Saturday 16 November 2019

Sproutword Plastic-Free Strategy Word Game Review (sent for review)

Sproutword could be described as a mix of Scrabble and Chess. It's a game that just about anyone can join in with, without having to learn complicated rules or spend any time on set up, and it's also entirely plastic-free and more beautiful than you'd expect any tile game to be. We've been sent a copy for review...

Suitable for 2-4 players, aged around around 10+ for a real competition. Younger players aged around 6+ will be able to join in with a less competitive, slower-paced game. I played with one of my grown up sons, and my 2 boys aged 9 and 11.

Sprout Word strategy word game review collage of photos showing players and game

Sproutword was created by two blokes, Ian and Dan, who developed it in their lunch breaks using scrappy bits of paper. When making the game real, they've used sustainable wood and zero plastic, and local crafters in Devon and Dorset, making Sproutword almost certainly the most eco-friendly game I've ever reviewed.

Sproutword Plastic Free Box shot Strategy Word Game Review

The box is very sturdy and used for storage between play. My example isn't their final design, and is unusual, working well for purpose. Inside are the instructions and 4 cloth bags in colours inspired by the West Country - Western Sunset Pink, Salcombe Sand Yellow, Chalk Meadow Green and Dorset Sky Blue.

Sproutword box contents instructions and 4 cloth bags

Inside the bags is a real treat, this is a letter tile game with really gorgeous tiles.

Sproutword Plastic Free tile game wooden pieces cloth bags

The basic rules are fairly simple and intuitive. Depending on the number of players, each player takes 6,7 or 8 tiles, which they place on the table face up, and then they take turns to create words. Each new word must be connected to the words/letters already in play, and words must read left to right or top to bottom.

Sproutword tile game gameplay letter tiles on table forming words

Words can be added to (e.g After > Afterward), which is a familiar game construct, but there are some big and very different rules. Words can be changed into a word of equal size or longer by swapping letters, and whenever you like, you can use the other players tiles in just the same way you use your own.

Sproutword ecofriendly sustainable game review gameplay letter tiles on table

The longest word in play is the Sproutword, and the aim of the game is to control it, by having more letters in it than any other player. You can't just swap letters, but you can change or extend the Sproutword - if you can see the right tiles to do so!

Sproutword strategy game similar to scrabble and chess together

Obviously at any time the Sproutword can be altered, it can be extended, or an entire new word can become the Sproutword, so the winner isn't decided until the very end of the game. There are so many options that you can only get better as you play and spot more possibilities.

At the end of your turn, you can replenish your 'hand' of tiles back to the original number, and if anyone swaps out one of your letters, they go back in your bag. A game takes around 30 minutes and play ends as soon as any player has completely run out of tiles. It's quite tense when you start emptying those bags and know you need to get control of the Sproutword quickly.

Game set up table word strategy game Sproutword tiles and bags 4 player

There isn't an age recommendation, but in my opinion you can play a less competitive game with younger players who are readers, aged around 6+, and it will really help them to expand their vocabulary and spelling capabilities. Children aged around 10+ will be proficient enough at spelling to think more about gameplay and strategy, and could give you a proper battle.

Always be prepared to allow some alteration of rules when you play with youngsters, in this case it's more important to learn gameplay than be picky, so we were a bit more relaxed about a few suspect words at first, which won't be allowed once they've had a bit of practise. I'm not sure if Moobs is yet in the OED. The rules also say you should keep track of words on paper, but we didn't, we just look at what is on the table and found the Sproutword (or Sproutwords) fairly obvious.

Sproutword strategy word game for older family 10+

Sproutword is great. I found it much more fun than other letter tile games, as did my grown up son. We are both people who prefer Chess to word games, and there's so much strategy available in Sproutword that you really do end up having to think fast between various gameplay options. I love that you have such a huge amount of letters to choose from, and if you can keep control of the Sproutword, using up the other player's letters to end the game can be the winner for you. Competitive game players will love it.

Sproutword is available to buy now rrp £21.99 with £3.99 UK shipping. It's a gorgeous game, and makes a really great gift for both people who take their games seriously, and those who are just as interested in having a chat and relaxing. Find out more and order on the Sproutword website

We were sent our copy of Sproutword for review. 

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