It took the train just about five hours to trundle my way north to Harrogate from Bristol. With just one train change at Leeds, it was a very easy, but quite long journey. Airecon only occupies a small part of the Harrogate Convention Centre, but this does not mean it’s attendance is by any means small.
Wibbell++ is not just a card game, it’s actually being sold as a game system. You may remember the review that I put together for the fun physical restriction card game called In A Bind? Well after we reviewed that, Bez the designer got in touch with us to thank us for the article and tell us that there was something new in development. Rolling forward after a successful Kickstarter campaign to UKGE this year and I receive an email from Bez telling me that there is a copy of the new game system waiting at a stand at the show for me.
Wibbell++ has a very simplistic design. Each card has on it two large letters, a pattern around the edge and a number on the bottom of each card. It is Bez’ vision that with these three elements it is possible to come up with new games for it on a regular basis. Bez’s plan is to release at least one new game for the system every year to mark the anniversary of In A Bind on August 1st which is lovingly referred to as Bez Day.
In the pack you get instructions for five different games to play, I’m going to try and break these down and explain them to you here and have linked some of the videos that were released for the Kickstarter.
- Players: 2-7
- Approx play time: 10-25 minutes
Wibbell is a word game and you start it by dealing out two cards face down. When all players are ready you then turn over the cards and all players try to be the first to shout out a word that contains at least one letter from each card. The person who shouts a winning word first gets to take one of the two cards that are available and place it letter side up in front of them, therefore gaining a point. The next round starts with a new card joining the one that was left, now all the players once again try to shout out a word that has at least one letter from both cards as well as any card that is placed in front of them.
In the photo above we see a game in progress, our players here are Lola on the Left, Jazz on the right and Dave at the bottom. Lola has already won two rounds, Jazz one and Dave is yet to win a round, the two cards in the centre are the community cards. So in our example, Dave could shout words like “Yes, Sandy, Day” etc, Jazz could shout out “Escalator, Idle, Decade” etc, but Lola would have to use words like “Yesterday, Tapes, Watches”.
Play continues with a new community card until one player has four cards in their possession, that player then gets to take the extra spare card (making 5 in total). All players then turn over their gained cards and then two new community cards are dealt and play starts from the beginning. You continue like this until you run out of cards in the pack. Then count all of your cards and the player with the most is the winner. If it’s a draw you could perhaps play a sudden death round if you really needed to have a winner.
- Players: 2-5
- Approx play time: 15-35 minutes
Instead of words this time you are trying to create as much of the alphabet as you can from the cards. To start with each player is dealt three cards, they get to keep just one of these and then the rest get shuffled back into the deck. Next, the dealer turns over the top card of the deck and considers if they want to add it to their collection or not. If they refuse the same card goes to the next player and so on until either the card is taken or all players have refused and the card is discarded. Play like this continues until one player has 11 cards or you run out of cards entirely. All cards are then shuffled and scores are kept and another round is played until one player has 26 points.
- Players: 2-7 players
- Approx play time: 2-3 minutes
Shuffle the cards and deal one face down to each player, place all the other cards face up on a surface. Count to three and all players turn over their personal card and then grab cards from the table that match theirs. You can match either a letter on your card or the border. At any point in time, a player can slam their stack onto the table and shout the word “Grabbell”
The last player to stop gets to keep the remaining cards on the table as a bonus, every other player gets 10 points. All players pass their stack to the player to their left so that another player can check it. Anyone who makes a mistake scores nothing, but if your deck is clean then you gain the number of cards you grabbed as points plus any bonus points they have already won.
- Players: 2-5 players
- Approx play time: 15-30 minutes
A cooperative story telling creative game. Think of this game as similar to using Story Cubes but with a bit more of a challenge. Each player takes a turn and flips a card face up and uses the letters on the card as initials of two words to nominate a story element. When there is a total of five story elements then players can start to tell the story, using the rest of the deck.
The next player turns over a card and must start their sentence with the letter on the top of the card. They then need to nominate a word using the letter on the bottom of the card for the next player. The next player follows suit by turning over a card and continuing the story, they must include in their part of the tale the word that was chosen using the bottom letter from the previous player.
Play continues until all the story elements that were devised at the beginning are included. Then all players work together to reach an end and as the instructions read “If anyone is happy you all win”
- Players: 5-15
- Approx play time: 15-30 minutes
First, you pick a judge for this round. Turn over a card from the deck and use it to inspire any subject you wish. For example, an ‘OC’ might inspire octopuses, as these are letters with curves. Then turn over two more cards from the cards revealing 4 letters. All players must then race to invent four-word phrases that use those letters as initials.
At any time the judge can end the round and then gives 3 cards to the player they thought had the best phrase. The judge may alternatively give two cards to a favourite phrase and one to a second favourite. The person who won the round then becomes the judge and the next round commences. Play continues until the deck is finished and the player with the most amount of cards wins.
We would like to thank Bez for giving us a review copy of the game. It really means a lot to us that game developers want our opinion. Now I’m not just going to say Wibbell++ is great because Bez is such a nice person, no it is actually a great game system. It is after all just a deck of cards which makes it super portable. It’s also not age restricted, it will encourage younger players to increase their vocabulary and put older minds to work too. It may be based on the English language but I don’t think it will need to change much to work with others. At the time of writing it looks like Bez has managed to get some distribution for the game to various retailers around the UK. I’m very interested to see how Wibbell++ develops as a game system from here on in.
What do you think about the games that are in the system so far? Is this the sort of game you might play and take with you on holiday? If you have any ideas for the game system I’m sure Bez would be eager to hear them. Send us your thoughts in the comments section or over on Reddit, Facebook or Twitter.