Word on the Street is a family/party game published by Educational Insights. It’s a game for two to eight players with a suggested age range 10+.
What’s In The Box?
A plastic old-school egg timer, 17 letter tiles (all the consonants except J, Q, X, and Z), a deck of 216 category cards and a simple cardholder to put them in during play.
Setup And Gameplay
It’s a really simple game. The instructions are a folded A4 sheet, and my kids picked up the concept on the first play. Set up also takes seconds, unfold the board and position the 17 letter tiles down the central strip on their corresponding letter. Put the timer next to the board and the category cards in the cardholder. Choose whether you’re playing the easier, yellow categories or the tougher, blue ones and you’re away.
The board is a five-lane ‘street’. On either side of the central lane where you’ve placed the letters are two lanes. The aim of the game is to move the letters to your side and then off the board.
The game is turn-based, the team starting first reveals the top category card and the opposing team turns over the 30-second timer. As a team, you shout out words that fit the category on the card.
Team members can suggest as many words as they like, but you must decide as a group which word, you’re playing before the timer runs out. Spell out the word and move any letters which appear in the word towards your side of the board. Repeated letters move multiple times. The rules say that you also have to move the letters before the timer runs out, which may add a sense of jeopardy, but for our kids just led to tedious arguments! Once you’ve moved your letter tiles, it’s the other team’s turn.
If a letter crosses both of your lanes and moves off the board, your team claims it. Each letter can only be claimed once, so once ‘T’ is off the board, you’re wasting your time with ‘tattooist’!
The common letters ‘R’, ‘S’, ‘T’ etc. tend to be claimed early, but there’s often a tug of war for letters when there are fewer letters left on the board. A team wins when they’ve collected eight letters.
How Does It Play?
I like the concept. It’s simple to pick up and game times are short. However, I feel it’s somewhat let down by the category cards. The box describes the game as a hilarious tug of words, but the categories are very dry (think ‘something that can be recycled’ or ‘a bird’), and the closest we’ve come to the hilarity is the kids giggling when they come up with a rude word.
The visuals on the box and board are quite engaging, although probably limit the age range to younger children. The box pitches it as ages 10+, but the easier categories mean younger players can get involved. With evenly matched groups of eight children, it could be a good resource for the classroom.
As a family game, I think its sweet spot is with two adults and two children aged 8-12. Choose the teams with an adult and child on each side and the adults can step back and just be impressed when the kids come up with a long word. My two have been studying ancient Egypt and ‘hieroglyphics’ has made a number of appearances, but the game is usually won by using words with doubled letters, so ‘marshmallows’ is a better choice.
The box also pitches it as a party game, but I am unsure if it fits the brief. Perhaps it could be made into a drinking game with opponents taking a swig every time their opponents move a card off the board. However, I think you’d have to come up with a whole new series of categories for this to be anything other than a game to play with kids.
The Final Word On Word On The Street
There are certainly families we know who would get a lot out of this and yes, I can see it working well in the classroom. However, for our family, it just misses the mark. We’ve got a growing collection of family games and the lack of more ‘fun’ categories means it’s not one I can see the children regularly picking off the shelf. However, be sure to check it out for yourself!