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No Mind Games here, You’ve been Sentenced! is a hit according to popular mommy blogger!

October 8, 2009

bp1250157Many thanks to the kind folks at Mind Games! The following is an excerpt of there recent post. To read the post in its entirety, please visit Mind Games

You’ve Been Sentenced! is a game created to be educational and fun. In this game, players take a hand of 10 cards. Each pentagonal card has 5 words or word forms on it. For example, you might have a card with amuse, amuses, amused, amusing, and amusement. Other cards give you prepositions, conjunctions or other helping words – so you might also get a card with between the, behind the, under the, over the, and in the. Each word has a point value beneath it.

Starting at the same time, all players spread their cards out in front of them on the table. Your goal is to twist and turn and rearrange the cards so that you can use as many cards as possible to build a sentence that is grammatically correct – even if the content of your sentence is wacky or unusual – and has the highest possible point total!

The game, in essence, is as simple as that. The rule booklet comes with a whole host of variations to help the game appeal to younger players (every player gets at least one wild card each time) or older players (any cards you don’t use in one hand must be saved for the next hand) and all kinds of choices in between.

The website has even more rule variations, along with a copy of the original rules and a printable form to make extra scoresheets.

We have really enjoyed trying out this game for the past two weeks. It is interesting and challenging for my 7 year old son, who reads well but doesn’t write much yet. Other games – like Boggle or Balderdash – where you’re required to write down your answers aren’t helpful for him right now. In You’ve Been Sentenced, all the words and word forms are right there and just need to be put in some kind of order.

The game lends itself very well to talking about all kinds of grammatical rules as well as word choice decisions for older writers. For example, if JediBoy chooses the wrong verb form, we can talk about why he should have used “amuses” instead of “amused.” He loves to have me look at his cards with him after the round and help him find ways he can increase his point score. When he’s playing against his dad, we let him tack on any extra points we can find together, and it helps him level the playing field.

JediBoy enjoys the game so much that we have already taken it out to dinner twice (as evidenced by the blob of BBQ sauce on the “sport / sports / sporty” card!) and he’s been talking it up to all his friends. I just slyly jot down “covered tenses” or “discussed strings of adjectives” in his notebook after we’ve played it, and feel good that he’s learning in such an enjoyable way.

The folks at McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds even have a lesson plan available online for using the game in a classroom, and they were featured recently on WHYY for promoting this game in public schools. But don’t think that this is a dry game just because it’s marketed as educational. With the help of the extra add-on packs like “Gourmet Foods” and “Sci-Fi / Fantasy,” PisecoDad and I have had plenty of fun playing this game with our grown-up friends! The sentences can get very crazy, and defending your sentence is a fun part of the game for everyone!”

Want to learn more about McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds’ award-winning games like You’ve been Sentenced!Twisted Fish and more? Visit McNeill Designs for game rulesprintable score sheets, or even order online!


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