Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Chain Letters

Chain Letters

Spring 2013 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: PlayMonster
Price: $19.99

Chain Letters is Barrel of Monkeys, but with letters; it too requires a lot of dexterity. As play unfolds, though, it's to a player's great advantage to know some big words. No abbreviations, prefixes or suffixes allowed, nor proper nouns or words that require an apostrophe or hyphen.

A pile of individual letter pieces, each with a hook on the end, makes up the playing space. The object is to earn the most points collect the most letters by the end of the game, and the game ends when there are no words left to make. But first, players must affix the letter stickers to the 100 double sided hooked pieces. The silver lining? Color coded placement teaches players that some letters are used more than others.

Players collect letters by connecting them by their hooks to form a word, without dropping any or snaring any of the letters upside down. Shuffling the letter pile is not allowed, so one must build a word spelled from the letters visible at the top of the pile.

If you lack a keen eye and a steady hand, it doesn't matter how impressive your vocabulary is. But if you've got the hooking part down, you can crush opponents with one or two good multi-syllabic strings. "Predicament" and "solidarity" were two words my children collected during one round as I struggled (and failed) to pick up "lawn."

Teresa DiFalco   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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