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Alice in Wordland

Designed by Chris Darsaklis and Spyros Koronis, and published by Drawlab Entertainment, Alice in Wordland is a party game for 3-8 players. Players have a topic card and they take turns offering a word that links to or otherwise corresponds with that topic. So, for example, in our Board's Eye View 360 below, any word that you might associate with 'Pointy Things': pin or knife, perhaps... Except that each round there will be at least three letters that must not be contained within the word offered. Again, in our example, J, N and G were prohibited letters, so offering either pin or knife would eliminate you from the round. Scissors, however, would be an acceptable word.

The Alice theme has players as Lewis Carroll characters, each with a special ability or action, and they're evidently attending the Mad Hatter's Tea Party because there's a teapot that sits in the centre of the table that is in reality an electronic timer. It plays a merry and for some a distracting tune for 10 or 15 seconds (depending on the setting you choose) and you have to come up with your word before the time runs out.

Turns continue with players eliminated if they use a prohibited letter or don't give an answer within the allotted time, and the winner for the round is the last player left. Players take a card that shows the position in which they were eliminated and the points they score (ie: none if they are the first or second to be knocked out).

That's essentially the game, which means it's easy to set up and play and it works well as both a word game and a party game. You'll find, as we did, that some of the Alice in Wonderland characters seem to offer in Wordland a much more powerful advantage than others. Any lack of balance doesn't matter overly tho' because, just like those present at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, players swap places at the end of each round. Don't worry, you don't need to use the musical teapot to play musical chairs - you just pass the character cards around. For a complete game, everyone gets a chance to play with each of the character abilities. That's great for most player counts, but it might just risk the game running longer than ideal if you're playing with the maximum complement of eight players.

We've had fun playing Alice in Wordland. The game can be readily modified for the players around the table: you can change the time allotment and you can make things harder or easier by raising or lowering the number of prohibited letters. The rules suggest that for younger players, you just apply the prohibition to words beginning with a letter rather than having the letter anywhere in the word. And of course you can play without using any of the character abilities. The rules suggest this as a way of making the game more challenging but actually we found it streamlined play because it meant even simpler and more straightforward rules without having to be mindful of the various exceptions or special cases.

Alice in Wordland is available now at retail but if we've piqued your interest, you might want to check out the new Curiouser & Curiouser expansion that Drawlab currently have on Kickstarter. It adds four new characters and a board which accommodates the cards and also functions as a scoreboard in place of the tokens that come in the base game. Click here to check out the campaign.

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