ESL/EFL Game Review: Word Up

     Matthew Errey very generously sent me a copy of his ESL/EFL board game, Word Up, to be reviewed here.  Thanks, Matthew!

Word Up

     Word Up came neatly packaged in a standard game box (like monopoly). It contains a sturdy playing board (34 X 34 cm.), a series of graded questions sheets with answers, 6 question sheet holders, 20 'Word Up' cards, 6 player markers, 80 scoring tokens, 2 dice and the rules of play. There are three editions of the game, depending on the level of the players:
          Junior Word Up™
                   - beginner to lower intermediate
                   - 1,792 questions
           Word Up™
                   - intermediate to advanced
                  - 2,688 questions
           Word Up - Complete Edition™
                   - beginner to advanced
                   - 4,480 questions

     I recieved the complete edition. 

     Word Up is a quiz-style board game especially for learners of English as a second or foreign language. Each edition has more than a thousand questions graded into different levels of difficulty. There are different sets of questions suitable for beginners through to advanced level students, and all the answers are provided. I brought the game into my class and had them play as teams (2 per team) on a Friday after our work was done.

     My students really enjoyed the game. I think the partner play contributed to their enjoyment, because each team member brought different strengths and weaknesses to the partnership. Even the two students who generally get restless remained engaged in play and whispered answers to one another - even when it wasn't their turn. In fact, most of the students were trying to figure out the answers, though only the team whose turn it was spoke.

     The object of the game is to collect two tokens of each color (blue, green, orange, yellow) by answering the coordinating questions. For example, if the team lands on a yellow square, then they must correctly answer a "yellow" question (spelling) to win a yellow token. Each team receives their question from the previous team, so every team has  a fair opportunity to ask and answer questions. 

     The only difficulty encountered during play was with some of the students' pronunciation when reading the questions. Everyone was patient however, and I helped when necessary. As the teacher, I had the opportunity to sit back and let them take over - it was very nice to watch them in action. It brought out their competitive spirit, and their personalities shined through. 

     One minor drawback for students of American English is that the game uses British English, but the students seemed to figure the answers out in spite of that. 

     The levels of the questions are appropriate for a large variety of students, the game is engaging, easy to play, fun and interesting, and the game board and game supplies are well-made. So, all in all, my students and I really enjoyed Word Up, and I think it would be a fantastic addition to any ESL/EFL teacher's bag of goodies.

Visit the Word Up Website to see for yourself.

Kaye Mastin Mallory,
TESOL English Instructor
Webmaster -The English Zone-
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