Letter Jam – Board Game Review
Follow Genre: Party
Players: 2-6
Age: 10+
Duration: +- 45 minutes
Distributor: Czech Games Edition

Letter Jam – Board Game Review

Site Score
8.4
Good: Concept, Everyone has to put in some effort
Bad: Rulebook is a bit blurry at times
User Score
9.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Czech Games Edition has provided many good games over the years, but it’s easy to say that they sometimes provide more word guessing games than other companies on the market. They have spawned the Codenames series, and recently we also got Trapwords, both proving to be very entertaining. While Codenames was a fairly straightforward guessing game, Trapwords had a fantasy setting, with traps that could be set up by the opposing team. This time we get to try out Letter Jam, which is a word guessing game, where each player gets assigned several letters, of which they show one per turn (or for more turns in a row), without actually knowing what letter they have in front of them. They’ll have to guess their letters with the clues their fellow players give them. We were intrigued, and after a short period of time, we were thoroughly entertained.

Contents

  • Rulebook
  • 64 letter cards
  • Wildcard
  • 4 setup cards
  • Pad of guessing sheets
  • 8 numbered tokens
  • 6 pencils
  • 6 card stands
  • 6 red clue tokens
  • 9 green clue tokens
  • Pencil sharpener

The contents of the box look fairly simple, but they will certainly do the trick for what the game has in store for you. The plastic tokens look decent, the card stands are sturdy, and the letter cards look classy. The pad of guessing sheets are clear and the setup cards properly show how many turns you have left. While the contents could have been a bit fancier, a game such as this doesn’t require too many whistles and bells. We are happy that the developers included pencils and a Ziploc bag for when you have opened the letter cards.

Mechanics

Letter Jam is a cooperative word guessing game, where each player has to uncover the letters (and the word) that is lying in front of them, without actually seeing the letters themselves. This is all done by the hints other players give, where each player has to fill in the blank, that is the letter in front of them. Of course, not all hints will help you, as sometimes the other players can’t incorporate your letter in their hint(s). When reading the rules for the first time, the game might sound a lot more complex than it actually is. There are also proper playthroughs to be found online that make the game a bit more clear, which is advised when you’re playing the game for the first time.

At the beginning of the game, every player has to make a five-letter word out of the cards they received, which all depend on the number of players that are participating. When the players have formed a word, they move it face down to another player, who will have to guess the letters they have been given. If you are playing with a six-player party, then there will be no dummy players, which get a specific amount of cards depending on the total numbers of players. These dummy players will shift through their letters each turn, and when they run out of their stack of cards, you can earn extra turns.

When each player has their unknown word in front of them, it’s time to get started. In the middle, there will be a card with a pretty flower on it and some tokens. Some tokens are red, others are green. The red tokens represent the first hint someone gives (smaller parties have to pick multiple red tokens) and the green tokens represent the next turns of players that have already taken their red token(s). This means that everyone will have to give a hint sooner or later, in order to keep things a bit on the fair side. Each player will start with their letters from left to right, meaning they put the left letter on their plastic stand first, without looking at it. Other players can give hints that contain said letter(s), without speaking the word out loud. There will be tokens that mark the order of the letters. This keeps players quiet and then you’ll have to write down the word, with your letter as a ‘?’ if you have multiple options. You can write multiple options next to the word. Players can also use a wild card, which is a letter that’s not visibly available, but sometimes you’ll need a wild card to spell an actual word. This letter can also not be spoken out loud.

If a player is fairly certain of which letter they have in front of them, they can opt to swap their letter for the next in the row. It’s best to run through all letters before the game ends, making sure you can recreate the word that’s in front of you. Luckily the game is quite loose of what word you have to make, as you can also just make a word with the same letters the player next to you has given you. Just a proper word will do.

Luck or Strategy?

Defining luck or strategy is quite hard in this one. It often depends on if you, or your fellow players, can give proper hints to progress through the game. It also depends on how well your group works together, and how well you can estimate one’s guessing abilities. There isn’t all that much luck involved in our humble opinion, but you’ll still have to know how the group works together. This game works a bit easier with people that know each other, than with a strange group. It also depends a lot on how many players enter the party, because a two-player game feels totally different than a full house. Overall there is no real luck, or even strategy, involved in this game and it’s more about making easy enough words your fellow players can guess.

Conclusion

Letter Jam puts your gray matter to work, but it never overly stresses the player. You’ll be in for a fun party word guessing game, with all the necessary elements to stay fun from start to finish. It’s one of those games that offers a lot of replay value and never truly gets dull. If you’re looking for a great cooperative experience, Letter Jam might just be the jam you’re looking for.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.3/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
Letter Jam - Board Game Review, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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