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Home > articles > Jabuka: a Twisted Letter Game for the Whole Family

Jabuka: a Twisted Letter Game for the Whole Family

If your looking for something new to spice up family game night you probably want to check out the Jabuka! It’s a creative twist on classic word-building games, quite literally turning them upside down. It shares some similarities with Scrabble, Bananagrams and Boggle but it’s added slice of letter twisting mayhem can keep kids engaged and excited throughout the game play as they master spelling and language.

Jabuka game inventor, designer and artist, Martin Russocki, invented the game one day in a coffee shop. As he held a coffee bean in his hand and considered the historical connection between games and coffee. He sketched his initial “M” on a coffee bean. He twisted it sideways then upside down and watched in amazement as the “M” magically transformed into an “E” and a “W.” Soon after, his totally twisted alphabet, and Jabuka was born!

We tried out the game recently and found it very easy to learn and fun to master, it’s a competitive style game that keeps players thinking on their toes as they try to outsmart each other. The gameplay is very quick as there are no actual turns. Instead players race to find words, shouting them out and ‘stealing’ other players’ words by rearranging letters and actually twisting some letters upside down to make new ones. 

Each of the pieces, or beans, has a single letter or letter combination. White letters (s, f, a, o ) are always as they appear, but yellow letters can be twisted and turned to create different letters – an ‘e’ can be twisted to become a ‘w’ or an ‘m’. There are also combination pieces like ‘ho’, ‘nd’, ‘ng’, ‘od’, which can also be twisted around becoming ‘oy’, ‘pu’, ‘bu’, ‘po’. At the end of the game the winner is the player who has the most words. You can learn more about gameplay here or watch the quickplay video below.

The cute coffee bean-shaped pieces are made of recycled wood that are very tactile and fun to play around with, although we did find them a little on the light side, combined with their shape, it made them tricky to put back in the bag and a little too easy to drop (but maybe we just have fumbly fingers!). 

The entire game fits in the included small burlap coffee sack. It’s a good travel game in this way as it is just so small you could take it anywhere, although you will need a table to actually play the game and spread out the pieces.

Overall, we think Jabuka is a good word game to add to your family game library. It scores points for it’s creativity, fun and the brain boosting workout it provides – you’d be surprised how tricky it can be to rethink composing words in this way! Perhaps even harder for us older humans who aren’t used to seeing letters upside down.

KIDS LEARN:

Spelling, Letter Recognition, Quick & Creative Thinking, Vocabulary Building, Competitive Social Skills

PLAYERS: 
2-8 players / 1-on-1 or in teams

CONTENTS: 
100 dark beans + 8 light-coloured, blank beans

Recommended for ages 8+. Jabuka currently retails for $24.95 with free shipping, and is available at jabukagames.com as well as amazon.ca

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