Saturday, February 18, 2023

What if you made a crossword puzzle but left off most of the letters?

Worder is a nine-card word game, which is a bigger genre than I used to think. It’s by Jason Tagnire, who is the guy behind Button Shy and PnP Arcade. So he’s had quite an effect on my gaming life lol

Worder consists of nine cards, each with a letter on it. (The letters are T, S, L, N, M, C, R, H and D) They each have a numeric value so you can’t just make a copy of the game from some index cards and a sharpie from my description.

At the start of the game, you deal out one card as a restriction. Every word in the game has to have that letter or none of the words can have it. Make up your mind which way it’s going to be at the start.

Randomly draw a card. Come up with a word that features that letter. The next card you draw has to go either to the right or below a cars already in play. The word you come up with not only has to have all the letters in the column or row, they have to be in the same order. (Yes, other letters can be in between them)

The game either ends when you can’t come up with a word or you’ve used all the cards. Your score is the longest row times the longest column, plus the bonus for the restricted letter.

I initially thought it was designed as a solitaire  game but it can be a multiplayer cooperative game. The rules say 1+ so the more fhe merrier.

I have to admit that I had low expectations going into Worder. I’ve played other word games where you have to fill in the extra letters and I haven’t cared for them. But I found the puzzle of Worder more engaging than I expected. Paring the game down to a few commonly used consonants cuts out a lot of fiddliness. 

The biggest mechanical weakness of the Worder is that I found is the scoring. The bonus points for the restriction can range from one to seven points. That’s a big enough swing that it reduces the value of comparing games’ scores. But if you’re playing Worder, it’s for the challenge and puzzle of using the whole deck. So, not a huge deal.

The actual question is I have for Worder is would I rather play it rather than Flipword by R. Teuber, which has been my preferred nine-card word game. More than that, would I choose to introduce people to Worder rather than Flipword? And, no, Flipword wins. I’ve introduced it to teachers and used it as a gift. It remains my gold standard. 

One advantage that Worder does have is that it would be easy to have a class play it using a black board or a white board. Not going to lie. That’s actually a big plus for Worder.

Worder is a downright decent word puzzle. Not the strongest in the game department but strong in the puzzle side. Not my first choice for tiny word games but one I’ll play.

No comments:

Post a Comment