Storytelling From Memory: A Review of Say the Word

Say the Word

How well can you remember a story? How about a story that is made up by a whole group of people? Say the Word by Peaceable Kingdom is a new, cooperative storytelling game for 3 to 6 players that sharpens creativity and memory skills, particularly for younger players.

Gameplay

In Say the Word, players create a story using Word Cards and try to repeat back the story correctly after each new card is added. If players successfully use a total of 10 Word Cards (or 12 if there are 5-6 players), the whole group wins.

For each round, one player is designated as the "Story Master." This player chooses a Character Card (therapist, queen, sumo wrestler, etc.) who will be used in the story, or makes up a new one. He also chooses an optional Challenge Card to make the game more difficult by requiring players to use funny accents, close their eyes, etc. Once the game begins, he will write down each of the words used.

All other players are each dealt 3 Word Cards and 1 Clue Token. The first player chooses a Word Card from his hand and uses that word in a phrase or sentence to begin the story. The card is then placed face down on the table next to the Character Card. Subsequent players then must repeat the story from memory (including each of the words, in order) then add a new word to the story.

If a player forgets a word, he may discard his Clue Token and the Story Master acts out the word without speaking to provide a hint to the player. If the player no longer has a Clue Token, another player may donate his own token for him to use. If a player forgets a word and no Clue Tokens remain, the game ends and all players lose.

After 10 (or 12) Word Cards are played and the story is repeated correctly, the game ends and all players win.

Say the Word components

Review

Say the Word offers a fun activity for families and younger players, but for a group of adults it is far from challenging. We won several rounds of play with only 1 Clue Token used the entire time. Perhaps combining multiple Challenge Cards together would offer enough additional difficulty to make it more interesting for adults.

We liked the fact that Character Cards are used to start out the story differently for each round. However, with only 3 Word Cards to choose from each player's hand, the stories tended to lose cohesiveness rather quickly, turning more into a list of silly words than a creative story. This may have been due to the players' lack of creativity, but we certainly tried to make the story work.

The idea that the Story Master acts out forgotten words seems out of place for this game, since it is not an acting game at its core. We would have preferred instead something like 3 Strike Tokens — forget a word and you get a strike, but the word is read aloud by the Story Master. 3 strikes and you're out (all players lose).

With the silly words that are included and the stories that are built around them, younger players in particular will find Say the Word to be lots of fun. It challenges creativity and memory in a fun activity, which is always a plus. But for a group of adults, there are better party game options.

Pros: Creative and cooperative play, fun for younger players

Cons: Too easy and perhaps too silly for a group of adults

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.