Alpha Playing Cards by Tim Schutz
Review by Vince Londini
April 15, 2007
The unique factor about this alphabet deck is the semi-wild vowels. We find that with most letter-card decks you can easily get an unplayable hand, often because you have the wrong vowels. This deck features dual-vowel cards such as A/E, A/I, A/O, A/U...and so on for each vowel, providing 30 semi-wild vowels, 2 true-wilds, and 42 consonants. The cards seem durable enough, though the tuck-box is somewhat flimsy.
Dozens of games exist and dozens more could be made for this deck, but the deck ships with rules for 3 favorites (WordSnake, 6x6, and NewWord). These appear on a double-sided folded sheet. They're functional, but a booklet with rules for many games (a la the Rook rulebook) would be handy - if not shipped with the cards, than something like a 5.5"x8.5" booklet available for an extra $4.95 from the author (or something like that) would be nice.
For those who are more interactive and interested in playtesting and developing games for this deck, an active design community cooks up several new designs a year. Visit AlphaPlayingCardGame@yahoogroups.com.
We like WordSnake, BookWorms, and and Jacob and Angela's adaptation of 6 Nimmt! We adapted the classic Bali for these cards (unpublished) and contribute with playtest remarks on the Yahoogroups discussion.
I posted the following at Amazon.com where you can now buy Alpha Playing Cards:
"If you like word games, you'll enjoy the Alpha Playing Card deck. Including rules for several games, the cards could be used for an infinite number of games - you can even make up your own!
Our favorite feature of these letter cards, that makes this deck unique, is the double-vowel card. Too often in a word card-game, you get bogged down with the wrong vowels in your hand. The double-vowel cards give you more options.
We own several Alpha decks and have given them away as gifts for friends. In addition to playing the games described with the deck, we've adapted other word games for use with these cards.
If you like word games, give the Alpha deck a try!"
Ditto that last line