Letter Based Word Games by Mechanic - List #3 - Complex Word Formation
Vince Londini
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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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1. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1505]
Vince Londini
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Scrabble, of course.
 
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2. Board Game: Typo [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:4115]
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Typo, released last year, seems to fit on this list. Good game, too.
 
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3. Board Game: Upwords [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:5796]
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Upwords goes here. It was sold as "super-scrabble," but after a couple of plays my family and I decided that regular scrabble was the better game.
 
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4. Board Game: RPM [Average Rating:5.30 Unranked]
Jason Monroe
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>>>Are there other games where you play off of previously played letters, but that DON'T involve cross-word style play?

I would think this qualifies. The playing area is circular and turns clockwise. You add tiles to previously played ones to make words. Once a tile is placed, it cant be moved so it wouldnt fall under re-arrangement.
 
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5. Board Game: Swoggle [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:12301]
 
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This is an unsung game that I had fun with way back when. The gimmick is that you can put any letters you want into the grid (as long as they form words). It's much more crossword-like and less mathematical than Scrabble.
 
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6. Board Game: Catchword [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
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From the game description...

Each player maintains a hand of seven from a set of sixty letter tiles of a unique color. The gameboard is a 21x21 grid which has been divided into five different playing areas of various shapes and sizes. The smallest playing area is only five squares! Many three-space areas are marked with each player's color. A player's score is based on the length of the word (not on which letters are used) and playing words on one's own color scores double.
 
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7. Board Game: Keyword [Average Rating:5.21 Unranked]
Vince Londini
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Similar to Scrabble
 
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8. Board Game: Lexicon [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:10851]
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Scrabble with cards
 
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9. Board Game: Red Letter [Average Rating:5.44 Unranked]
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10. Board Game: Word Wars [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Vince Londini
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From the box:

Word Wars is a word game for two players. Players start the game at opposite ends of the baord, and by interlocking words, compete in a race to cross the board. By interlocking your chain of words with that of your opponents, you can capture or remove some of your opponents letters from the board and thus gain an advantage.
 
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11. Board Game: Grid Word [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
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From the game's description:

Players place special letter tiles on a 6X6 grid to try to form words of four letters, crossword style. Each word will give a player a certain number of points depending on the letter combinations.
 
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12. Board Game: Duoword: the thinking person's word game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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From the game's description:

Each player has 14 letters per turn, and normally gets to play 2 words a turn. A word placed on an Extra Word square allows the player to refill his/her rack to 14 letters and play a third word.

An average game takes about 12 turns. Letters are all worth 1 point, but certain squares provide score bonuses. Highest score wins.
 
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13. Board Game: My Word [Average Rating:4.96 Overall Rank:13594]
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The object of the game is to score points by forming 4 letter words from your hand of 3-4 cards. Each turn a player can play a single card next to or on top of any existing card on the table. Each card has 4 halves of words. Words are formed by joining pairs between two cards and scoring according to the number next both pairs.
 
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14. Board Game: Stackwords [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Connect-Four with letter tiles. From the game's description:

Consists of an 8x8 upright grid into which letter tiles may be dropped at the top of each column. Each column fills from the bottom up. The two players each face a different side of the grid, so what is a legal left-to-right word for one isn't for the other. Only the vertical (top-to-bottom) words are in common. The players score by making words vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
 
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15. Board Game: Starwords [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Vince Londini
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From the box:

At last, a co-operative word game! Everyone makes words to cover as many Star Spaces as you can. But each word must be about what you see in the picture. The picture changes. Letters get recycled. Letters are given away. Discuss, share & compare ideas in a natural, friendly way. Yes, you can look up words in the dictionary. No, you don't have to hide behind your letters. Word wizards can play the Advanced Version in which dice are rolled to see what kind of word has to be formed. Antonym? Adjective? Adverb? Noun? Verb? Rhyme?
 
