There are a lot of games that work well in different situations, and Word of the Street from Educational Insights and Coiledspring Games is certainly one of these. Suitable both as an after-dinner party game or something to play with your family, Word on the Street balances the educational side and entertainment in a wonderful little package.
The game itself works very simply. To set the game up, lay out the board and place the letter tiles over the corresponding spaces. It’s all the consonants minus Q, X, and Z. Then, split into two teams and start the game! Players will read questions to each other team, either from the yellow easier side, ideal for children from six and up; or from the blue side that is more suited to teenagers and older.
You then have 30 seconds to choose your word and move the relevant letters affected. The questions are generally categories such as naming a mountain, something that would hold liquid or a kitchen appliance. Once the word has been selected, players can then move the letters that appear in their chosen word one space closer to them on the board for each time that letter appears.
Where the letters are placed on the board, there is space either side to move the letter two spaces each way. If you can move one letter three spaces towards you by using it three times that letter falls off the board and becomes yours. This becomes a bit of a tug of war as the letter often moves back and forth multiple times in a game. It’s hard to find a word that uses a letter three times before the opposing team has moved it once closer to them, although getting an early "Pineapple" is obviously very rewarding!
You can play until all letters are claimed, a majority is won, or to a specific time or letter limit. The flexibility is there for you to enjoy this game however best suits your group. I find the majority win is the most exciting. There are 17 letter tiles, so the first to win nine tiles wins. This is how we play and it adds a bit of tension when one team gets to seven and eight tiles.
Quite often the easier letters are claimed first, meaning a game is often won or lost on who can use the “K” or “V” the most first. One recent game had a magical moment centred around the word “Ovoviviparous!” Ok, that was a lie, I googled that to sound clever. But I did manage to get "Kit Kat" in for a thing from a vending machine!
Every Day is a School Day!
Playing Word on the Street with my children is such an enjoyable experience. We set up with one parent and one child per team and often play after dinner. There is an instant and hilarious rivalry between teams that I don’t see with my family in many other more complex and involved board games. There is something to Word on the Street that brings out the cage fighter in us all!
We battle for the easier letters first but my daughter always wants the “M” first, simply as it’s in her name! The game usually runs for 20-30 minutes for us, but it never outstays its welcome. My children enjoy reading the questions to each other and watching the sand timer running down as much as answering the questions themselves.
I have found it has massively helped their vocabulary, not just in their own personal understanding of different words, but also in the desire to explore and use more complex words. Not just go for the first thing that comes into their head as they did in the first few games. There is something very satisfying in seeing my six-year-old daughter scream “Himalayas” at the top of her voice!
I would recommend this game to any family looking to play games with their children that have an element of education neetly packed in with the fun. It works well with just adults too. Especially those who enjoy word games with a bit of time tension. But it can be a little frustrating if one person has a far superior vocabulary than others. I would not have enjoyed playing this with my father for example!