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LAST WORD

Reviewed by Herb Levy

(Buffalo Games, 2-8 players, ages 8 and up, 75-100 minutes; about $30)

 

Some people always like to get in the last word. In Buffalo Games’ new adult party game, Last Word, that’s the trait that can make you a winner!

Last Word comes in a bookshelf style box which includes a playing board, 230 subject cards, 56 letter cards, 8 pawns, 8 “trade-in” pieces, an electronic timer and, in keeping with games of this genre, merely single page of instructions.

Players choose a color pawn, receive a matching “trade-in” card, and place their colored pawns on the start space of the board’s track. The subject cards are shuffled and each player receives one. The letter cards are shuffled and, as soon as any player turns over the top card revealing a single letter, the action erupts!LastWord

All players try to come up with a word that starts with the revealed letter AND fits the category of the subject card they hold. The FIRST player who manages to call out such a word reveals his subject card and starts the timer. From that point on, ALL players try to shout out a word that begins with that letter AND fits into that category. The player who shouts out the last word before the timer buzzes wins the round and advances one space on the board. (Don’t try to wait to say your word until the last second. The timer is VARIABLE so you never know exactly how much time is left.) That player now draws a new subject card (all other players keep theirs) and we do it all over again. There are a few wrinkles in the game play that keep the game from becoming monotonous. For example, you can “Jump Start”.

Any player may call “Jump Start” once a letter card is revealed – and without playing a subject card. All of the OTHER players are now committed to shouting out one word that matches the category card they hold. The first player able to do this advances one space. But, if no player can do this, the player who started the “Jump Start” moves ahead two spaces.

Sometimes, you’ll find yourself with a category that stumps you. That’s where your trade-in card comes in. This allows you to jettison the subject card you hold and draw a new one. But you need to use this wisely. A trade-in may only be done once in the entire game.

Getting non-gamers together to play games can be a challenge. The key seems to be getting everyone “involved”. No down time and no “heavy brain work”. Keep it fast, frenetic and fun. Last Word manages to do just that. – – – – – – – – – – Herb Levy


 

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