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Three Wise Words Board Game Review

Three Wise Words

WBG Score: 7.5

Player Count: 4-99

You’ll like this if you like: Decrypto, Wavelength, Master Word.

Published by: Big Potato

Designed by: Rich Coombes, Dan Penn

Want a simple, quick, but fun party game to play with your friends and family? Three Wise Words could be for you. Let's get it to the table.


Three Wise is incredibly simple to set-up. Split into teams of two. Lay out the Owl track and place each owl at the start space. Give each team a pencil (not provided with the game to save the planet!) and place the die and cards face down in a central area. That's it.

How to Play

Choose a team to go first. Then split the team into guessers and writers. Ideally one person would be the writer and one the guesser in a team of two. But you can of course have larger teams to help younger players, or accommodate larger groups. The guesser must close their eyes whilst the writer turns over a secret word card and rolls the die to determine which word they will do. Everyone playing needs to see the chosen word apart from the guesser. The writer will now write down three words that they hope will direct their teams guesser to the chosen word. Clues have to be one word and cannot be rhyming words.

You want to pick words that will help them pick from the three words on the card, the one the dice picked. So, you want to make your clues obvious. However, the other team will be trying to guess which three clues the writing team will pick. So, as the writer, you don't want to be too obvious so that the other team can guess your clues.

When everyone has done this, the writer will read out their three clues to the guesser whilst showing them the card. The guesser then has one chance to guess which of the three words the writer was trying to direct them towards. The other team will then reveal the three clues they thought the writer would choose.

If the guesser correctly picks the right word, that team will score two points and keeps that card. They will score one additional point for every clue that the writing team used that the other team did not predict. The other team score one point for every clue they correctly guessed.

If the guesser picks the wrong word, they get no points and each other team gets two points on top of any point for each correctly guess clue. Each team moves their owl a space for each point, and the first team to the finish wins.

The game works very much like a scaled down family version of Decrypto. This is a good thing. A great thing in fact. I love Decrypto. It is by far my favourite party game. But it doesn't work for all groups, and certainly not all ages. Three Wise Words feels like a version of Decrypto that I can play with anyone. I taught Three Wise Words to my daughter when she was six within minutes and she was instantly playing with my family, happily joining in on equal footing. In fact, her team won!

The tricky bit is making clues that others would not guess. But unlike Decrypto, they don't have to be clues that are cryptic. You just need to aim to avoid clues that others may think you will choose. This makes the game so much more accessible to younger gamers. And in fact, younger brains I have found have an advantage some times. With choices that are seemingly more random, but certainly harder to predict! Below is a good example for 'bubble.' People guessed I would go for "pop," "bath," and "soapy." I actually went for "pop," "fun," and "clear." So, this only gave away one point, and my team guessed it correctly. But it was hard for me to think of clues that might be harder to guess. But as soon as it was revealed my son cried, "Why didn't you say 'machine'?" Can you think of three more obscure clues that would work here?

There are plenty of cards in this game, 100 in fact. And it all comes packed in a neat, very portable box. Big Potato Games are clearly thinking about their environmental impact with the materials they use, and the amount of packaging their games now go into. The rules are simply laid out, and the cards are of a decent enough stock to last. You won't really need to shuffle them.

There is a simple variant for families to use just the yellow words, which are all a little simpler. or you can use larger teams as mentioned above. This game really is highly accessible, easy to learn and play, and full of charm. But is it fun?

Well, this depends on what sort of game you enjoy. If you are looking for a light, easy to play, word based party game, then I would say this is likely to be a real winner for you. I have played with five different groups now, of all ages and levels of understanding for modern board games. And on each occasion, when finished, we carried on playing. Like all party games, you can play to a points or time limit, or just until everyone gets board or falls asleep. Everyone I have taught this too has played well beyond the boards scoring system as everyone was just having too much fun. This is always a great sign that a party game is being universally enjoyed.

I will cherish this game for many years to come. It will come with me on camping holidays, game nights, and be brought out at family occasions. You can play it sat chilled on the sofa, shouting across a room, or just about however you like. Three Wise Words gives you the tools for a good time, and I think it would deliver for most groups, most of the time, exactly just that.

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