5toCloseI’m usually disappointed with card games that use letters as cards. Most of them involve simply transposing rules from numerical games onto letter cards, which doesn’t work. It’s far easier to meld words than a three of a kind or a straight.

5 To Close is another entry in the field, and, while I haven’t played it, it looks decidedly better than the others:

  • It’s a partnership game, and partnership games are always better than non-partnership games.
  • You’re racing against an increasing minimum word length, and your opponents ending the round before you can.
  • You alternate playing letters onto the ends of letter piles, one at a time, with your partner, without communicating.

Could be wildly amusing, or not, but it looks interesting. Mind, you the ability to double, triple, and then redouble or re-triple word scores seems fairly unbalanced and overly luck-dependent.

The biggest problem is that the web site blatantly bandies about the name “Scrabble” as a comparison product: in the title of the site and in the copy. Without any disclaimer that they are not related to Scrabble and without even a trademark symbol or note.  Expect the trademark lawyers to come knocking soon, guys.

Note: The game has gone through previous names: Mingle the Game and Splingo the Game.