Dabble – a bilingual, apostrophe using, “Q” and “U” separating anagram game.

It’s hard to have a strong opinion about every game you play.   Usually, I can analyze a game and eventually come down to a solid “I love it” , “I like it”, or “It’s really not worth the cardboard it’s printed on”.   But every once in a while I find a game that just doesn’t strike me one way or the other.

Dabble came to me during Gen Con 2011.  The gal who demoed it for us was really friendly, and I relatively enjoyed my demo.  There was nothing breathtaking about the game, but it certainly wasn’t awful.  Since then I have played this game more than a few times with friends and family, trying to form an opinion on it.   It has sat on my desk, menacing me, practically daring to come to some sort of conclusion, and yet I haven’t been able to.  Other games have come and gone while this one sat, just waiting for its write up and its moment in the proverbial sun.

Dabble is a word game, or more accurately an anagram game.  An anagram is a word, or words, that can be rearranged to spell other words, which is exactly what you are trying to do in this game.  You receive a hand of tiles at the beginning of the round.  You must then rearrange those tiles to create a series of words, starting with a two letter word and progressing upwards to a six letter word.  This is all done while a timer ticks away, and your opponents try to do the same on their own racks.

For me I could see pros and cons to this style of game play.  The “everybody plays at once” style is appealing because there is no long waits for it to get back to your turn, it’s always your turn!  But for me this style of game play feels solitary and not in the spirit of board games.  Board games are social things, I need human interaction in my games!

The one thing I can say I resoundingly did not like was the “Q” and “U” tiles being separate entities.   Other similar word games have combined these tiles into one, because nearly all english words use these two letters together.  So, to draw a “Q” without a “U” pretty much guaranteed that you will not win that round, which seemed like a design flaw.

One thing that we thought initially was pretty neat, but also ended up hating was the apostrophe tile.   That’s right, this game allows you to use apostrophes in your words!  We thought that was very inventive.   But look back at this article, how many apostrophes have I used in words so far?  10 total apostrophes, in four different words.  That’s really not very many considering how many words are already in this article.  To sum it up, the apostrophe was very hard to use.

But to add a little bit more “neat” to this game, it also came with the tiles necessary to play the game in Spanish, which we thought was really pretty cool.  A couple of the gamers in our group speak Spanish, and one of them is raising a bilingual son.   This seems like an awesome game for their household, but perhaps a few years from now, as the son would still be more interested in eating the pieces then spelling words with them.

I do have one small component complaint with the game, the sand timer that is packaged with the game really stinks.  When I was demoing the game at Gen Con, the sand timer stopped running, it essentially clogged itself up.  I figured it was a fluke, probably just a little moisture got in there.  However, when I got home with my brand new, fresh out of the box copy, I had the same problem.  The timer would just stop running, completely randomly.  Because the word building is timed, and that makes a big difference in the game, I would advise the company to look into using different sand timers, because these were just non-functional.  I ended up using my cell phone timer function while playing.

But to balance out that negative, I have a component praise (I told you I was having a hard time deciding on this game).  The racks that each player uses are really nice and very functional.  The game comes with tiered racks.  Each row is only long enough for the word that is suppose to be there, for instance the top row will only hold two tiles, because you are suppose to make a two letter word, the next row down only will hold three tiles, etc.  This made it really easy to see what sized word you still needed to make.

So my end result?  Meh?  It’s an ok game.  It certainly has its’ flaws (QU, sand timer, apostrophes, etc), but it also has its’ upsides (bilingual, nice trays, innovative apostrophe use).  If you are a word buff, or bilingual, or like more “solitary” games, go ahead and pick it up.  If not I think you’ll feel much the same as I did, lukewarm.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 at 7:28 am and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Word Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

114 Comments

  1. I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This post posted at this website is actually fastidious.

  2. May I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual who truly understands what they’re discussing on the internet.
    You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people have to look at this and understand this side of your
    story. It’s surprising you are not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.

  3. vk25.ru says:

    Undeniably consider that that you said. Your favourite reason appeared to be at the
    net the simplest factor to take into accout of. I say to you, I
    certainly get annoyed at the same time as folks think about issues that they just
    do not realize about. You managed to hit the
    nail upon the highest and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people
    can take a signal. Will likely be again to get more.
    Thank you

  4. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues
    of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it looks like a
    lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know
    any ways to help prevent content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

  5. Hi to all, it’s really a good for me to visit this web site, it includes useful
    Information.

  6. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board
    and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.

  7. I think this is one of the most significant information for
    me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on few general things, The website style is ideal,
    the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  8. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your
    useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

  9. I think the admin of this web page is genuinely working hard
    for his web site, for the reason that here every data
    is quality based data.

  10. I am not certain the place you’re getting your information, but great topic.

    I must spend some time learning much more or working out
    more. Thanks for fantastic info I used to be looking
    for this information for my mission.

  11. Hi there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when browsing from my iphone.

    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this problem.

    If you have any suggestions, please share.
    Many thanks!

  12. Can you tell us more about this? I’d love to find out some
    additional information.

  13. Have you ever considered publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites?

    I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you
    discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I
    know my readers would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel
    free to send me an e mail.

  14. Benito says:

    I’m extremely impressed along with your writing abilities and also with the
    format for your blog. Is this a paid subject or
    did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s uncommon to
    peer a great weblog like this one today..

Leave a Reply

*