Eat Your Words Views
My family loves games so I was happy to test out Eat Your Words with the kids for Boston Mamas. We cracked open the game one night before bedtime; my kids were very excited by the game's bright colors, adorable alligator, and child-friendly 3D setup. We played in teams, my husband and 5-year-old son against my 8-year-old daughter and me. My only complaint about this game is that while it says 5+ I think it's better for 7 and up. My son was a bit baffled by the idea of spelling words, particularly because the tiles are in lower case and he is still learning his upper case letters.
A couple of details of how you play the game -- particularly the fact that if you lose a round you have to put your letters into the alligator's mouth -- confused me a bit. This might be designed to keep younger children interested, which is fine, but I didn't understand the purpose. No matter -- my kids have continued to play the game and my daughter even exclaimed that she'd love to play it on a play date with a friend. So with the caveat that I'd recommend it for kids 7 and up (or for kids who are comfortable with upper and lower case letters and are working on spelling), I highly recommend Eat Your Words to encourage young wordsmiths.
The Chinese love homophones—words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. For instance, the Chinese word for six, lui, is also the word for smooth. So you are wishing someone a smooth year if you give denominations of six. Eight is the homophone for lucky. Lucky number 7? Not in China. This homophony repeats itself in New Year’s foods. First and most important is fat choy, translated as “hair seaweed” or “hair moss.” Fat choy also means “huge increase in property or wealth.” Pair your fat choy with ho see (dried oysters), which also translates to “great news or great business,” and you’re eating ho see fat choy or hair seaweed and dried oysters that symbolize wealth and good business.
We found the game worked with a few simple rules changes: 1. When you play a word, you can eat any letters on the board you need to remove to make your word(s), but you must leave valid words in all cases. You score for any words you newly create, but not for ones unchanged by your play. (You aren#’t required to remove letters from the board.) 2. You can never replace a letter with the same letter, nor can you remove a letter without replacing it. 3. You need not change the number of words on the board. 4. Each premium square only counts once. Sorry, you cann’t get the same triple-word bonus eight times. 5. If you want to exchange tiles, you must eat them from your rack first. 6. Because of the sheer number of tiles in a box, you should pick a score which ends the game when someone hits it. (We picked 300.)