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The Book of Word Games: Parlett's Guide to 150 Great and Quick-To-Learn Word Games Paperback – 16 May 2012

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Product Description

About the Author

David Parlett is an internationally renowned inventor, writer, and researcher in the field of games. Among his games is Hare and Tortoise, which has been published in ten languages and won three Game of the Year awards. His game books include A History of Card Games (OUP), Card Games and Card Games
for One (both Teach Yourself books, 1994), Know the Game (Black, 1996), and The Guinness Book of Word Games (Guinness, 1995). He also advises on card-playing sequences in film and television and acts as a consultant to playing card and computer companies. He is a South Londoner by birth, domicile,
and inclination.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa67724e0) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f9a198) out of 5 stars For people who like to play with words 30 July 2012
By Dienne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a somewhat difficult book to review, as it's really not the type of book you're likely to curl up with and read cover-to-cover. Indeed, if you did, chances are you wouldn't remember more than about a tenth of it. This book, rather, is an exhaustive compendium of very possibly every word game ever invented, from car games to amuse the children such as "I Spy" to obscure British parlor games such as "Aesop's Mission" to famous published games such as "Boggle".

The games explore nearly every facet of English language. You'll find spelling games, rhyming games, anagram games, question-and-answer games, punning games, word-guessing games, games involving famous people or characters/themes from literature, and much more. The games run the gamut from easy, silly games to entertain children to highly sophisticated games that require intensive thought and concentration (and which only the most dexterous of word players will be able to handle). Some games require general knowledge, but most require only a knowledge of the English language (the richer, the better).

It is doubtful that any but the most devoted word game enthusiasts will play all the games in this book. A better use of the book might perhaps involve opening to a page randomly and picking out a game or variation which might appeal to the group you plan to entertain, whether a rowdy group of school children or an intimate gather of adult friends. For convenience, each game description starts with the number of players needed, appropriate ages thereof, and whether the game is more fun or competitive. What might be even more helpful in future editions of the book would be an index cross-referencing each game by the age, type, etc. That way, if one is looking for a silly children's game, one would only have to flip to the back and could instantly see all the choices.

Our guide through this puzzling world of word plays is the erudite, rather quirky and very British (I dare say "high" British) Mr. David Parlett. As I read through the entries, I could almost picture Mr. Parlett in a straight back wing chair by the fire in an old British mansion casually smoking a pipe and reading the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Or perhaps the Oxford English Dictionary, cover-to-cover. Mr. Parlett's tone throughout the book is often subtle and wryly witty in a way that might strike you as either amusing or perhaps haughty and annoying depending on your mood. I recommend the former. As just one example of Mr. Parlett's quirky humor, the entry for "Bananas" (p. 43) begins, "The first player is chosen by lot (or, if he isn't playing, by Lot's wife) and proceeds to put questions to each player in turn." If you're not paying attention, it just might zip over your head.

Mr. Parlett opens the book with an interesting, if at times obscure, discussion of how to decide if a contested word should count. Of course, you can always rely on an authority, such as a recognized dictionary, but Parlett argues in favor of a looser and more democratic style of play. For instance, the player wanting to use a given word should be able to define or use it property for it to count. Or perhaps words should be counted if competing players accept the word even if it isn't in the dictionary. Parlett also explores categories of generally unacceptable words such as proper nouns, foreign words and slang, and he demonstrates how each of these categories is not nearly so cut and dried as it may appear on the surface. I recommend reading this section before attempting to play most of the games in the book, as it will help give you guidelines to think about when drawing up and agreeing to rule variations suitable for the group you are playing with.

Mr. Parlett is clearly a very intelligent and fluent gentleman, and he makes for the perfect guide to word games famous and obscure (even if at times he exhibits a bit of impatience with silly children's games). Unfortunately, however, his text could stand a more thorough proof-reading, as there are a number of words left out and words misspelled in ways that a conventional spell-checker would not catch. Most of the time these typos are easy enough to gloss over, but there were a few times I was left scratching my head wondering if Mr. Parlett weren't just being a bit too obscure.

