review by Kendra

SHH is a cooperative game for up to four players. I've personally stretched it to five or even six, but the chances of getting a high cooperative score decrease with the number of players added, even with additional pass cards added in. It is easiest at 2 players, which is uncommon for cooperative games.

First, I would be remiss if I didn't point out the size of this game. It is from the Pack-O-Game series, which means that it is the size of a pack of gum. It is $6. In my opinion, it can be combined with a second version of itself, but there are no rules written for adding in a second pack. One pack contains 26 letter cards and 4 pass cards.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward. Everyone is dealt a roughly even number of cards, though hand sizes will not always be precisely even. Next, a player places a letter down, either a consonant or one of the communal vowels. The next player then places another letter, either a consonant from their hand or one of the remaining collective vowels. This continues until a word is formed, at which point the player who formed the word states that they believe it is a word. A vote is cast, and if the word is in fact a word according to basic Scrabble rules, and is longer than three letters, all of the consonants are removed to the scoring area. If the word in question is five letters or longer, then the vowels are flipped to their scoring side and returned to the communal vowel area. This does mean that no words with double letters can be formed, hence my use of two games of SHH in my own homebrew.

This game is very fun, and introducing it to teachers seems to light up their eyes. The cooperative nature means that everyone is working together for a common cause. The fact that it involves trying to spell and trying to guess what letters are most likely in other people's hands is also very useful for gaining mastery of word formation. It's also interesting to try to count cards, and also to try to read the apprehension in other folks' eyes. Sometimes, one can intuit which options are unwise based on a collective feeling of dread.

This game is fun and easy to teach. The downside is that most players will try to go for a perfect score of 26, one point for each letter. This is madness. A more reasonable good score is somewhere in the teens, especially with a larger player count. It was very interesting to navigate the challenge of only playing words that used only one of each letter. This game weighs practically nothing, is great for introducing kids to looking at words for their constituent parts, will absolutely delight teachers, and is inexpensive. Honestly, I think it's a worthwhile addition to a collaborative player's game collection, especially to introduce to folks who have not played very many games.

SHH is available now from our webstore.