Letter Based Word Games by Mechanic - List #3 - Complex Word Formation
Vince Londini
Canada
London
Ontario
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I would like to suggest 5 mechanics for letter-based word games. Some games may involve aspects of several mechanics, but usually one of them impacts the score more than the others. For example, Jarnac involves simple word formation, but the game is won by rearranging and expanding those words to increase their point value.

1. Recognition - identify words from a jumble of letters. Players are not allowed to manipulate the letters, only observe them (Boggle).

2. Simple Word Formation - here players form words from their own pool of letters without using other players' letters or being concerned about board position (Quiddler).

3. Complex Word Formation - players form words, but they may/must also use letters from already played words. Crosswords style games dominate this category (Scrabble). Are there other games where you play off of already exposed letters, but that DON'T involve cross-word style play?

4. Guessing - players try to discover words formed and hidden by other players (Hangman, Probe).

5. Rearrangment - players may begin with simple word formation or recognition, but the real scoring opportunities are offered by rearranging existing letters to form more valuable words (Jarnac, Word Search).

You can access these list from my Metalist at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

List #3: COMPLEX WORD FORMATION
Which games require players to form words incorporating already played letters? Are there other games where you play off of previously played letters, but that DON'T involve cross-word style play?
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26. Board Game: Cross Up [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
R C
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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From the BGG description: A competitive crossword game where each player fills a 25-space crossword grid, one letter at a time, building words horizontally, vertically and diagonally. All players work with the same letters.

Surprisingly good game, by the way.
 
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27. Board Game: Lavellum [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I invented this. Like Scrabble, but paper-and-pencil, and no tile draws. The players decide what letters to use and the scoring is totally different.
 
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28. Board Game: WRDZ [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Raymond Gallardo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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From Peter Sarrett's review from The Game Report:

"You only get one tile per turn in WRDZ. You must either play it within about 60 seconds or spend your turn exchanging it with another from the bag. The object is to collect points by forming WRDZ-- simplicity itself, since WRDZ are just a group of letters which form part of a word. For a WRD to be legal, you must be able to insert some combination of letters in front of it, behind it, and/or within it to form an actual word. STC is a fine example of a WRD: it could represent STiCk, oSTriCh, SpasTiC, or any number of other words."
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29. Board Game: Tisby [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Jonathan Kandell
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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Score for size of words, with bonuses for connecting two spots on board, and certain squarrres. Both players use same letters, so a bit like boggle.
 
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30. Board Game: Option [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:8742]
Jim "git yer stinkin' themes offa my mechanic" Puccio
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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This is a crossword-style word formation game with letter tiles (prisms, actually) that have a different letter value (and potentially, point value) on each of two sides, against different colored backgrounds. You get a premium for forming new words by flipping a tile that has already been played over to the other side. You also get a premium for forming a word of all one color.
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31. Board Game: RSVP [Average Rating:5.45 Overall Rank:9088]
Raymond Gallardo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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Perfect-information word game: No luck or hidden information!

Plays surprisingly quickly and offers a lot of clever tactical moves.
 
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32. Board Game: Last Word [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Raymond Gallardo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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From the BGG description:

Last Word is played in a grid on squares 9 x 9. The central 9 squares are filled with 9 letters at random. In his turn, each player puts a new letter adjacent to at least two others already in the layout. Using this letter and the others that are in line with it, the player forms words. The letters can be rearranged in the layout to accomplish this. He can not put a letter if he can not form a word in at least two different direction and he scores by multiplying the length of all words formed by that letter. It is not necessary to use all letters in a direction, but all letters used must be continuous up to the letter added.

The game ends when all four edges of the grid are reached with at least one letter.
 
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33. Board Game: Word Squares [Average Rating:6.70 Unranked]
Raymond Gallardo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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Classic pencil-and-paper game that has a lot of published, commercial versions.

From the BGG description:

Each player starts with an empty 5x5 grid. One player begins by calling out a letter which all must use, but may place in any empty space on their own sheet. When all are ready, turn passes for the next player to call out. Continue taking turns and recording letters until the grid is completed.

An example of a commercial version is Quizzle. This version is played on a larger grid, and players can call a black square instead of a letter.
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34. Board Game: WYPS [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
 
Raymond Gallardo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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A cross between Iago (which itself is a cross between Scrabble and Othello) and The Game of Y.

Each letter tile is black on one side and white on another. One player plays words in white, the other in black. When a player builds a word on the board and uses one or more of his opponent's tiles already on the board, he gets to flip those tiles to his color.

A player wins if he manages to create a path of tiles of his own color that connect all three sides of the board.
 
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