Each player gets 11 cards in their hand. Before the timer starts, a die roll and a randomly drawn card determine what the "theme" for that turn will be. Each card has a letter on it and also a list of words starting with that letter - so the roll of a 10-sided die indicates which of the 10 words will be used. As an example, one card with an "E" has the words
One "O" card features:
The speed and the theme word make the game unique and separate from games like Scrabble and Quiddler which give you lots of time to make a long word. Here the real goal is to make a relevant word, so it fires up different parts of your brain. One area of your brain is just stringing letters together, another is trying to tie those strings of letters to "oblong."
There's a modicum of strategy in this word game. You need to play to your strengths - are you good at making really long words (regardless of the theme) or are you good at coming up with words that are so cleverly tied to the theme, that the Judge will find them irresistible? Play to your Judge (it pays to know who you're making a word for.) You score 1 point for longest word and 3 points for getting chosen as "best" - most thematic/preferred by the Judge. If you're REALLY good, create the longest word AND make it thematic, and you'll clean up with four points! Players are awarded points in the form of small plastic chips.
I liked how the cards cleverly combine the letters (for building words) and the theme words (for determining what the theme will be each turn.) The design is elegant. I also like how up to eight people can play. This is good for the larger game nights.
Wordariffic is a fast and fun game of words, and will be enjoyed by players who like making words - and making their case!