The Bottom Line
- Unspeakable Words is a great word game that also incorporates chance.
- Players who are great at word games have an advantage, but are not unbeatable.
- Players must balance high-scoring words against the chance of scoring nothing.
- The plastic Cthulhu pawns are wonderfully sculpted.
- Some players will not appreciate the strong element of luck.
- For 2 to 6 players, ages 10 and up.
- Designed by James Ernest and Mike Selinker, published by Playroom Entertainment in 2007.
- About 30 minutes per game.
- Includes 96 letter cards, 30 Cthulhu pawns, and a 20-sided die.
Guide Review - Unspeakable WordsPlayers start with seven cards, each featuring a single letter of the alphabet and the points that letter is worth. Unlike many word games, letters are not valued on how common they are. Rather, their scores are based on how many angles a letter has. So an "S," for example, is worth zero points while an "A" is worth five.
On his turn, a player uses some or all of the cards in his hand to form a word and can score the total number of points in the letters you use. But no points are scored until after the sanity check.
Ah, yes, the sanity check. After forming a word, the player rolls a 20-sided die. If the result is less than the number of points in the word, the player loses a sanity point. Since each player only has five sanith points, it's important to be careful when playing this crazy little word game. (The sanity points come in the form of green, plastic Cthulhu pawns.) If a player loses all five sanity points, he is eliminated from the game. Luck plays a role, but making smart decisions is even more important.
That unique scoring system is the heart of what makes Unspeakable Words such a fun game. Children can often play with adults, since playing short words is a viable strategy -- and some short words can score highly if there are enough angles in the letters.
Unspeakable Words -- a clever, highly entertaining word game -- wins my enthusiastic recommendation.