Scrabble Slam from Winning Moves Games is a whirlwind of spelling fun. The original Scrabble board game is famed for its long turns where players are methodical in thinking out the best possible combination of their letters. Scrabble Slam turns that quiet contemplation on its head by pitting players against each other with tests of reflexes as much as vocabulary.
Scrabble Slam plays much like other reflex games, such as the age-old Speed with a simple 52-card deck. First players spell out an agreed-upon four-letter word to set up the game. Through the game, players will lay a new letter card on top of one of the cards to make a new word. Veterans will likely have favorite words that can be easily changed from one to the next, like “ball” that can become “call,” “bale,” “bell,” “bail,” and more. Picking a harder word like “quad” to start might be limiting, which can be a strategy for those with bigger vocabularies.
There are no turns in Scrabble Slam. The rest of the deck of letters is dealt to the players, each featuring two letter options as well as a few blanks that serve as wilds. At the count of “ready, set, slam,” players lay down their cards as quickly as possible to spell new words. With so many letters at the beginning, there are plenty of options, so players will have to think quickly to see what further words could be spelled. This excludes, of course, proper nouns and acronyms, just like the original Scrabble. With everyone playing at once, the word on the table will be constantly changing, too. Players will have to think fast to keep up.
If someone plays a letter that might not make a real word, any player can challenge by calling a time-out. A quick check of the dictionary shows whether the word is real and stands or if the player who played the new letter needs to take it back in hand. With the speed of this game, a player might also call a time-out to challenge a word just as a pause to reexamine their cards.
Play in Scrabble Slam continues until the first person plays all their cards and becomes the empty-handed winner. The game may end early if no one has any letters they can play on the word on the table to change it to another legitimate word. In that case, the player with the fewest cards becomes the winner. Some players may hold onto a difficult “Q” or “Z” to time the ending of the game when they have the fewest cards and are not likely to go out.
Scrabble Slam is a card game for two to four players aged eight and up. It is an excellent game for spelling practice as well as vocabulary-building. Younger players might initially be at a disadvantage just from not having the exposure to words like “memo” or “agar,” but they will be eager to play again thanks to the speedy reflex mechanic. With brains like sponges, they will soon be spelling with the best of them.