Number of Players: 2 (easily playable in teams)

Grade Levels: Middle School and Up

Length: 20 to 30 Minutes

Investment: Low
Return: High

NYS Standards:

ELA Standards:
Standard 1: Students will read, write, listen and speak for information and understanding.

AASL Standards:
1.1.2: Use prior/background knowledge as context for new learning
1.2.5 Demonstrate adaptability by changing inquiry focus… or strategies when necessary to achieve success
4.1.5 Connect ideas to own interests and previous knowledge and experience

I love to play with words. I enjoy doing crossword puzzles, but not the word search, and ever since I got my iPod Touch, I have played through a slew of word games. Word Warp has stood the test of time above all others I have tried. Looking to the table, I haven’t been overwhelmed with what I have found in the modern board game market. There are some great word games that are very enjoyable, but they don’t scratch that same itch. That all changed as I sat down and had a chance to try LetterFlip from Out of the Box Publishing.

LetterFlip is a two-player game of deduction and wordsmithing. Each player has a rack with the letters of the alphabet. They use these letters to keep track of their guesses as they work their way through a string of words, progressively gaining difficulty. If a letter is not in the word they flip it down, if it is they keep it up. Similar to hangman, LetterFlip has players working through their word patterns in an effort to deduce their mystery word. What sets this game apart are the additional questions and details in the game that really make it engaging.

First, apart from asking if letters are a part of a word, players can also ask the placement of already known letters. “Is “r” the third letter?” This extra information inspires students to really examine how words are put together. If I am working on a four-letter word and I already have an “e”, an “a” and an “r”, I can start to run through arrangements of those letters and making educated ventures from there. I might start with “*ear” or “*are” words. Asking letter position is key in working out this information.

One other nice detail is the ability to track letters during the course of the game. Whenever a player correctly guesses a letter they find out how many times it appears in the word they are working on. They then slide an indicator built into the letter up to let them know how many times it appears in the word. While not necessary, it is a very nice detail that allows the players to focus on the puzzle rather than remembering the details.

I LOVE LetterFlip. While not necessarily a new game concept, it brings word deduction together in a well produced and engaging game that lets students build their vocabulary and word skills in a fun and challenging way. While this is a two-player game, it works well with teams of students helping each other making it a great choice for classrooms and libraries.