In the immortal words of Kylie Minogue: “I’m spinning around, move outta my way”. Why? I don’t hear you ask. Well, it’s because I have been given the dubious honour of being the Zatu blogger that gets to review Think Words Spin. The recent addition to the family game genre from John Adams aka Ideal.
Loyal followers of this blog would be forgiven for thinking that they are experiencing a touch of déjà vu. However, your mind is playing tricks on you - I have previously reviewed another game in the franchise, Think Words. But this is a different take in the word game genre, so let’s take this new game for a spin [every pun intended.]
Just like its elder brother, Think Words Spin seats 2-8 players age 8+. The cards are double-sided: One side has different categories on different coloured backgrounds, the other side has a letter in one of the corresponding four colours.
Unlike its big brother this boasts seven different ways to play, which makes writing about the gameplay a bit more tedious. That said, each variant basically follows the same formula: Spin the spinner until it stops, match the colour to select the category and letter, shout out an answer to win the card.
A couple of the variant games are more different. An example would be "Game Four" which sees players distribute all the cards as letters, spinning the red plastic spinner to choose two letters, all players then have to think of a word that begins with the first letter and ends with the second, the example given being an S and a G, with someone shouting out "Shopping!" to win the card.
How it plays
Think Words Spin is less frantic than its elder sibling but still far from calm and tranquil. The pressure of the ticking word wheel is replaced with the pressure of the ‘all play’ environment. It isn’t the same though and, arguably, it is less inclusive.
Younger players do not get ‘their go’ and can get a bit lost in the melee. Therefore playing with a mix of ages, and because of the differing range of vocabulary, there is an unfairness this game cannot get around. The different ways to play are actually good and temper the difficulty rating slightly depending on the audience.
There are 80 cards in total and so that gives enough of a mix, they won’t last forever though, but I will be surprised if you want to play this forever!
The plastic spinning thing does exactly what it needs to do. It holds the cards and it spins. Equally the cards do exactly what they need to do and it is all good enough quality.
I will also mention the box has a hole in the front. Why does any board game producer or manufacturer think a hole in a box is a good idea? This is just asking for things to fall out in my opinion. I hate holes in boxes about the same as walking barefoot on a pebbly beach.
When I was looking at Think Words Spin it was sort of billed as a travel version of the original. Now I am not convinced by this. I think a travel version of a game should be able to be played on a small surface. From my youth the stalwart was Top Trumps or other card games. Today you have other options like Dobble and Skull, the joy of these is that you can literally play them anywhere, be it on a picnic blanket or on a table on the train.
Now I am not suggesting that this takes up a load of space on a table but it does needs a bigger footprint than you would expect when looking at it. That is because around the spinner you need to lay out the other cards. I think this game therefore takes up more space than its predecessor. Think Words Spin also need a flattish playing surface.
It is however very transportable, as it is quite small. I think that the original version is also quite transportable, but my wife disagrees. It is a fairly moot point because neither of us would take either version above some of our other transportable or travel games.
Think Words Spin vs Think Words!
It is impossible to not measure this game to its elder sibling, so I will! Here is a little compare and contrast:
Think Word Spins Pros
- Seven ways to play suggested in the rules.
- It is smaller.
- The RRP is cheaper.
- No batteries required.
Original Think Words Pros
- Cool letter wheel.
- More category cards.
- In-built timer and buzzer.
- More urgency to it.
- Everyone gets a turn.
- Both word games.
- Both transportable
- Same player count.
- Same age rating and family friendly.
- Both have no time limit
Think Word Spins Pros
• Seven ways to play suggested in the rules.
• It is smaller.
• The RRP is cheaper.
• No batteries required.
Original Think Words Pros
• Cool letter wheel.
• More category cards.
• In-built timer and buzzer.
• More urgency to it.
• Everyone gets a turn.
• Both word games.
• Both transportable.
• Same player count.
• Same age rating and family friendly.
• Both have no time limit.
Final Thoughts on Think Words Spin
I said in my review of Think Words that I don’t think you need both games and I stand by that. If one therefore has to choose between them it is impossible to not overlook the fact that this hasn’t got the big letter wheel. My young family agree with me, they love the frenzy of the original game. The kids-love-it-gimmick that ticks and makes a noise when your time is up is a winner in the preceding version and probably reason enough to go for that version above this one.
Also, don’t be misled, this is far from seven games in one box. It is perhaps two games that have very minor variants to offer an ever so slightly different experience or perhaps difficulty. Nor is it a travel game in my opinion.
Overall it is an okay game. Its downfall is that it isn’t different or better enough to give the original version a decent run for its money. If I hadn’t played Think Words, I would’ve probably rated it a bit higher but I have, so I didn’t!