“Word.” “Slam.”

You don’t realize how intense those two words will get until you’re in the heat of the moment, and two teams are up against each other, aggressively trying to get players to be the first to guess a word based on other words.

Hang on, let me backtrack for a second. Kosmos, Thames & Kosmos‘ game division, recently came out with my favorite game of the year. Word Slam is a fast-paced, word-based guessing game where players must describe a word using a mix of 105 nouns, adjectives, verbs, and prepositions. Easier said than done!

Here’s how it goes down: All players split into two teams. Unlike most games, it doesn’t matter whether the teams are even or not, which is really helpful. Each team appoints a “storyteller” each round, who acts as the person giving clues to their teammates.

The storytellers must secretly decide on a word for their teams to guess. One storyteller rolls the die, while the other picks an Answer Card from the piles. Each answer card has six numbered words on it, in which the number that is rolled on the die would corresponds with the word on the card. So if a player rolls a three, the third word on the card is the one players must guess. The storytellers have freedom with this, though, and if they’d like to agree with a different word on the card, that’s OK! There are four levels of Answer Cards—beginner, easy, experienced, and expert—where the guessing words get progressively harder. There is a wide range of words to guess, ranging from objects, sports, pop culture references, and more.

Now, it’s game on! The round begins when a storyteller says, “Word” and the other responds with, “Slam!” Then, the storytellers begin to rapidly sift through the story cards, placing ones that make sense to describe the secret word on their card holders. The big catch of the game is that storytellers may only use the cards. They can’t use gestures, speak, sing, hum, or basically anything to communicate to their teammates.

The storytellers are challenged to get creative using a limited vocabulary, while the teammates must be quick on their feet and think outside the box to interpret the story cards. This means that you’ll have to come up with hilarious ways to describe things, such as rap meaning “speak, music” and Los Angeles is “place, many, vehicles.”

The team that correctly guesses the answer first gets a point, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. The amount of rounds you play is completely up to you! If the storytellers are finding that their teammates are having trouble guessing, they can put the pressure on and bring the hourglass into play. The round will be over if nobody guesses the word correctly, and nobody gets a point.

After getting the hang of it, you can really develop some strategy. Listening to the other teams’ guesses could help you think of your own, or teams can shout out wrong words to throw the other team off. You can also develop strategy as the storyteller, whether the best method is going through ALL of the cards and finding anything that could describe your word, or thoughtfully picking the words with care and precision. The more rounds you play, the more familiar you are with the story cards.

Needless to say, the whole Toy Insider team played this game over and over again for two hours. We literally played until we had to go home. It was refreshing, challenging, and a really good time. Word Slam forever!

Some of it even has to do how well you work together as a team. How else would one of us correctly guess “The Hangover” when the only cards in play so far were “funny, movie” if we didn’t know each other that well? Other hilarious outcomes were “plant, place” describing a garden, “small, funny, yellow” for Minions, and “fictitious, place, man, animal, name” for Batman.

Word Slam is like charades, but instead of acting, you can only communicate with word cards. I promise, you’ll love it as much as I do!

About the author

Maddie Michalik

Maddie Michalik

Maddie Michalik is the senior editor at the Toy Insider, where she reports on news, trends, and writes weekly product reviews. She travels to TV stations throughout the U.S. and Canada to show off her favorite products on TV! Maddie is also the editor-in-chief of leading trade magazine The Toy Book and weekly e-newsletter Toy Report, keeping the toy industry up to date with the latest happenings. Her love for consuming media is surpassed only by her love creating it, and she truly believes that the world would be a better place if everyone just played with a toy for 15 minutes a day. You can often find her rereading the Harry Potter series with a cup of coffee in her hand and patiently waiting for a The Lego Movie threequel to come out. For more of her antics, follow Maddie on Twitter and Instagram @MaddieMichalik.