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  • 200 Answer cards
  • 210 Story word cards
  • 4 Cardholders
  • 1 Die
  • 1 Hourglass
  • Rulebook

Note: The symbols at the bottoms of the story word cards are only to help the players sort the cards and have no real function in the game.


Split into two teams. It doesn't matter if one team is bigger than the other. The teams should assemble and play on opposite sides of a table.

  • The oldest player on each team will be the first storyteller for their team.

  • Each team receives the 105 story word cards and the two cardholders in the team's color: Blue or Orange.

The storytellers set up the following:

  • Position the cardholders in the center of the table facing your team so that only your team will be able to see your cards.

  • Sort the story word cards by their colors or the symbols on their fronts. Arrange them in four stacks so that you can access them quickly.

  • Get the die and the hourglass ready.

The rest of the team members do the following:

Sit or position yourselves so that you will be able to read the words on the story word cards that your team's storyteller will be placed onto your cardholders.

Note: Below are the standard rules for four or more players. On page 4, you can find special rules for 3 players as well as rules for adjusting the difficulty level of the game.

Introductory Game:

Inexperienced players can familiarize themselves with the Word Slam cards and gameplay by first playing with the ten green answer cards for beginners.

Shuffle the cards face down (i.e., with the smiley face up) and place them face down on the table so that they are within reach of the two storytellers, creating the draw pile for the answer cards. Do not use the yellow, red, or black answer cards yet.

We also recommend playing your first few games without the highlighted answers on the answer cards. These answers are the names of people and popular culture references.

On each answer card, there are five standard answer words and one highlighted name. For example, this can be the title of a book or movie or the name of a real or fictional person. This name is always highlighted; for example, Dora the Explorer.

Note: The answer terms consist of things, the names of people and places, and titles from popular culture like book titles and movie titles and band names. The solution is most often a single word but sometimes has more than one word.

Game Play

A game consists of several consecutive rounds. In the introductory game, there are ten rounds. A round progresses as follows:

The blue team's storyteller takes control of the hourglass and the die first. He or she rolls the die. Then, the orange team's storyteller picks up the answer card from the top of the draw pile.

Both storytellers quickly look at the answer card and find the answer corresponding to the number rolled on the die. The storytellers must make sure that only they, and no one else from either team, can see the answer word (or term).

Example: Blue has rolled a 6. In this round, you must get your team to guess the word next to the 6, which is "banana".

Note: Do the storytellers agree that the term is too difficult or unknown to their teammates? If so, the orange team's storyteller rolls the die to find another term.

You can also do this if you decided at the beginning of the game to play without the highlighted names. Roll the die until you settle on an answer.

If you know the answer term, place the answer card face down next to the draw pile to play this answer card in the current round.

Now give the command to start: The blue team's storyteller calls out "WORD" and the orange team's storyteller responds with "SLAM". Let the guessing begin!

As the storyteller, you tell a story to communicate the answer term to your team with the help of your story word cards. Quickly search through the four stacks of story word cards and pull out the cards that you believe will lead your team to guess the answer term.

Place these cards on your team's cardholders. Your team members are free to talk and consult aloud with each other.

Rules for the Storyteller

  • You may not speak, sing, hum, or make any other sounds. Pantomiming, gesturing, nodding, or acting out words is also forbidden. You may use only the story word cards to communicate.

  • You may place cards on your cardholders in any order. You may reorder them, remove them, and place new cards at any time. You may use as many story word cards as you want and as can fit on the cardholders.

    You may also point to a story word card if it is particularly important. If the answer term is a two-part word, you may, for example, explain the first word on the left cardholder and the second on the right.

  • You may not partially cover words on the story word cards so that letters or word fragments of the answer are revealed.

Rules for Timing

If you are the storyteller who has control of the hourglass in the current round, you can decide at any « time during the storytelling whether the hourglass is used. Just announce that timing will commence and flip the hourglass upside down to start timing.

Now both teams still have as much time to guess the answer as it takes for the sand in the hourglass to run out.

If no team is successful at guessing the answer within the time limit, the storytellers announce the answer and remove the answer card from the game.

Rules for the Guessing Team Members

  • Do not start until your team's storyteller has placed the first story word card on one of your team's cardholders.

  • You are not allowed to cheat by looking at the other team's story word cards.

  • However, you are allowed to listen to what the members of the opposing team are saying. Perhaps this will help you to guess the answer.

As soon as a team guesses the answer correctly, the round ends. The winning team receives the answer card and places it face down on their side of the table. All players can decide together how precisely the guess needs to match the answer.

Next Rounds

When the next round begins, the storyteller's role on each team shifts to the team member who is to the left of the current storyteller (i.e., in a clockwise direction). The team that controls the hourglass and die switches with the team that draws the answer card.

For example, in the second round, the orange team's storyteller takes control of the hourglass and die, and the blue team's storyteller draws the top answer card. The storytellers settle on the answer term as before.

The orange team's storyteller calls out "WORD" and the blue team's storyteller responds with "SLAM". The round progresses as before.

End of the Game

The game ends after you have played the last answer card in the draw pile. The team that has collected the most answer cards wins.

If there is a tie, draw a tie-breaker answer card from the answer cards placed aside at the beginning of the game. Play through this tie-breaker round. The team that guesses the answer correctly in this round wins the game.

Example: Suppose the answer term is banana. The blue storyteller searches for the EAT story word card and displays it. The blue team guesses food, pizza, apple, and spaghetti.

The orange storyteller displays the cards YELLOW and PLANT. Because the orange team heard the blue team guessing foods, they suspect that the answer might be a yellow plant that is edible, so they guess pineapple, corn, and lemon.

The blue storyteller then displays CIRCLE and DIVIDED and the orange storyteller displays EAT. The blue team guesses that the item is semicircular and says banana, the correct answer, and wins the round. The next round begins.

Next Games

If you have already played the introductory game, play your next games using the following numbers of answer cards.

  • for 3 players: 15 answer cards
  • for 4 to 5 players: 21 answer cards
  • for 6 or more players: 25 answer cards

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