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Word games on a 5x5 board

Raymond Gallardo
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Originally posted on Is there a variant of Scrabble that could be played on a 5x5 square board? between March 31 - April 2 2020

Some other games from David Parlett's The Penguin Book of Word Games:

Sinko
Two players, 5x5 grid.

On your turn, you enter a valid five-letter word in any one of the five horizontal rows (left to right) or five vertical columns (top to bottom). Unlike Scrabble, when you enter word parallel to another word, letters adjacent to it don't have to form words. Whoever writes the last word in wins.

An example of play from the book:

M A N S E
A . . N X
N O N E T
I N T E R
C O B R A

1. COBRA EXTRA
2. MANIC INTER
3. SNEER NONET
4. MANSE


Ragaman
For 2 players, a 5x5 grid is suggested. Larger grids for more players.

This is just like Last Word with the following rule differences:
* You start with an empty grid. The first player writes a vowel in the centre square
* In subsequent turns, when you write a letter in an empty space in the grid, it must be adjacent to at least one other letter, orthogonally or diagonally.
* You score 1 point per letter for each word you create.
* The game ends when the grid is full.

You may score for only one word for each direction (horizontal, vertical, and for each of the two diagonals). There's an advanced variant where you score for as many words you can create in any of the four directions. Or, you score by word length: 2 letters = 2, 3 letters = 6, 4 letters = 10, 5 letters = 15.

Pi
2 players, 5x5 minimum grid size

On your turn you either:
1. Write a letter in any empty square
2. Challenge your opponent's last-played letter

You lose if you can't move without breaking a rule or you fail to defend yourself against a challenge.

The rules are:
1. In each row and column, three or more consecutive letters must form a word when read in the appropriate direction.
2. A letter may not be entered which makes it impossible to complete a word of two or more letters by subsequent additions in the same row or column.

(I think for rule two, it should be "three or more letters" but I haven't played this game.)

==============

You could always play Big Boggle on a 5x5 grid. Since you're playing with tiles instead of dice, you could separate the vowels and consonants in different bags, then when laying out the grid, you can alternate the vowels and consonants in a checkerboard pattern to create grids with greater word-making potential!

You could try to adapt Scrabble Express/Scrabble Scramble/Scarabeo Express on a 5x5 board, but some suggested changes:

Let words extend off the grid of the board (5x5 would be way too small). But if a word goes off the board, let it wrap to the other side of the board, like reading a book. For example, if you have a word on row #3 that would fall off the right side, let the word continue on row #4 on the left side:
. . . . .
. . . . .
A N A G R
A M . . .
. . . . .


You would definitely have to reposition the bonus squares if you allow word to wrap like this!

Use the black cube rule from Scarabeo Express:

1. When you remove the previous word, place black cubes adjacent to the shared letter. If all four black cubes have been placed, then move black cubes instead. Black cubes serve as blocks; no words may be played on them.

2. When it is impossible to play a word because the black cubes are blocking all possibilities of word formation (not because of a poor dice roll), then remove all black cubes. Continue your turn.

Addiction is a crossword game that uses a 5x5 grid. It's multiplayer solitaire, though, but with a full set of Scrabble tiles, you could have 4 games going on at the same time.

Stack Spell uses a 3x3 board!

There's a 5x5 travel version of Scrabblers. Scrabblers is an extended tileset for Scrabble; all the tiles have digrams or trigrams on them. The travel version starts with a 5x5 grid full of tiles. On your turn, you place a tile on top of one of the tiles and score for words you can make, across and down, from that tile:

External image


Perhaps WRDZ would work on a small grid?
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