A horde of hideous monsters threatens your town, but thankfully you have the one weapon they have no answer for: your vocabulary!
In Spell Smashers your party of adventurers use your spelling skills to defeat monsters, complete quests, and collect coins. Will your lexicon be strong enough to save the town and earn you the victory?
Smashing Monsters With Words
After setting up the town board, players receive a starting hand of consonant and vowel cards and a player board, which is used to organize gear, items, coins, ales, monster trophies, and completed quests.
All players first activate a weapon and armor, which give various bonuses, then spell a word from the letter cards in their hand. The player with the highest-scoring word goes first, choosing one of the face-up monsters to battle. They deal damage based on the value of their letter cards and gain coins equal to the damage they’ve done. If the monster is dead, then you gain the monster tile, which is now your trophy. You may use it for its shown letter on your future turns.
But the monsters don’t go down without a fight! After all players have battled a monster you take wounds. These wounds are also letter cards, but they’re often tougher to spell words with, thus clogging up your hand until you spell a word and discard them. Finally, everyone goes to town to gain new quests, spend gold for new weapons and gear, go to the shaman to heal wounds, or go to the tavern to boast of conquests in exchange for victory points.
At the end of the seventh round, the game ends and players receive victory points for their monster trophies, gear cards, completed quests, ale tokens, and leftover tokens. For each wound card in your hand, lose one point. The adventurer with the most points wins.
A Unique Twist On Fantasy Adventuring
Most gamers will see the word game/fantasy theme mashup and wonder if it could possibly work. Thankfully, Spell Smashers does. I’m a fan of word games, from old favorites like Scrabble and Boggle to modern classics such as Paperback and Wordsy. What separates Spell Smashers from these other word games is what I love most about it: the game has an actual theme.
At its heart Spell Smashers is a spelling game, but it’s been neatly packaged in a tried-and-true fantasy theme. Your adventuring group is doing what other fantasy game protagonists have done for many moons: fighting monsters, collecting loot and gear, and completing quests, all in the name of victory points.
A Game That Word Game Fans Will Enjoy
Much like what Roll Player did in creating a game out of rolling a character’s stats, Spell Smashers does the same for spelling. Spell Smashers offers us word geeks a way to create words in a fantasy universe that’s fun, familiar, and challenging. It’s a welcome change trying to spell words to defeat monsters, instead of rolling dice or trying to set up the perfect card combination.
While non-word game fans may not like Spell Smashers due to the main spelling mechanism, the familiar fantasy theme may draw in even the worst speller into a game. But it’s the word nerds like myself that will love Spell Smashers the most.
Thanks to Renegade Game Studios for providing a review copy of Spell Smashers.
Ruel Gaviola is a regular contributor to Geek & Sundry, The Five By, iSlaytheDragon, That Hashtag Show, and other sites. His name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. You can find him talking about board games on Twitter or Instagram.