Do you have the patience of a saint? Or are you a devillish table tapper? When you are waiting for someone else to take their turn, can you keep your cool or do you boil over?
Well, fear not. For all you impatient, gaming wordsmiths out there, RAID from Raidboardgame is a fast grabbing, loud shouting, word game that is most definitely not Scrabble!
The rules for RAID are straightforward;
- Pick a side of the board to play (one side has more spaces for shorter length words) and then choose your colour.
- Each player rolls the dice in turns and picks out that number of letter tiles from the shared pool. Then everybody places them face up in the centre of the board (aka “the RAIDing circle”).
- Once done, you need to start thinking…..and fast! You need to think of a word which use some or all of those pool letters. Be the first to SHOUT it out, and you get to take those letters and place your word on a space on your board. It can be anywhere so long as it matches the number of letters used. And, just like Scrabble, each letter has a corresponding value. On that basis, your word points will be totted up at the end and will represent your VP total.
- Now, here comes the RAID… steady yourselves! If you can convert an entire word nestled comfortably on another player’ board into a completely new word (no simple plurals or variants or even repeat words allowed), then you get to RAID. And RAIDING means stealing their tiles right from under their own nose! No sneaking, no distract. Overt, unashamed letter grabbing! This can happen at any time, and you can even steal letters just RAIDED back again! E.g. if a player lays “BOW” and you spy a “L” in the pool, you can shout “BOWL” and move all of the letters onto your own board (so long as there is a 4 letter space available!). If an “E” and an “R” show up in the pool, however, someone could shout “BOWLER” and RAID your board for those 4 essential letters!
- If you can’t go, you can roll the dice and add that number of letters to the circle. There is no need to wait for anybody else; just roll, pick, shout or (most probably) RAID! Beware, however, as your new word is never safe; it is always ripe for being RAIDED back!
- If you can form one of the special “bonus words” set out on the random card given to you before the game begins (or even a communal list agreed by the players), you will also get 50 additional points. RAIDICAL!
- As soon as someone has filled three blocks of spaces on their board, the game ends, and they are declared the winner. Alternatively, the ROYAL RAIDER can be the person with the most points after the pool of letter tiles has run out, or even after the agreed time limit has passed – the choice is yours!
Straight up, RAID feels like a CRAZY mash up of sedate word games and zany party games! Having played it a number of times now, we end up shouting, grabbing, stealing, sliding, and fist balling! It is fun in the frustrating “why is my brain not working? I should definitely be able to make a word with “T” “A” “C”! Argh my 6 year old is legit beating me!” type way!
With most of us gamers having been weaned on Scrabble in the word game genre, this game needs a health warning. Beware; played at speed RAID a real shock to the system! Seeing the letters you want disappear from the pool before your eyes is surprising enough. Watching words then being RAIDed from your own board is a real discombobulating moment!
Out of the box, you might feel like you have mis-read the rules. But you probably haven’t. It is just as frantic and frustratingly entertaining as it seems!
Having no formal turn order and no time limit feels like a very different way to play a word game. The real-time element can feel super stressful and chaotic. But, if you lose your Scrabble sensitivities and park your politeness, RAID is a fun twist on the traditional word games.
And filling three blocks on your board, or rather keeping them filled, is tricker than it seems! Just when you think you are almost there, words fly off and you’re BACK at the beginning again!
Having fallen in love with the (safe!) sheer panic that real time games cause (thank you FUSE!), I thought I was getting the hang of thinking whilst my brain would rather shut down. But, after playing RAID, I am not so sure…..
My mind goes BLANK. Constantly. Like a desert between my ears, the tumbleweed is rolling but nothing is coming out. And, not to excuse my limited cerebral functioning, but maybe part of this is because I feel like it should be simple.
Scrabble is an old favourite. My brain thinks that having more letters and options should make it easier. After all, some words only need 3 letters to fill up a block on my board. Just 3! And I know they are there, swimming about between the tiles. CAT, ACT…. Plus, being able to RAID someone else’s words should mean I am filling up my board faster than seats at a free gaming convention! But can I get my eyes and mind to work together? NOPE!
RAID Is Personal!
For me, RAID becomes VERY personal, VERY quickly! Seeing my husband take the words I have been able to form HURTS! Similarly, realising that my mother-in-law has just shouted out a word that I was one second away from calling out is incredibly frustrating. But, then being able to RAID one of their words and turn it into a more valuable one on my own board is a sweet moment indeed.
Right Royally Raided!
Having played RAID with a number of different people, this game is a great family option – after all, who doesn’t like beating their nearest and dearest into submission!? Haha. The stress can be a Marmite moment for some, mind you!
It is definitely a game where players with a wide vocabulary and literacy abilities are likely to do well. After all, you can’t win if you can’t spell. But speed is almost as important – if you can’t think of the words quickly enough, you won’t succeed. And, if you use one or two of the variants (turn taking be especially helpful when playing with our young son), or even house rules to assist with accessibility for all gamers, RAID can be adapted to suit most players and playing preferences without losing the core USP of the game.
We have only played a prototype, and so there may be a few tweaks to the final game before it starts and finishes its Kickstarter campaign. But, if the game stays true to the version we have trialled, then it looks to be a fun and crazy twist on trad word games!
And if you can’t wait to try it, there is a free digital version on Playstore at the moment. So no excuse, gamers…..lets get RAIDING!!!
[please note that a prototype copy of this game was kindly provided by Zatu Games, however, all opinions expressed are my own]