I grew up playing word games in the car to keep my mind off being carsick, and, as I grew up, some of more eggheadish types used to play word games on field trips and such like. At the moment, however, I don't' really have anyone to play word games with (although, give my daughters a few years and I'm sure they'll be embarrassing me). This book was a nice walk down memory lane, as well as an introduction to games I might attempt in the future if I can ever find suitable competitors. I recommend this book to anyone who is ready to turn off the TV and find more intellectual and challenging pastimes.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f9a1f8) out of 5 stars Great Introduction to Many Fun Word Games 23 July 2012
By Jokie X Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What stands out most for me about this wonderful book is how, if you like word games in general, playing just about any of them will improve your abilities at any other. They all require a good vocabulary, even if just for a kid for some games, as well as good recall ability and strategy, things that can be a real challenge for some of us. But, just like muscles of the human body, when worked regularly, they improve in strength and flexibility. These games will work well in the home or classroom or during long road trips.

The first part of the book serves as an introduction to the world of word games and lays down some rules common to all of them. In short, it explains what is and is not considered a word and why. It is easy to understand and can also serve as a reference during game play both as a reminder and to address challenged words.

Parts two and three of the book deal with spoken and written word games, respectively. Each section is then subdivided into genres where the games share some common feature, with that explained. This is then followed by the explanations of the games themselves, embellished with the criteria for the recommended number of players, age group, and a comment about whether it is more fun than competitive or if it requires concentration. If paper or other tools are needed, they are listed. Finally, the method of play itself is described, with hints to allow for maximum enjoyment. This allows for a game to be chosen that will allow for the best experience for the group based on its overall ability and temperament.

Part four describes boxed (aka commercial) word games such as Scrabble Crossword Game, Boggle, and others. This section is handy for shopping purposes, as the descriptions are thorough enough for you to decide what to buy for yourself or someone else as a gift. There are also a few tips that you won't see in the rules that come with the games. While books like Everything Scrabble: Third Edition go into much more detail for devoted players, this book covers the basics for those unfamiliar with the rules of the game.

Part five, the longest section in the book, discusses playing with words and has just about every clever spoken or written word play concept described, with suggestions for how the presented concepts could be constructed into games. It serves as an interesting take on the English language, defining as it does many of the plays on words that we all commonly use as well as the techniques of their use. This section could prove especially helpful in the classroom and very much so for English language learners or special needs students, who may be struggling with idioms and the more subtle meanings of words. For that matter, as mentioned earlier in this review, the play of the games themselves could improve vocabulary, word usage, and comprehension. And, most importantly, it can do so in the spirit of fun!

Part six is a helpful section with a variety of lists and tables of acceptable names as nouns, two-letter words, q-without-u words, and other handy information. It serves both as an instructional tool and an easy reference during game play. It covers both common words and words only an experienced word gamer would know, which can literally put you ahead of the games when you eventually play them. Good luck!!! :-{P}
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f9a630) out of 5 stars Exceptional! 24 July 2012
By Rock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
You don't have to be an English major, Mensan, or even a nerd to immediately recognize the exceptional value The Book of Word Games represents. For less than the cost of most board games this guide gives descriptions and clear instructions to 150 word games.

There are written and spoken games for most ages that require skills in different areas, vocabulary, logic, attention to detail, creativity, and quick thinking to name a few. There are old favorites, newer games, and variations to keep things interesting.

This book is almost essential for keeping Games Nights inexpensive, lively, and fun. Whether you buy it for a road trip, family time, camping, power outages, a gift, or just a break from the television, computer, and video games, you and yours will stay challenged, stimulated and coming back for more.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7f9a9fc) out of 5 stars Fun book. 15 Jan. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting book, I haven't been all the way through it, but from what I've read there are some fun game suggestions. The book is a fun read too.
HASH(0xa7f9a9a8) out of 5 stars Good learning tool 15 Feb. 2014
By book junky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We teach English as a second language overseas and this is perfect as a learning tool for my more advanced class.
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