Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2010 Games
Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Wonder Forge Inc.
Price: $19.99

Think simplified Scrabble meets reverse Jenga and you get this 3D word-building game that's not only fun, but also thought-provoking and educational.

Instead of crosswords, players get towering words in Konexi. Players start by forming a circle of the twenty-six 3-D stacking letters of the alphabet. A roll of the die determines the first player's choice of starting letter. From there, it's all about building a teetering tower of words. Turn by turn, players use as many of the remaining letters as possible to stack on the current tower of letters and spell new words worth one point per letter.

The most important part of the game is that letters of each word don't need to be in the right order. They need only touch the string of letters that make the new word. So the connected letters B-E-L-U would earn four points for "blue." If the tower collapses at any point, the player whose new word toppled it loses.

This game isn't exactly a big-time vocabulary lesson. For balancing reasons, most of the words tend to be shorter, three-to-five letter words (our games included words like "tear," "jugs," "poet" and "bilk," for instance). But that doesn't mean the game is short on competitive excitement, word envy and laughs. Players exercise their brain matter in search of letter combos that form words while also taking into consideration how the new word might affect the tower.

Konexi stacks up to be the kind of good, old-fashioned, tabletop, family fun that seems endangered in today's techie electronic-gaming world. And it gets kids thinking about word choices, which is a good thing.

Don Oldenburg   ©2010 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Wonder Forge Inc.
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