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This contest needs a word game!



This is an entry to the 9-Card Nanogame Contest.
(You can find the contest rules and the other entries here).

Status: CONTEST READY!

# of players: 2

Time: 20 minutes

Description

Cube Words is a word game for 2 players. Earn points by forming words using adjacent letters. First player to earn 30 points is the winner.


Components

- 8 cards containing letters
- 1 card containing the scoretrack and a score aid
- 8 cubes in 2 colors (4 cubes for each player)


Game Files

Rules (Revision1)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e3gbiski2mqe14z/CUBE%20WORDS_rules...

Cards - Front
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lbdqjrouzyqfreg/CUBE%20WORDS_cards...

Cards - Back
https://www.dropbox.com/s/r55a4ondwkrojz2/CUBE%20WORDS_cards...


Game Files (PDF)

CARDS (front)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/r6z7o94szcjh3n2/CUBE%20WORDS_cards...

CARDS (back)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6ap57akjhndff1c/CUBE%20WORDS_cards...

RULES (revision 1)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/aibhfm1szlo3gb8/CUBE%20WORDS_rules...


Contest Categories
- Best Overall Game
- Best 2-player Game
- Most Innovative Mechanic
- Best Written Rules
- Best New Designer
- Best Grayscale Printed Game


Images of the Cards (Front)






Rules Change Log


15.04.2017 - Based on the comment made by Jason (see at the end of this thread), I have changed the points structure. The idea is to decrease the importance of small words (3 letters) in face of the amount of bonus points. Well, now the game is ready.



14.04.2017 - Revision 1 - Based on the feedback received and on some testing at home, I have made some changes to the rules.

- In order to reduce the "search space", the setup now is only 2 cards on the table. This alone made for a much better game, in my opinion, as it forces players to be really creative. The downside is that it increases analysis paralisis.

- Due to the above, if a player may not find a word on 2 cards, he has the option to place a new card.

- I have changed the bonus points structure. The cubes bonus are no longer there. Instead, now the bonus are for the cards remaining in your hand. You need cards in your hand to earn bonus points, but you need cards on the table to help you form new words. I think this is a good dilemma.

- I removed the "Move a Cube" action. Now it is part of the "Form a word" action. I think it makes more sense no to be an isolated action.

- I added the cards backs. I kept the same letters in each card, but with different position. You can choose which face you want to play, but it will not change the total distribution of the letters, just their positions.


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JK
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Hooray! I love word games!
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JK
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Just read the rules. They are simple and clear.

A couple of spelling mistakes:
Sctructure should be structure
Under bonus points, to should be two or 2

Suggestions:
Use card backs for more letter grids.
Remove boxes from cards - all you really need are the letters themselves.

Should be able to try the game out later in the week.

Cheers,
JK
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Joseph Propati
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Welcome to the contest.
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JohnKean wrote:
Just read the rules. They are simple and clear.

A couple of spelling mistakes:
Sctructure should be structure
Under bonus points, to should be two or 2

Suggestions:
Use card backs for more letter grids.
Remove boxes from cards - all you really need are the letters themselves.

Should be able to try the game out later in the week.

Cheers,
JK


Thank you! Great suggestions!

When you say "Remove boxes from cards" do you mean all the boxes? Including the boxes where the cubes should go to?

 
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kingspud wrote:
Welcome to the contest.


Thank you!
 
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I'm trying to undersyand how a cube is suppose to form a word. So you put a cube on a letter and then spell the word from that starting letter?
Why nit just have each player be able to use up to nine cubes to make a word then let the next player create a word with up to nine cubes but nit the same word?

You could use small, tiny dice as blockers or markers.

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kingspud wrote:
I'm trying to undersyand how a cube is suppose to form a word. So you put a cube on a letter and then spell the word from that starting letter?
Why nit just have each player be able to use up to nine cubes to make a word then let the next player create a word with up to nine cubes but nit the same word?

You could use small, tiny dice as blockers or markers.



The cubes do not form a word. You can form a word anywhere using adjacent letters. If you use a letter marked with one of your cubes you receive a bonus, but it is not mandatory.
 
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Another thought - I think words should be required to span more than one card, otherwise players could just play the same words each game (eg gems, hems, slam from the first card).

Also, could the cards be placed upside down to create more starting combinations? What about having the option to pick up and move/flip/rotate a card so long as you make a word to join it to another card? This changing board idea would distinguish the game from Boggle, which is very similar to the current game. If you could move cards you might be able to overlap them or place them sideways (if you had 3x4 letters to even up the spacings). Lots of variants on your basic game to explore...
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JohnKean wrote:
Another thought - I think words should be required to span more than one card, otherwise players could just play the same words each game (eg gems, hems, slam from the first card).

Also, could the cards be placed upside down to create more starting combinations? What about having the option to pick up and move/flip/rotate a card so long as you make a word to join it to another card? This changing board idea would distinguish the game from Boggle, which is very similar to the current game. If you could move cards you might be able to overlap them or place them sideways (if you had 3x4 letters to even up the spacings). Lots of variants on your basic game to explore...


Well, interesting thoughts...

1) In the distribution of the letters on the cards, I tried to avoid words that could be created using just one card, because of the same problem you pointed out. As you can see, I failed miserably. Now that I'm thinking straight, it was very pretentious. I think your idea is good. I will try to put it in words (no pun intended).

