I like word games, but only specific word games. You will probably never see me review Scrabble on this site because I think it takes far too long to play and I find waiting for slower players to take their turn agonizing. I also refuse to memorize the Scrabble dictionary, which I feel that you need to do to gain a solid win against the stronger players. Boggle, however, I love. It’s “the 3-minute word search game” that everybody plays at the same time. And for those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to be familiar with it, the game is comprised of 16 lettered dice and the words you find must be made up of letters on adjacent dice without repeating. It’s stupidly simple. In 3 minutes everyone writes down as many words as they can find with 3 or more letters. (Although we play 4 letters or more to make it a bit more challenging.) Then you get points based on how many letters each of your unique words have.
You don’t really need to have a huge vocabulary to win – you just need to be quick. You get 1 point for 3-4 letter words and more for longer words. So if you come up with zillion 3-letter words, you can beat the person who found only a couple of crazy long ones. And I must admit, my favorite part (besides winning) is when you get to the end of the round it’s really satisfying to see how many great words you have that no one else found.
I like Boggle so much that in the past I’ve been known to have paper, pencils and a mini dictionary crammed into the Boggle box so I could take it with me on trips. But the bad thing was, the old Boggle game was designed so if you put the clear plastic cover on top of the dice tray, it wouldn’t fit in the box. Annoying right? Then Hasbro fixed that problem by giving the lid a new odd shape, but the dice didn’t shake as well in that one (and it felt kind of cheap) so I didn’t even bother purchasing it. Well now they’ve completely redesigned the dice holder and it’s a very cool travel-friendly solution. You twist it to shake the dice, then twist back to lock them in place. So now, with the absence of a removable lid, you don’t have to worry about losing one of the dice. And then to make it an all-in-one game, it’s got a timer built in. Now all you have to do is hunt down some pencils and paper and you’re ready to roll!
Boggle’s been around since 1972 although it failed and was relaunched in 1976 after some revisions – including the addition of a shaker. It was invented by Alan Turoff and as a fun bit of trivia the longest words that can be made are 17 letters long because the Q and U are on the same tile. They are: inconsequentially, quadricentennials, and sesquicentennials. Personally, I’ve never been able to get any of them.
~ $15 at Amazon and pretty much everywhere that sells games
2 or More Players
~5 Minutes per round (including scoring) so it’s up to you
Ages 8 and up