I’m sure most of you know Funnybone Toys for their amazingly beautiful games — but if you don’t you should check out their nice selection of family games. I first noticed them many years ago in a local toy store in my area and thought their game boxes were really eye-catching (and thus they made my 2013 Toy Fair Eye-Candy article)! Since then I’ve had the opportunity to play a bunch of their games including the previously reviewed Anaxi, and now their two new ones, Akin and Whim.
Akin is their new speed word-association game. They call it a party game and it was frenzied and fun, but it’s limited to 4 players so you can’t have too many people at your party. The game had 2 types of cards: ones with object words on them and ones with qualities on them. You can choose to put either card type in the 4×4 grid in the center of the playing area, and then the other card type will become the draw deck. To start a round, you flip a card from the draw deck and players then — armed with 2 little suction cups — search for 2 of the center cards that almost always go with the flipped card. So if the flipped card is “Mop” (an object card) you’ll be looking for 2 grid cards that usually describe a Mop. If you saw “Damp” and “Cleans” you’d use one suction cup to mark each card. The key is you have to suction them at the exact same time! If you’re playing with the decks reversed and your card says “Fuzzy” you’ll be looking to suction cards like “Bath Mat” and “Cat” — both of which are usually fuzzy. If you win the round, you win the flipped card and replace the suctioned cards on the grid. Play 10 rounds, the player who wins the most wins the game!
~$20 Amazon, local game stores
~10-15 minutes (depends on discussion time)
While Whim is timed, it’s definitely not a frenzied speed game like Akin. Instead you’ve got to use a bit of strategy to win this one. The game is played over 5 rounds and you play with a different circle each round. Each player has 3 markers and each circle has 8 letter wedges from which to choose each with a different letter and different value. To start a round, you grab a circle and roll the die. The die will dictate if you’re going to have to come up with words that start with the letters you select, end with the letters you select, or include that letter somewhere in the middle (which can be rather hard!) Once the die is rolled, then players all take turns laying their chips on pie wedges. (You don’t have to use all 3 chips if you don’t want to but we used all 3 every round we played.) Some letters are easier to use in the middle or at the end of words than others and this is somewhat reflected in their values on the board. Once chips have been placed, a category card is drawn and the timer is started. Players have 1 minute to write down 1 word for each chip they’ve placed.
When time is up you score. If you have a valid, unique word (meaning it has your letter in the correct spot and no one else has that word), you score the number of points shown on the board with that letter. IF you were the only player to choose that letter you get DOUBLE points! If you screwed up a word or couldn’t think of one, you lose the letter’s points — and if no one else chose that letter you lose DOUBLE points! EEK! If you and someone else selected the same letter and came up with same word you both get zero points. After 5 rounds, you see who has the most points and they win!
~$28 Amazon, local game stores
Out of the two, I like Whim better mostly because there was more strategy to it. I loved that one game I was able to come back and win after completely blowing it the first round. Sure I had to choose some pretty tough letters and hope that I didn’t screw up again, but it felt like a great challenge. Also there’s a slight mind-game going on during the letter selection process — what’s your opponent going to choose? Are you going to have the chance at double points for a Y because you could also lose big! It was quite a bit of fun and thinking but didn’t take too long. Akin is also a fun game and we had some pretty interesting discussions regarding some of the answers. (Warning: these could have turned into arguments if you were playing with really competitive people!) And everyone agreed that the suction grabbers in Akin were really satisfying to use. Just between the two, I really enjoyed Whim but maybe the speed and action of Akin is more your jam. Overall, both fun!
Game was provided free of charge from the manufacturer with no guarantee of review (I’ve got to like it). Use the links below to support The Game Aisle or go to your local toy store and support them!