How to Play
In Dizzy Spell the object of the game is to get the highest number of points. Before the game begins all of the reversible pieces are placed on the holes in the gameboard circle side up. Each turn the current player uncovers two of the spots making sure both players have seen the letters that were uncovered. A piece that was already uncovered can’t be uncovered again until all of the other pieces have been uncovered (indicated by which side of the piece is facing upward). Once both players have seen the letter, the player places the piece back with the opposite side face up.
After the letters have been uncovered, if the player thinks they can spell a word (has to be at least three letters long), they try to remove the pegs in the correct order to spell out the word. If they are correct they get to keep the pieces which count towards the player’s score at the end of the game. The spaces used to spell the word can’t be used again in this round. If the player does not correctly spell a word, they are assessed a two point penalty on their scoreboard and the pieces are put back.
Once all of the pieces have been removed or neither player is able to form a word with the letters that remain, the round is over. Players receive 1 point for every piece they have. Players receive a 2 point penalty for every incorrect guess during the round. The player with the most points wins the round.
Dizzy Spell tries to be an ambitious game by combining a typical word game with a memory game. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of either genre so I didn’t have very high expectations. I applaud the creators for trying to do something original but unfortunately they failed. Dizzy Spell is just not fun and I don’t anticipate ever playing the game again.
Reading the rules I got a feeling that the game wouldn’t be that hard. Dizzy Spell is harder than you would think though. I wouldn’t consider myself to be great at memory games but I found it pretty hard to find a word longer than three letters. It is hard to try and remember letters while also trying to form words with letters that were already revealed. You might be able to remember quite a few letters but you forget most of them when you need to focus your mind to create words. Most of the letters in each game also don’t work with each other. There are not enough vowels and each game has several less common letters which are harder to form words with. It becomes very hard to come up with words longer than three or four letters long.
When I say that the game is hard, I don’t mean that the game is hard to understand or to play. It is actually quite easy to play and understand. You can probably learn how to play the game in less than five minutes. The problem is that it is hard to play well. It is not that hard to get three letter words with a little luck, but playing the game with both players getting only three or four letter words is hardly satisfying.
One thing that could have made the game more interesting would have been to remove or at least reduce the penalty for incorrect guesses. Two penalty points is way too high in my opinion. The penalty should have either been eliminated or reduced to one point. With most completed words being only three or four letters long, one incorrect guess essentially eliminates a correct guess. Therefore I mostly played the game in a manner where I only guessed if I was pretty much positive. If there was no penalty or a lesser penalty, I would have been more willing to guess which would have made the game more fun.
Let me give you a better picture of what it is like to play Dizzy Spell. Think about playing a game of Scrabble. With a hand of tiles you are able to plan out what word to play and you can put your entire focus into that task. Instead of having a hand of tiles, imagine that each turn you get to pick some tiles from a group of face down tiles. So while trying to remember your current tiles and tiles that were revealed in the past, you also need to try and come up with words that utilize those letters. With all of this information spinning around inside your head, you are bound to forget the location of most of the letters that were uncovered. How much fun would a game of Scrabble be if the longest words you could come up with were three or four letters since you couldn’t remember the location of many other letters.
Overall I really didn’t have much fun playing Dizzy Spell. I found the game to be harder than it needed to be and the gimmick of mixing a word game like Scrabble with a memory game just wasn’t that interesting in my opinion. If you don’t like word games and memory games, Dizzy Spell will not change that. If you do like both of those genres though, and can find a copy of Dizzy Spell on the cheap, you might get some enjoyment out of the game.