Illiterati

Illiterati

RRP: $34.99
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RRP $44.99
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The Illiterati are an evil secret organization that has taken over the world. Your job as a member of the League of Librarians is to save the world’s books — one word at a time. Illiterati is a real-time, co-operative word game in which players work together to form words and bind books. Each player starts the game with five letter tiles and a red torched book that shows a c…
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Category Tag SKU ZBG-GCS301 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Value For Money

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • High quality production 
  • Hilarious and exciting co-op gameplay
  • Easy to learn and quick to play

Might Not Like

  • Can be challenging for some with difficulties reading and spelling 
  • Unlucky objective draws
  • Works better at higher player counts
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Description

The Illiterati are an evil secret organization that has taken over the world. Your job as a member of the League of Librarians is to save the world's books — one word at a time.

Illiterati is a real-time, co-operative word game in which players work together to form words and bind books. Each player starts the game with five letter tiles and a red torched book that shows a condition that player must achieve to restore that book, e.g. using 8+ tiles with at least 3 green symbols, create words that are all animals. A library of three random tiles is placed in the center of the table. The game takes place in three-minute rounds, and before the round begins each player draw seven letter tiles from the draw bag.

Once the countdown begins, players can talk and trade letters as much as they want with one another and the library to try to achieve their goal. Once time ends, if the library contains too many letters — and this threshold is based on your difficulty level — then you trigger a burn event. Flip all of these letters face down, then remove one of them from the game, then discard excess letters to the discard bag. If you burn too many letters, you lose the game. If you didn't burn any letters and you've completed your goal, flip your red book face down and draw a blue waterlogged book to give yourself a new goal.

At the end of the round, draw an illiterati villain card and resolve its effect. If you've drawn this villain previously — and the deck contains five copies of five villains — then all of the previous effects from this villain also resolve in a chain attack from newest to oldest. Villain attacks often strip letters from words, which means you'll need to create new words with what's left during the next round to avoid burning another letter.

Once all players have completed two books — or three or four depending on your difficulty level — draw one more book, the Final Chapter, with all players needing to complete this challenge in the same round, e.g., using 12+ tiles, create words in which all of your vowels are the same color. If all players meet this goal during the same round, you win; if even one person fails, another villain attacks, then you draw new tiles to start another round. You can discard and redraw up to seven tiles at the start of a round, but you must draw a second illiterati villain card that round — and if the villain deck runs out, you lose.

 

Up to 5 players must work together as members of the League of Librarians to stop the dastardly Illiterati, an evil organisation trying to destroy the world of literature.  Featuring cooperative and PvP modes, this is a real time word building game in which players must assemble letters to create words. Fighting against a timer, they must also try to bind their spell books, each with a certain objective and criteria to meet.

Thematic, Cooperative Scrabble

This small boxed game sets up quickly and is simple to teach, regardless of the experience levels of the players. The game begins with each player receiving a spell book, which are either red or blue. Each of these contains the objectives needed to win the game. In addition to a letter count, players will have goals such as “something that flies” or “2 syllables” as-well as a type of symbol required. 4 types are displayed on each letter tile, which makes spelling out the words you need harder.

Each player takes a bunch of letter tiles, adjusts the game based on the difficulty and prepares the Illiterati deck. Each round begins with more letters being added to the table for players to interact with, then when everyone is ready, the 3 minute sand timer is flipped. Each player has to bind their spell book, once they do so they gain one of the other colour. When everyone has completed 2 books, one more spell book is drawn with a final chapter on it.  Now everyone must work together and complete this last objective, if they do, they win!

However this isn’t as easy as it sounds. At the end of the round, any unused letters get returned to the centre of the table, or the library as the game calls it. If these letters exceed the library limit, determined by player count and difficulty, then a random letter is “burned” and the others discarded.  These burnt letters go onto the burn tracker board, if this fills up, the players lose.

Not only that but the evil Illiterati deck is drawn at the end of each round, revealing a dangerous villain who can cause chaos for everyone.  These cards can burn saved words, change books, move letters around and generally make the game more difficult. To make matters worse if a card is drawn and that character’s card was already out on the table, it causes a chain reaction, triggering all the effects of that villain’s previously drawn effects.

Production & Presentation

Illiterati is packed full of great quality content. 2 velvet bags hold the thick letter tiles. The sand timer, cards and tiles all fit nicely into the box insert too.

There is a lot of passion put into making this game unique and visually appealing. From the colourful cast of Illiterati cards, to wide variety of fun and well designed spell book cards. Each one having thought provoking and often entertaining objectives.  There is even fun and tongue-in-cheek flavour text on each spell book too! Each tile feels nice to hold, rattling them around in their luxury bags while the table fills with everyone’s carefully constructed words, reminds you of how well produced this game is especially for the price.

The cards are thick and durable and it has plenty of nice little design choices. My favourite being the box itself is meant to be a book. Complete with a paper side and a bookmark like draw string to pull the game open.

Hilarious At Times

Cooperative games can be a hit and miss for me. I prefer games where teamwork is brought out naturally and effortlessly. Illiterati is a perfect poster child for this. This is done by having the gameplay be as unrestrictive as possible but still keeping a clear goal for everyone to work towards.

Players have to bind books but this isn’t always possible. Sometimes just using up as many letters as you can is good enough, survival is key here. Everyone is free though to exchange ideas, swap letters and words around or give up one of their own words to help a teammate out. It’s fun, easy to play and turns go by smoothly. Even at high player counts the game never really goes on past the hour mark.  Spelling out ridiculous words, seeing players scream after just one more letter to bind their book or a badly timed Illiterati card draw ruining everyone’s plans all help generate an atmosphere of fun and excitement for everyone.

Any Downsides?

A game like this requires a specific type of play group of course. Those who dislike word games and cooperative play probably wont enjoy this one. It does feature a PvP mode but it not as enjoyable as the standard gameplay which I feel is what it was intended for.  It can also be difficult to win even on standard difficulty as some spell book cards seem inconsistent. Occasionally you can get an unlucky draw and have an incredibly challenging objective to complete.  Anyone with difficulty reading or spelling will also struggle here. You can get around this by increasing a timer or house ruling the gameplay slightly.

Final Thoughts

Illiterati is a fun, well produced, gem of a word game. It’s a fun, engaging experience for any type of gamer which breathes new life into a genre which is often forgotten.

 

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • High quality production
  • Hilarious and exciting co-op gameplay
  • Easy to learn and quick to play

Might not like

  • Can be challenging for some with difficulties reading and spelling
  • Unlucky objective draws
  • Works better at higher player counts