Reviewed by: Wayne Tonjes
Reader’s Digest National Word Power Challenge by McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds is a new standalone card game, designed to tie in with the Reader’s Digest Association’s educational outreach program of the same name. The game is designed to fulfill educational goals using a fairly standard card mechanic along with word development. The game comes with three separate decks of 64 cards each to add some range of play although they all use the same set of instructions. A summary of the core features can be taken from the product website:
“The Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge card game provides a fun
and entertaining way of gaining a more sophisticated working vocabulary.
Players gain an intensive knowledge of each word in the deck by utilizing facts from four categories: Word Origin, Fill-in-the Blank, Definitions and Synonyms. Coupled with vibrant visual reminders, people who play the Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge card game develop an incredible arsenal of powerful words in a fun and challenging way.”
In other words, this is the game Go Fish melded with a vocabulary lesson. A player asks other players for a particular card, by using the primary of four facts listed about the word on their card, gaining another chance to play if the card is found. It has a very straightforward play mode to assist its educational aims with a good mixture of words available in the current decks. Each of these follow a specific theme, suggested by their names, “Over the Rainbow,” “Speaking Out,” and “Lost in Space.” The words are further detailed in a separate guide, which covers the meanings sited in the decks as well as some of their alternate definitions. The use of color photos illustrating or related to the word adds another mnemonic mode for the players to learn the vocabulary.
Unfortunately, the game does not offer a lot of strategic variation, even with five variant rules, so once the terms are learned there is little reason to stick with this game over the original format. The style of game also limits the potential audience range somewhat, with a simplistic play mode and educational bent. If there were some method of expanding the decks, extending the rules to incorporate more challenging play modes, or generalizing the word sets, this would be a much better game. Still, it is an interesting way to help improve language skills that is worth a look.
For more details on McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds and their new card game, Reader’s Digest National Word Power Challenge, check them out at their website http://www.mcneillbrighterminds.com and at local game stores.
Reader’s Digest National Word Power Challenge
From: McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds
Type of Game: Card Game
Game Design by: McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds
Game Components Included: 3 Decks of 64 Cards, Rules, and Definitions Booklet
Retail Price: $19.95 (US)
Number of Players: 3 to 6
Player Ages: 8 and older
Play Time: 30 minutes
Reviewed by: Wayne Tonjes