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Subject: Better than Scrabble ? rss

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john davidson
Scotland
Edinburgh
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Upwords is a decptively simple word placement game that is superficially similar to scrabble but with a difference that proves to be more than just a gimmick.

As with Scrabble the game can be played by 2 to 4 players.
At the start the players select 7 tiles and the first player places an initial word. They then replenish their used tiles from the stock pile.
The next player places their first word but rather than simply abutting words to each other (as in scrabble) the 2nd player may overlay the first word turning (for example)

SWAMP
into
SWIMMER
by laying an I over the A an M over the P and adding two additional tiles onto board level ER.



The board has raised squares (10 x 10 in most versions of the game but 8 x 8 in other versions) and game tiles are constructed to sit on the board or one on top of the other. Each square can be made into a tower 5 letters high before it is 'locked' and no further tiles can be added.

Scoring is straightforwards too. Simply count the number of tiles in the stacks used to make up the word.
The simple exception to this is words which are on the board level only which score double.

So in the case of the words above
SWAMP scores 10 points (5 letters x 2)
SWIMMER scores 9 ( as I and the second M are on towers two tiles high they score 2 points each, the other letters score 1 point each).
If the third player were to then place the word PLAY
One could end up with
_P
SLIMMER
_A
_Y
In which case player 3 would score 15 points ( 5 for PLAY - the L being ona two tile stack - and 10 for SLIMMER).


Overall there is a fair degree of thoughtful, tactical play to be had as the placement of a single tile can be more rewarding points wise than a whole word.
However, at the end of the game (when all tiles are exhausted from the stock and a player places their last tile) any players with tiles left in hand deduct 5 points per tile.
This can lead to a fair element of mental arithmetic and lateral thinking as (near the end) it can be more important to get rid of your tiles before the opposition does than to score well with their placement.

As a family game or one which can be played with non-boardgaming friends on holiday or the like Upwords has proved itself to be a popular choice. Children can enjoy it, as can the adults and it doesn't normally last much more than 45 minutes so can be fitted in quite nicely before anyone gets bored.
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Wakefield Carter
United Kingdom
Oxford
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Are you allowed to overlay and add letters at the end(s) of a word at the same time? My interpretation of the rules was that it was either/or.
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Dave Starks
United States
California
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You can stack on top and add letters to the end at the same time; as long as it all makes a new word.
 
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Greg Humphreys
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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As stated, you can do both, but you can never completely bury a word with a new word; at least one original letter must remain.
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