Game Salute, 2012

If you are a big fan of Scrabble and other word games, here is another one to check out. In Kerflip, players grab a number (depending on the number of players) of tiles at random, without looking at them from a bag.  Once everyone has their tiles, they hold them over the board and on the signal drop them onto the board. Then there is a slightly awkward time where the players all flip the tiles to their light side. Then everyone quickly shouts out a word that can be made from the letters on the table. We found this awkward because while players are flipping tiles, they can get a good look at them while somewhat shielding the letters from other players, making it easier for them to figure out words faster. Even unintentionally , this isn’t easy to get around. Maybe we should have formed our words, then flipped the tiles before scoring.  I’d recommend this.

Players then score their words . The first person (the one who stated their word first) gets 10 points for every light colored tile. Then they flip the tiles to their orange sides. Those letters now count for only 5 points on successive players turns. On the light side of several of the letters (K, Q, X, Z, J, etc) is a small number. If you use that letter while it is still un-flipped, you get to draw that many cards, which have victory points ranging from 0-20. Then all the orange tiles are removed from the game, and the unused tiles are returned to the bag for the next round. When there isn’t enough tiles for everyone to draw the required amount, the game is over.  At the end of the game, the total of your score from making words, plus the total of the cards you have drawn to make your final score. Highest score wins.

If you can’t come up with words quickly or make combinations that others don’t make, then this game may not be for you. A 15 second timer comes with the game in case you get someone who spends a lot of time trying to find the best possible word, to keep the game moving.  I like trying to make words quickly and enjoy the challenge of trying to make a high scoring words. I didn’t like the dropping and flipping tiles, but as I mentioned above, they wouldn’t have to be flipped until after the players have committed to their word. This plays fast and easy, and if you can make words using the special tiles, and get a lot of cards, it can even out the game, or it can push it toward one person grabbing all the points. It would be interesting if they put a lesser card draw on the orange side of the tiles, so a “Q” might have a 3 card draw if used once, 1 card if you use it after it has been flipped.

There is also a lightning tile. When this tile appears, the first person to shout their word gets a 25 point bonus. This can really give that fast-word-creating player a huge lead. I am not thrilled with that mechanic. Would rather see a tile like that come up, but have it go to the person who made the most points that round or some mechanic that makes it more of a strategic play, rather than a fast one.

In the end, it is a good quality game, with a nice storage tray that makes clean up of a lot of little tiles very easy. They have created a “funnel” within the storage tray. The board sits on top of the tray during play, so you just swipe the used tiles into the open section. At the end of the game, you simply tip up the box and all the tiles fall right into their storage box. Easy peasy.

If you like fast paced word games, pick it up. You’ll enjoy it.

One thought on “Game Review: Kerflip!

  1. Hi Michele, your page turned up in my Google alerts, and I wanted to thank for playing and reviewing KerFlip! Feel free to play any way you like to… house rules “rule!” Just a quick note on the flipping of the tiles at the beginning of each round. The alternative is to not see which tiles have the bonuses, since the bonus numbers aren’t on the orange sides. Some of my early playtesters commented on that, and I thought that was the bigger problem, but maybe I was wrong… In any case, seems like you enjoyed the game, which I’m happy to hear! Thanks again!

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