Cost:$8.00 From: Lakeside Industries (check your local Toys 'R Us) Players: 2 or more Playing Time: 20-40 minutes Type of game: Word Complexity: 4 Skill level: 7 Summary: Surprisingly entertaining despite lack of player interaction. Reviewed by: Peter Sarrett, Issue 1.2, October 1992
Perquackey has been around for years, and yet it remains virtually unknown. In fact, I've had it in my closet for over a decade and I'd never played it at all until a visiting friend who'd just stumbled onto it suggested we give it a go. As a result, I discovered a stimulating game which had been hiding right under my nose since childhood.
My prolonged snubbing of Perquackey may be due to its surface resemblence to Spill 'N' Spell, a game found in practically every elementary school in the nation. Both games involve tossing letter cubes from a cup and arranging the letters to form words, but the similarities end there. In Perquackey, players try to arrange and rearrange the ten letter cubes to form as many words as possible within the available time, using only the letters on the top face of each cube. Words must be at least three letters long, and no more than five words of the same length are allowed in the same throw. To claim a word players must arrange the cubes, pronounce the word, and spell it aloud. Another players writes down each word the player claims, informing him when he has completed a word group-- that is, when he has claimed five words of a given length. Longer words earn more points, and bonuses are awarded for completing word groups.
To add spice to the game, players are "vulnerable" whenever their scores reach 2000 points. When vulnerable, players add three additional letter cubes to their throws and must score at least 500 points in each throw or else his throw is not scored and he suffers a 500 point penalty. The first player to reach 5000 points is the winner.
While one player is forming words, others can only look over his shoulder and watch. With more than two players this would probably result in yawns of boredom. When playing with two, however, both players are occupied-- one forming words, the other writing them down-- making the game move swiftly. Perquackey is not a particularly competitive game. In fact, it borders on being cooperative. It is not uncommon to praise one's opponent for finding a particularly good word, or for finally assembling a word which you'd located ages before. We did find, however, that the suggested scores in Perquackey are far too low. Doubling the score needed to become vulnerable, the required score and penalty while vulnerable, and the game-winning score fixed the problem nicely.
I'd hesitate bringing out Perquackey for a large group of people, but it's a great way for two people to pass the time.