December 05, 2014


It's December, so that means the annual Will Shortz's Wonderful World of Words just ended, and once again, we played four terrific word games. We especially enjoy supporting the products of independent game companies, who have seen many toy stores close and face an uphill battle placing their wares into big-box stores.

Our group loved to play KerFlip! It's much faster-paced than most anagram games, but there is still strategy involved. All players must form a word from 10-12 common tiles: there are great advantages to be the first to find a word, but slower players might come up with longer and higher-scoring words.

Inventor Damon Tabb has incorporated so many cool design choices:

1. You play the game on the inside of the box.

2. In most rounds of KerFlip!, some tiles are "thrown away" but unused tiles are put back in the bag to be drawn again. To get rid of unwanted tiles you just sweep them the the bottom of the playing area. When you are through, one flip of the box and the tiles are automatically retrieved by in an inner box.

3. The first edition of KerFlip! featured a set of timers. In the second edition, there is only one, and players can choose whether to use the timer or not. Even if you do, only the slowest player is on the clock after the other players have come up with a word, so no one has to look for the sandtimer to empty while trying to play the game.

Kerflip! is easy to learn and bright kids can be competitive with adults, especially if they are fast. There are many more features to the game, well documented by the Watch It Play video above. If you like pure word games, I think you'll love KerFlip!