Trapwords – Board Game Review
Follow Genre: Guessing game
Players: 4-8+
Age: 8+
Duration: +-30 minutes
Distributor: Czech Games Edition

Trapwords – Board Game Review

Site Score
8.3
Good: Design, Concept, Content
Bad: Really depends on the people you play with and how well you know them
User Score
8.8
(6 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.8/10 (6 votes cast)

It has only been a few weeks since we last played a guessing game in the spirit of Pictionary. Pictomania proved to be a fun party game, if not taken too seriously, as the difference in skill levels could make or break the game if played too competitively. This time however, we dig ourselves into the deepest dungeon, to dispel curses and battle the monster in the boss chamber. We don’t use fancy weapons however, we use words in order to progress. Sadly, you’ll have to compete to reach the end of the dungeon and beat the monster, as your opponents will lay out traps for you, in the form of words you cannot use. Sadly, you don’t know which are the taboo words, so you’ll just have to wing it and hope for the best.

Contents

  • Rulebook
  • Overview leaflet
  • 1 sand timer
  • 2 pencils
  • 1 pad of trapword list sheets
  • 3 plastic stands
  • 2 cardboard torches
  • 5 cardboard monster figures
  • 2 cardboard team figures
  • 4 cardboard books
  • 7 cardboard room tiles
  • 10 curse cards
  • 10 monster cards
  • 50 double-sided cards with 400 fantasy and 400 standard words

For a ‘guessing’ game the contents look great. The dungeon rooms which you’ll have to go through all have a proper background and are designed nicely, and the same can be said about the party icons, the monster cutouts, the curse and monster cards and even the word cards look fairly decent. Other than that, the pencils and the sharpener are very simplistic, but are a nice addition nonetheless.

Mechanics

Put on your best adventuring gear, take your wits with you and perhaps even a dash of luck and a pinch of courage to fight the monster at the end of each dungeon in Trapwords. In this game you’ll have to defeat the monster at the end of the dungeon, by correctly guessing words, which can come with or without specific guessing conditions, eerie curses and the monster at the end of the dungeon. While at first the concept of the game sounds a bit tricky, the game is so ‘easy’ that you can start playing in mere minutes by using the overview leaflet that comes with the game. You’ll have to play in two teams, with a minimum of two players per team. Each round, the opposing team will pick a word that you’ll have to guess, by the usage of a secret spellbook. This spellbook has a hole in it, which will indicate the word you’ll have to pick from the word card that is placed in-between. When the opposing team lays out traps for you (explained below), they’ll pass on the spellbook to your team’s clue-giver. You’ll do the same for their team, and then you’ll see which team has the spellbook with the glowing icon, as that team will have to begin the round in question. That team’s clue-giver can then turn around his/her spellbook and prepare a few seconds before giving clues to his teammates. You’ll have to work within the timespan of the hourglass and the team currently playing can only guess five times, or they will forfeit their round. If the answer is not given within the time limit, or you activate a trap, break the condition of a curse or simply guess too many times, the round will end for that team.

We have mentioned the traps a few times, and these are actually quite simple. The opposing team, that will see the word your team has to guess first, will have to make assumptions on what tips the clue-giver would give. This means, that they can pick certain words they think the clue-giver might say in order to make the guessing a lot easier. Each team can choose traps, depending on where their opponents are in the dungeon. If the opposing team are in a room with a ‘3’ and your team is in a room with a ‘5’, you can lay out three traps for your opponents, while they can lay out five traps for you. If your clue-giver says a word they have written down on their trap-sheet, the round will also come to an end, forcing you to stay put in the dungeon. If both teams fail during a round, the monster at the end of the dungeon will make its way one room closer to the adventurers, in the five-room dungeon. Curses, which are explained below, also move closer to the adventurers if the monsters enters a room where a curse is supposed to be activated by the entry of the adventurers.

There are also curses to be used in the second and fourth room of the dungeon (or every room if you like to tweak the rules). These cards will put restrictions on the actions of the clue-giver or those of the guessers. If both teams are in a room when a curse is activated, they will both have to undergo the restrictions, if not, only the first team to encounter it will be bothered by it. The monsters in the last room of the dungeon work the same, as they also have a certain restriction in place, and if you are used to the game, you can use the harder-to-defeat monsters to add even harder conditions to the game.

If you read through the clue-giving rules, as well as those of the traps, you’ll see that the rules are rather lengthy, as you can put a lot of restrictions or special conditions in place. You can for example add the option that writing ‘science’ as one of your traps, will also add words that have science in it to the list. This means that things such as scientific or Sci-Fi will also trigger the trap to spring, stopping the guessing team in their tracks. It’s advised to keep things quite simple at the beginning, see what works, and then discuss which rules you put in place, and perhaps which rules you’ll add yourselves in order to make the game more enjoyable. While being able to tweak the game is fun, the base and advanced rules are already a great basis for the game that make it highly enjoyable.

Luck or Strategy?

Well, it’s hard to discuss this portion of the game, as there are a lot of factors you have to take into account. You’ll have to think of how well the opposing team knows the next clue-giver, what words can be related to the word you’ll have to guess and so on. There are tactics involved, such as being very abstract, or using somewhat childish descriptions of things, which can certainly help, but luck is a rather deciding factor as well. Nonetheless, this game’s mechanics have been well thought out and for the most part things feel very balanced.

When confronted with the curses or the monsters, also a healthy dose of luck and strategy will be  required. You can plan out certain conditions that are stated on either the monster or curse card(s) but even then, you’ll have to try to be on the same wavelength as the guesser(s), which is once again a case of luck.

Conclusion

Trapwords is an amazingly fun experience and a very original twist on the guessing game genre. If you don’t take the advanced rules to heart, or just want to start playing, you can simply use the overview folder and you’re up and running in mere minutes. The game is equally as fun with small teams as it is with bigger teams, making sure the game is very accessible. The moment you have some experience under your belt, you can start tweaking the rules to your liking, making the game harder as you go. If you’re looking for a fun party experience, with some guaranteed laughs, this one could easily earn a spot under your Christmas tree.

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Rating: 8.8/10 (6 votes cast)
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Trapwords - Board Game Review, 8.8 out of 10 based on 6 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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