Sunday 17 January 2010

LeCardo - a new wordgame for all the family

It always amazes me that people can still come up with new ideas for board games or word games after all these years but there are still ideas out there to be had, if you've got the imagination ! The proof is that I've had two new wordgames to trial recently, Wordinoes - which is like a wordy version of dominoes - and now this new game Lecardo. The basic idea behind the two games is quite similar - you have to use word association and lots of imagination to win - but Lecardo offers a points-scoring system so will probably go down well if you're competitive.

The game initially reminded me slightly of a variation of Scrabble without a board and using words instead of letters. The rules are very simple and need very little explaining before you can start playing. You shuffle the pack of cards, deal seven cards to each player and the player with the highest value card lays the first card. As with all good games, you can adapt the rules to best fit your situation so when we played, we let the youngest player start (as this is obviously the easiest move of the whole game !)

Play then continues with each player laying as many cards as possible to make compound words, adding to the word on the left or right, above or below the cards already on the table. Despite reading the rules, we played it wrong the first time - thinking along the lines of scrabble, I thought all the words in a line had to match so base could go with ball and then bat to make baseball bat, but you couldn't put base then ball then gown because baseball gown doesn't exist. But, as the examples on the website show, base - ball - gown is quite acceptable because base goes with ball and ball goes with gown, and it only has to match with the word directly next to the card you lay. This obviously makes the game easier than the version we were initially playing !

Even though, I would say 8 is slightly young to be able to play properly - and above all, without getting irritated by losing all the time ! In fact, despite the new-design pack of cards stating "ages 8 to adult", the pack shown on the website does say 10 to adult, which is probably more accurate. But, as I said above, you can adapt the rules to suit the ages (and temperaments !) of the people playing so if you had very young children playing, you could even modify it to play a version of old maid, for example, using and matching just the cards in your hands and trying to get rid of your cards by making pairs, without ever laying them out on the table and worrying about scores.

What I really love is that it is such a compact game. A pack of cards fits easily into a handbag or pocket and takes up pretty much zero space in luggage - which is a huge bonus if you've got several children and a car that is always fit to bursting whenever you go off on holiday ! It also means you'll have less to fit in the toy cupboards at home and the mum in me says it's great to find a game that is so quick and easy to tidy away.

The website suggests that you could also use Lecardo to improve your child’s word recognition and grasp of language, as well as assisting them to read, spell and use a wider vocabulary. I would add into that helping them to learn how to use a dictionary because they could look up strange compound words they'd never heard of in a dictionary, to help them when they are stuck.
Once the kids have gone to bed, you can make things more complicated, going for maximum points and trying to make clever squares with multiple compounds. If you like wordgames, you'll definitely be hooked !

star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £5.99

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