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Scrabble Slam

Scrabble Slam is an easy-to-learn, quick-to-play word game for 2 to maybe 6 players of equal word-game-playing skill, and, yes, it's Major FUN.

OK, it's not Scrabble. It's more like a Word Ladder puzzle, only without the rungs. And played with cards, rather than paper and pencil. Two-sided cards, actually. 55 of them.

Players decide on a four-letter word, then find the 4 cards with the letters needed to spell that word. These cards are laid face-up on the table to spell the word. The rest of the deck is then distributed as evenly as possible between the rest of the players (in case you're concerned: since there are 55 cards, and 4 are played out, you can only get an even distribution with 3 players). If you want to make the game feel more fair, the stronger player should get the extra card. If you're playing as a family, the youngest player should get the fewest cards.

Once the target word is laid out, players race to change the word, one letter at a time, trying to be the first to use up all the cards in their hand. So, for example, if the chosen word were PLAY, and you had a card with an N on it, you could cover the Y and make PLAN. If you had an F you could make PLAN into FLAN. If you had a T you could make FLAN into FLAT. And so on, and so on, until someone has no more cards to play.

You don't take turns, so you are under significant pressure, especially if you're playing with equally-skilled players. This makes the game short, and very sweet - especially for the winner. Since the cards have two sides (the letters on the opposite side of a card are indicated by small letters in the corners), there's what one might consider a challenge to one's dexterity - not a big challenge, just big enough to add to the tension and provoke laughter.

And yes. There are blank cards, that act just like the blanks in Scrabble. On the other hand, Scrabble it is not. On yet another hand, fun it most definitely is.

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