Are you a phone-checker? Or maybe a table-drummer? You know, when it is someone else’s turn around the table? Admit it, sitting patiently waiting doesn’t come easily……
And what about that veteran of the board gaming world, Scrabble? Do you see words already laid down which you could make into epic triple score, bonanzas? I know you’re thinking “If only I could pick them up and mix them in with the letters I actually have, I’d have some killer words!”.
Well, fear not. For I might just have a solution for all you impatient, gaming wordsmiths! RAID from Raidboardgame is a fast grabbing, loud shouting, word game unlike anything I have played before.
And, speaking of words, flexibility is probably the key one when it comes to playing RAID. Even the end-game trigger can be decided from 3 available options!
Rule the Raids!
The rules for RAID are pretty straightforward;
· Pick a side of the board to play (the easier side having more spaces for shorter length words) and then choose a colour.
· Roll the dice in turns and pick out the corresponding number of letter tiles from the shared pool. Then everybody places them face up in the centre of the board (“the RAIDing circle”).
· Now try to think of words which use some or all of those letters. Be the first to shout it out, and you get to place that word on a space on your board. It can be anywhere so long as it matches the number of letters used. Like Scrabble, each letter has a corresponding value, so your words will be totted up at the end and will represent your victory point total.
· If you or another player can convert another player’s word into a completely new word (no simple plurals or variants or even repeat words allowed), then you get to RAID that player’s board and steal their tiles. This can happen at any time, and you can even steal letters just RAIDED back again! E.g. if a player lays down “own” and you spy a “G” in the pool, you can shout “gown” and move all of the letters onto your own board (so long as there is a 4 letter space available!). If an “R” rolls around, however, someone could shout “grown” and RAID your board for those 4 essential letters!
· If you can’t go, you can roll the dice and add that number of letters to the circle. There is no need to wait for anybody else; just roll, pick, shout or (most probably) RAID! Beware, however, as your new word is never safe; it is always ripe for being RAIDED back again!
· If you can form one of the special “bonus words” set out on the random card given to you before the game begins (or even a communal list agreed by the players), you will also get 50 additional points.
· As soon as someone has filled three blocks of spaces on their board, the game ends, and they are declared the winner. Alternatively, the raidiest raider can be the person with the most points after the pool of letter tiles has run out, or the agreed time limit has passed – the choice is yours!
Fast and Furious!
Straight up, this game is crazy! Having played it a number of times now, we end up shouting, grabbing, stealing, sliding, and fist balling all over the place! We are, however, also having fun!
But, with most of us gamers having been weaned on Scrabble and other more sedate word games, beware; this is a real shock to the system. Seeing the letters you want to disappear before your eyes is surprising enough. Watching words then being RAIDed and taken off your own board is a real “Wait. What???” moment!
The first few times, I guarantee you’ll feel like you’re playing it wrong. That you must have misread the rules. But you probably haven’t. It is just as frantic and frustratingly entertaining as it seems!
For us, having no set limits or turn order is a very different way to play. The real-time element generates a real high-stress environment, which can feel chaotic. But, if you get into the swing of it, RAID is definitely a fun twist on the traditional word games.
And filling three blocks on your board, or rather keeping them filled, is trickier than it seems! Just when you think you are almost there, words fly off and you’re back at the beginning again!
Real Time Raid
Having got into real-time games quite recently and loving them (thank you fuse!), I thought I was getting the hang of thinking quickly. Being a parent to a 6-year-old also usually requires some fast-paced synapse firing (PhD level science questions just before bedtime being my usual challenge!).
But, after playing RAID, I am not so sure of my skills!
My mind goes blank a lot in this game. Like there is a desert between my ears. Nothing but sand and tumbleweed. And part of that is, I think because I feel like it should be simple.
I have played Scrabble a lot. Having more letters and options will surely make it easier. After all, some words need only be 3 letters to fill up a block on my board. Just 3! And I know they are there, swimming about between the tiles. cat, act…. Plus, add in the option to RAID someone just laying ion and I could be forming action! But can I get my eyes and mind to work together? Not at all.
This time, It’s Personal
I won’t deny it. For me, RAID becomes very personal, very quickly! Seeing my husband take the words I have been able to form hurts! Similarly, realising that my mother-in-law has just shouted out a word that I was one second away from calling out is incredibly frustrating. But, then being able to RAID one of their words and turn it into a more valuable one on my own board is a sweet moment indeed.
Having played it with a number of different people, RAID is a great family option – after all, who doesn’t like beating their nearest and dearest!?
It is definitely a game where players with a wider vocabulary are likely to do well. But speed is almost as important – if you can’t think of the words quickly enough, you won’t succeed. Plus, by using one or two of the variants (turn taking be especially helpful when playing with our young son), or even house rules, the game can be adapted to suit most players and playing preferences without losing the core USP of the RAIDs.
I am conscious that we have only played a prototype, and that there may be a few tweaks to the final game before it starts and finishes its Kickstarter campaign. But, if the game stays true to the version we have trialled, then it looks to be a fun and crazy twist on trad word games!