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Friday, May 6, 2011

Review: Synonyms the Game

We’re always looking for new games to play, so I was excited when a game publisher contacted me to review their word game. It’s called Synonyms, which should give you a decent idea what it’s about. I’ll give you a hint – maybe you can think of three other words to substitute for the game title.

The game in a nutshell:  When it’s your turn, you pick a card with a word on it and you have to name a certain number of synonyms within one minute (the synonyms are on the back of the card). If you succeed, you get one of the letters that makes up the word SYNONYMS. When you get all the letters, you win.

The game is recommended for ages 10+. I’d agree with that, and perhaps even raise the age range. Like everyone in Lake Wobegon, I tend to think of my kids’ intelligence as above average. Usually when looking at the recommended ages on a game, we have no problem going with a higher age range. Not in this case. And I was actually having a hard time naming synonyms too (I don’t think so well under pressure – you won’t find me on any game shows).

The words in the game were a little too hard in general for my kids. The rules do allow you to adjust the game for younger ages, which we did. When it’s your turn, you roll the die to determine how many words you need to say. For our kids, we’d just make them say one, no matter what the die said. We also hand-picked cards that we thought they could do.

One reviewer said that their family avoided gathering letters all together, and just going around the board for fun, going through the cards. Another said she gave her daughter hints. What we’ll try next time (including these options), is to play as a team. Especially since the kids got bored waiting for their turn.

The game has a few other rules which add some randomness and mixes things up. You can challenge another player/team, trying to name additional synonyms (and if succeeding, “stealing” a letter from the loser). You can lose a letter by landing on the wrong spot, and you can “pass” which means getting a new word card or rolling for a different letter.

I think this would be a great game for high school students, especially those preparing for the SATs. In fact, the game is also recommended for that use! 

You can buy the game at Amazon for $29.99.

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