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16. Board Game: Tri-words [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
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From the game's description:

Players try to score the most points by making words from randomly drawn Tri-tiles (the 5-sided triangular pieces) consisting of letters and wildcards (designated by stars)

The rules describe play for 2 to 6 players. However the cover states the game is for 1 to 6 players, and it's not difficult to see how a player could play solitaire against the timer.
 
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17. Board Game: Word Rummikub [Average Rating:5.38 Overall Rank:13854]
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From the game's description:

A letter/word version of Rummikub, player attempt to empty their rack of letter tiles to win.

Words may be placed complete on the table, or letters can be added to current words. Words already on the table can be broken apart and the letters used to form new words as long as at the end of a players turn he has added at least one new tile, and all letters on the table have been used to form valid words.
 
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18. Board Game: Wordrop [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:12170]
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From the game's description:

The game uses tiles similar to Scrabble, but has the letter on both sides of the tile. Players take turns dropping the letter tiles into a see through plastic device that has 10 columns and allows the letter tiles to stack on top of each other for a max. of 10 letters in a column. The object is to make a word or words of 2 or more letters in length. The words can go in any direction in a straight line similar to a word find. You only score on the word or words that are created with the letter you dropped on that turn.
 
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19. Board Game: Wordigo [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:8428]
Vince Londini
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From the game's description:

In Wordigo, everyone plays at the same time. No waiting for other players to complete their turns. Each player gets his/her own playing board and own set of letter tiles – 4 sets of each. Players race against the clock and other players to complete all the paths on his/her own board before time runs out.
 
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20. Board Game: Take A Letter [Average Rating:5.92 Unranked]
Vince Londini
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From the game's description:

Your Word Play cards specify the word you need to put together (certain length, or containing specific letters) as you move around the outer board, collecting letters. The Word Play card also specifies the score. You must, however, also be able to place the word on the central board Scrabble-style.
 
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21. Board Game: Royalty [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:9755]
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Agentjonz suggested this one and I think it fits because you can steal words from other players to form your own.

From the description:

"Royalty is a word card game that combines aspects of Scrabble and Rummy. Players can build words from their hands as in Scrabble but may also steal other players' words to create different words by combining those letters with their own hand."
 
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22. Board Game: Alpha Playing Cards [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:9156]
Vince Londini
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Apparently a number of games can be played which would fit in multiple categories, but probably the deck fits best here.

From the game's comments:

Alpha Playing Cards is a deck of cards with a letter and point value on each of the playing cards. There are a variety word and letter games that can be played with this deck of cards, from solitaire to multi-player games. The games also cover many age groups starting with letter recognition games for the younger players and advances to word games for adults.

Tom Vasel says:

War of Words: A two-player game that plays like a word version of Schotten Totten. Players play cards to form words at seven locations. The player to score the highest point valued word, or the first player to lay down a seven-letter word wins that location. The first player to claim three adjacent locations, or five locations total, wins the game. This is a favorite of mine, since Schotten Totten is one of my favorite two-player games. It’s a little harder to “prove” that you can’t be beaten at a location, but it’s a tremendous mind exercise. If this was the only game you could play with the deck, I’d be satisfied.
 
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23. Board Game: Crossword Pyramids [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:9225]
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From the game's description:

If you want to spell a 12-letter word and dazzle your opponents, go ahead! Bigger is better in this game! Use your own letters! Steal your opponent's letters! And, use the letters on the board! The unique design of this game allows players to make words from a constantly changing selection of 60 letters!
 
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24. Board Game: WildWords [Average Rating:6.81 Unranked]
Craig Blumer
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I haven't played this, but I'm interested.

The layout is like Scrabble. But the wild tiles represent any number of letters the player chooses in order to make a word. Thus, the game claims to reward a larger vocabulary more than a specialized Scrabble vocabulary.
 
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25. Board Game: Addiction [Average Rating:4.77 Unranked]
Vince Londini
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Tumble the letter-cubes down the steps and play them, one at a time, on a 5x5 grid. Kind of a gimmicky variant on using a tumbler. Score only those words that form a contiguous crossword pattern after all 13 cubes have been used.
 
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