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The Game Of 26! Is Complicated And Slow

Reviewing: Daniel J. Yovich 26 !  |  Rating:
Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Hobbies & Crafts Expertise:
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This is a game that combines word and math skills. We played it this weekend, but four of the seven people didn’t like it and quickly quit. I think it only fits well with a limited type of people.

This game consists of cards which have both a letter and a number on them. There are two wild cards in the pack and they can be any letter and/or any number you want.

Each person is dealt 6 cards. On your turn you either draw a card from the face-down deck, or the top card of the discard pile. The object is to make a word with anywhere from 2 to 6 of the cards in your hand, and make the number 26 by some mathematical combination with the remaining cards. You must use the 7th card (the one you just picked up) to go out.

For example if you have N5, O7, S13, E3, P4, Q5, and D6, you could spell NOSE, and make 26 because (4 x 5) + 6 = 26. So you could go out.

You score each hand by giving the number of points equal to the letters of the word you made to the person who goes out first. So the hand above would receive 4 points for the four-letter word, NOSE. The winner of the game is the first person to reach 26.

Of course, if you have one of the wild cards it’s really easy because you can make the number part come out without any trouble. All seven of us who were playing really like word games, but adding the math dimension just shut down the fun for four of the group. The three of us who thought it would be fun didn’t get a chance to try it alone.

The real weakness is that because you have to use that 7th card to go out you can’t plan ahead as much as with many card games. We found that each person’s turn took way too long because the new letter and number introduced by the draw made you recalculate what you could do. There were jokes made about the rest of us needing a book to read while we waited for our turns.

Although it says this is a good game for classrooms and families, I don’t think it will be a big hit anywhere except with those who love both words and math.

The web site says that the game was invented by Daniel J. Yovich of Purdue University. It can be ordered at http://www.26cardgame.com/ for $11.95.