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2 Way Words

Described on the box, not entirely accurately, as 'a crossword meets a word search meets battleships', 2 Way Words is one of several games designed by Shaun Delaney and published by The Happy Puzzle Company. It is played on a grid where the two players can see what's on their side of the grid but not what's on their opponent's side.

The game uses a 7 x 7 vertical grid on a stand between the two players. It looks at first glance like a 'Four-in-a Row' game grid but the tiles you play in 2 Way Words clip into position wherever you place them on the grid; they don't slide down. There's a bag of double-sided letters - red on one side, blue on the other. Having decided who will play red and who will play blue, players draw a hand of five letters and place them on the stand built into the base.

On your turn you place a letter anywhere on the grid so that your colour letter is visible to you. The other colour letter (which won't be the same letter as on your side) will be what the other player sees and it will be available for them to make use of. What both players are trying to do is make words to fill the places on their base for a three, four, five and six letter word. When you create a word you remove the letter tiles you've used - so, unlike a crossword, you can't make use of the same letter in two words. Each player can only make one each of the four lengths of word (ie: if you've already made a four-letter word, you can't make and take the tiles for another).

2 Way Words may not be a crossword, word search or battleships game but it does provide an interesting tactical challenge, and with a strong memory element: if you can keep track of them, you know what letters you are 'giving' to your opponent and where they are on the grid. You don't know what letters your opponent has placed out for themselves but you may try to deduce their plays from the position of a letter in relation to those that you know. Rather than a crossword or word search, this aspect of the game put us more in mind of Wordle because it calls on similar powers of lexicological deduction.

There are tactical choices to be made about which length of word to go for. There's a case for trying to nab your six-letter word early but if you hold out for a six-letter word you could be taking a push-your-luck gamble because your opponent might use the reverse of some of the letters you were planning to use and so remove them before you complete your word. If you think your opponent is on the brink of completing a word, you can attempt a 'take that' play by putting in place a letter on their side of the grid that's unlikely to help them complete a word: a J, K, Q, V, X or Z, for example, all of which have more generally useful letters on their reverse so you can help yourself while trying to hinder your opponent.

Don't try to be too clever tho' as the rules allow words to be spelt vertically or diagonally as well was horizontally. They also allow words to be spelt backwards, which we guess is the 'wordsearch' element, but if you find the game too easy with this rule, you can always house rule that you'll only permit words spelt left to right or top to bottom. On the other hand, if you're playing with children and want to make the game easier, the rules suggest the option of allowing children to use the six-letter word space on their base for two more three-letter words.

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