Game Review: Chain Letters

Remember the first time you played with Barrel of Monkeys and how you just HAD to try to link them all?  Well Patch Products’s new game Chain Letters took the idea of linking tiles (like Barrel of Monkeys) and turned it into a spelling game!  The rules aren’t that complex so they can easily be adapted to almost any grade level. 

There are 100 hooks each with letters on them and at the beginning of the game they’re spread out on the table.  The first player looks at the pile and selects a letter that is going to be the first letter in their word.  Then they must hook each additional letter until they’ve completed their word.  The game says you must hook letters right side up, but even some of the adults found that difficult so we nixed that rule pretty quickly.  A player does lose their turn if they break their chain while picking up another letter. 

A player’s word is scored based on the color and number of letters in their word.  Orange hooks, which are the most plentiful, are worth 1 point.  Green hooks are worth 2 and the rare Red hook is worth 3 points.  Total up the hooks in your word and that your score for the round.  Play until all of the hooks are gone or no more words can be made and the player with the highest point total wins. 

By mixing spelling with a fun action this game does a great job of “hiding” the education.  It’s also fairly easy to create your own twist on the rules to fit a larger group or specific grade level.  Even with 3 and 4-letter words it has a satisfying feel!

One caution I would give is that the initial set up is going to take you about 20 minutes as the hooks come without the letter stickers on them.  If you can, enlist some helpers to apply the stickers.  I see a project for the next class troublemaker…

If you're looking for an expert in the game industry, you're probably looking for Kim Vandenbroucke. Not only does she review games at The Game Aisle, but she also designs them and is one of those people that companies call when they need to have a game designed.

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