The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword in Monster Battling Word Game Spell Smashers | Casual Game Revolution

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword in Monster Battling Word Game Spell Smashers

Spell Smashers

Face down a fearsome wyvern or vile jinn with only your words to protect you, in this unique blend of genres.

Spell Smashers is a word game in which you play letter cards to spell words, and deal out damage to monsters for each letter you use. Choose your battles carefully, however, as each wound will fill your hand with difficult to use letter combos you can't easily discard.


The game is played over seven rounds. There are two letter decks: consonants and vowels. Each player has a hand of seven cards. Between rounds you draw back up to seven, drawing one at a time, choosing which deck to draw from as you go.

Monsters equal to the number of players are placed in the center of the table and a modifier card is drawn and attached to each. For each monster tile you count the hit points listed on it and its modifier card and place that many coins on the tile. Each monster also says how much damage it deals, while the modifier can affect the monster in a variety of ways, such as increasing the damage it deals or making it take extra damage from a specific type of attack.

At the start of each round, each player may choose to equip one weapon and one armor card. These cards will give you bonuses during the battle phase. Next, players simultaneously use the cards in their hands to create a word. Turn order will be determined by the number of letters in each player’s word. Once everyone has created a word, the player with the longest word goes first. Players take turns choosing which monster they are attacking. The first player to deal damage against each monster that round takes any ale tokens on that monster. When attacking a monster, you always draw wound cards equal to the amount of damage it deals. Wound cards are letters or letter combinations that are difficult to use and count towards your hand limit.

Each letter in your word has an attack value as well as a damage type. When attacking a monster, you take coins off the tile equal to the number of points of damage you are dealing. If the tile runs out of coins, the monster is slain and you get to take the monster tile. Each monster tile also has a letter on it, which you can use in future rounds for creating words (monster tiles are not discarded after use in a word).

After each player has chosen a monster and resolved their attack, you move onto the town phase. First, each player draws two quest cards, keeps one, and discards the other. Quest cards are secret goals you try to complete each round, such as creating the longest word or making a word that has at least four vowels. You may have two uncompleted quests at any one time. When you complete one, you reveal it to the others players.

Each player then chooses one location to visit in town such as the shaman, who allows you to discard all your wounds in exchange for discarding one of your monster tiles, or the armory where you can buy new equipment cards.

Finally, players refill their hands and an ale token is placed on each monster tile that was not defeated this round. New tiles are drawn to replace those that were killed and modifier cards attached to them.

After seven rounds the game ends. Players score three points for each monster tile they collected, one point for each set of two equipment cards, points listed on their completed quests, one point per ale token they collected, one point for each five coins they possess, and minus one point for each wound card in their hand. The player with the most points wins.

Spell Smashers



The combination of a very thematic game tied with a word game is a fun blend and serves Spell Smashers nicely. The quests offer bonus incentives and the wounds throwing difficult letter combos your way is clever both mechanically and thematically.

Set up takes a little bit of time and there are a few pieces to organize and elements to teach, however once you start playing the game is fairly intuitive. The theme can also win over players who typically find word games uninteresting, without alienating usual fans of the genre.

The town phase introduces extra choices that let players tinker with their strategy: do you want to improve your gear, drop your wounds, or spend money to earn ale tokens for each wound in your hand? These choices in turn can affect which monsters you decide to attack, which gives the game added depth.

There is also a lot of variety in the game from lots of monsters and the modifier deck, to the wound cards and items. Also, the fact that when you refill your hand, you draw one card at a time and can choose as you go which deck to draw from, makes it less likely that you will end up with a hand you can't do anything with. There’s even a fun solo mode, which you don’t find in many word games.

Spell Smashers is fun and fresh, with extra elements here and there that tie it all together nicely to create a word game that still feels like a fun dungeon delve. If that combo sounds interesting to you, check it out. We had fun with it.

Pros: Great blend of genre and theme, variety, fun solo mode

Cons: Set up and teaching takes a little bit of time

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