to fifty) on the category card.

In the speed method, each player writes down a word for each letter of the alphabet relating to the category before the time is up. When the timer goes off, the person with the most acceptable answers wins the points.

Then there is the challenge variation, where a word for every letter of the alphabet must be supplied in order to win.

The game also comes with 24 Wise Alec cards, which are optional. If you use these cards, one card is dealt to each player for each round of play. These cards are similar to those used in Uno. The Pass card allows you to skip a subject or turn; Skip allows you to skip a letter; Multi-skip allows you to skip more than one letter; Last Letter lets you end your word with the letter instead of beginning it with the letter; and Reverse lets you repeat the same letter just used.

One thing about these Wise Alec cards is that they only contain a symbol and not the instruction for what to do. The symbols are not necessarily intuitive. For example, a sun signifies pass, and a zero is the symbol for ending the word with the letter.

It is curious that this game, for ages ten and up, contains category cards for wines, beer, and beverages and cocktails. Depending on your family values, you may want to remove these cards before playing. Otherwise, the categories span a wide range of knowledge such as baby stuff, schools, sports, mountains, Latin words, medical terms, books and novels, mythical gods and creatures, and inventors and scientists.

Our family thought it would be good to alter the game rules to give younger players an equal advantage. For example, you could allow players to come up with one word for three consecutive letters of the alphabet. There are some letter and category combinations that are practically impossible.

All in all, Words of the Wise is a great game to get the mental juices flowing. Its size makes it portable, and it can be played by both children and adults.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2010