- User Rating: Excellent
Pros:minutes of brain-bending fun turn into hours of frenzied competition
Cons:Can become addicting, the shaking can be quite loud, can lose dice
The Bottom Line: A classic game that has stood the test of time and appeals to most everyone - especially those who are fierce competitiors.
Come with me, back to a more innocent time - I was in the 5th grade. Yes, the wheel and fire had already been discovered in case you're wondering just how old I am. One class from my elementary school and one class from a nearby elementary school were at a special Winter vacation up in the snow-capped mountains of Clear Creek, California. Both classes were assembled in the mess hall on the very first day and the teachers decided on a way to babysit all the students for a while. They had designed a huge word search puzzle and handed a copy to each kid. The announcement was made that whomever got all the words first would win a huge chunk of Garnet.
Gee, what 5th grader wouldn't want to compete for a huge reddish rock? Of course, I was the first one done and gave that rock to a girl who later broke my heart. C'est la Vie.
Why did I tell you all of that? Simple. I have loved word games my entire life. Boggle is another one of those ultra addictive word games. I guess I like it because, basically it's an ever-evolving word search game.
Boggle has evolved from a simple word search frenzy and has managed to make its way into the new millennium with hi-tech computerized versions found on the internet. The most popular version is comprised of a 4x4 grid and sixteen dice, but there are other versions including a 5x5 grid with twenty-five dice.
What Comes in the Box:
16 dice with letters on each face
a plastic tray with 16 square slots
a plastic tray cover
an hourglass timer
What You'll Need to Provide:
as many pencils as there are players
note pads or scrap paper for all players
players should determine the score to end the game - beforehand
a sharp mind
A player shakes the dice within the covered dice tray and makes sure that all of the dice have landed in a slot before placing the uncovered tray on the table. Another player turns the hourglass timer over and the players then have three minutes to find as many words within those sixteen dice as possible. Words are found by adjacent letters horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The smallest word that can be considered for scoring is three letters long.
At the end of the round, the player who shook the dice starts to read his or her word list. If any of the other players have any of the words on the list, all players cross those particular words out and won't be counted in that round's scoring. The remaining players read their lists and the same thing happens. Once the common words are weeded out, the remaining words on each player's list are then calculated by points.
Longer words score higher points and the player with the most points wins the round. Three and four letter words count as 1 point, five letter words count as 2 points, six letters are 3 points, seven letters are 5 and eight or more count as 11 points. When a player reaches the pre-determined final score in points, that player wins the game.
One downfall is the fact that since the plastic cover, the tray and the sixteen dice are separate items, it is possible to lose dice. That will ruin the game. BUT in 2008, Parker Brothers released a "self-contained" Boggle version with the dice sealed inside a plastic unit and utilizing an integrated timer. Problem solved.
Boggle, in any variation, will provide hours of family and friend's fun. Just keep the shaking noise down to a minimum if someone is sleeping because the dice slamming up against the cover and tray can be quite loud. It should also be mentioned that for those who "create" words, a dictionary will keep the peace. The key is to find "unusual" words that others might miss for higher point scores.
Extra Credit: Toy Wars...
It seems that the toy and board game industry has been a series of mergers and buyouts over the years and Hasbro seems to have gobbled up most of the competition - close to having a Monopoly in the industry if you will.
In 1923, two brothers, Henry and Helal Hassenfeld, started a small textile remnant company and in the 1940s they branched out to make a doctor and nurse game. They landed on the map in 1952 when they purchased the "Mr. Potato Head" toy from the original inventor and it went on the become a huge success.
Their next big success would come with the invention of G.I Joe action figures in 1964. In 1968, the company changed its name from Hassenfeld Brothers to Hasbro Industries. Soon they purchased rival companies such as The Milton Bradley Company, Kenner, Parker Brothers, Tonka, Coleco, Galoob, Playskool, Maisto and many others. Hasbro would be the largest toy and game publisher in the world if it wasn't for Mattel's Barbie franchise. I would venture a guess that if not for Barbie, Mattel would have already been purchased by Hasbro.
Hasbro will produce Marvel Comics toys until the year 2017. Disney's purchase of Marvel in 2009 came as a shot in the arm to Hasbro, as it's most likely that Disney will give the Marvel license to Hasbro rival Mattel. So much for the toy monopoly. It's odd to think that only TWO companies reign over most of the toys and board games of today.
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Amount Paid (US$): 12.99
Type of Toy: Puzzle
Age Range of Child: 9 Years or Older