2) The changing board. I was toying with the idea of change the position of the cards. The problem I found in my tests was that the analysis paralisis was very high. I was having a hard time to visualize possible words whitout moving the card, just using the imagination. But I agree with you that it is a nice idea.

3) I took a look at Boggle. Yeah, it is too similar.

Thank you for your comments. You have good ideas, keep them coming!
 
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Jason Meyers
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This looks very interesting. I've got the cards queued up to print, so these comments are not based on playtesting yet, but it strikes me that the 4x2 array each with 3x3 letters for 72 letters in a 12x6 grid is a HUGE search space, and blocking even a few isolated letters doesn't necessarily do much. I imagine some serious analysis paralysis as people try to hunt out the biggest possible words up front. I wonder if there is a way to keep the feel of the game with a smaller grid (and perhaps, like the previous poster, thinking about a changing grid, e.g. a 2x2 or 2x3 grid of cards, after your turn swap a card in the grid with one not in).
Also, just to clarify cube placement, if you have none out, you have to place one. If you have one out, do you have the option of either moving or adding the second cube, or do you have to move and put the second one out? Or just put the second one out?
Look forward to playing around with this one.
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boristhebad wrote:
This looks very interesting. I've got the cards queued up to print, so these comments are not based on playtesting yet, but it strikes me that the 4x2 array each with 3x3 letters for 72 letters in a 12x6 grid is a HUGE search space, and blocking even a few isolated letters doesn't necessarily do much. I imagine some serious analysis paralysis as people try to hunt out the biggest possible words up front. I wonder if there is a way to keep the feel of the game with a smaller grid (and perhaps, like the previous poster, thinking about a changing grid, e.g. a 2x2 or 2x3 grid of cards, after your turn swap a card in the grid with one not in).
Also, just to clarify cube placement, if you have none out, you have to place one. If you have one out, do you have the option of either moving or adding the second cube, or do you have to move and put the second one out? Or just put the second one out?
Look forward to playing around with this one.


With respect to the huge search space, I think you are right. I'm working in a new configuration of the cards to allow movement of the cards and a smaller search space, trying to address the issue you and Jhon Kean pointed out.

Clarification about cube placement: my intention was that if the player has placed only one of his cubes and he chooses the "move cubes" action, he can either move the cube already in play or place the second one. Hum... Why would you ever not place your second cube if you can place it anywhere? I need to think a little harder about that... shake


Thank you for your comments!

This kind of feedback is really helpful...
 
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Based on the feedback received (thank you guys! you rock!), I have changed the game. And now it is a much better game, in my opinion, of course whistle.

I have added a change log to the original post.

Now the game is contest ready.
 
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Image of the cards

FRONT


BACK
 
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Jason Meyers
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I like the new gameplay idea, where there is a tension about putting out cards since it costs you bonus point. Just as a quick question do you get the bonus for cards in your hand for each word you make? It seems like that privileges finding short words over finding long ones in the early part of the game (since for finding a three-letter word, I'd get 1 point for the word and 3 bonus points). I know at some point you need a 6+ word, but the bonus structure seems to overvalue early small words (and if someone finds a 6+ word just on the two cards - there are a few I can see in various pairs of cards as arranged in the sheet - it seems the best strategy is to claim that, then hold your cards and make mostly tiny words).
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Looks cool! Good luck!
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boristhebad wrote:
Marcos-
I like the new gameplay idea, where there is a tension about putting out cards since it costs you bonus point. Just as a quick question do you get the bonus for cards in your hand for each word you make? It seems like that privileges finding short words over finding long ones in the early part of the game (since for finding a three-letter word, I'd get 1 point for the word and 3 bonus points). I know at some point you need a 6+ word, but the bonus structure seems to overvalue early small words (and if someone finds a 6+ word just on the two cards - there are a few I can see in various pairs of cards as arranged in the sheet - it seems the best strategy is to claim that, then hold your cards and make mostly tiny words).


In first place, thank you for your stellar feedback. You talk like a real game designer, not like me

Well... you are right. Yes, the bonus is for each word you make.

I really don't want to change the bonus points structure, since I believe it is a good incentive to hold your cards in your hands and try to find a word with the cards that are already on the table.

Taking into consideration what you said, the solution is to change the points for the number of letters. Maybe keep 1 point for 3 letter words, but increase the points for 4-5, 6 and 7 letters words.

What do you think? Players would look harder for longer words? I believe it will address the issue you raised without too much trouble.

Thank you again for the feedback.
 
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Jason, based on your comment I have made some changes. I think I have addressed the topic you raised (I don't know to what extent).
 
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I have played this a few times now and have to say, the letter layouts are really well thought out and it always leads to a few tough choices. It's never too easy (or easy!). Really enjoying it
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You post FRONT/BACK cards, but... If I printed it this way it whould be mistake. If scoretrack card is in right-down corner in FRONT, it should be in left-down corner in BACK.
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anewcar wrote:
I have played this a few times now and have to say, the letter layouts are really well thought out and it always leads to a few tough choices. It's never too easy (or easy!). Really enjoying it


Thank you! I have played with my wife and my nephew and we are having a hard time fiding words. But our english vocabulary is not that big anyway...
 
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BogusKoszalka wrote:
You post FRONT/BACK cards, but... If I printed it this way it whould be mistake. If scoretrack card is in right-down corner in FRONT, it should be in left-down corner in BACK.


Hummm, you are right . I have never printed in the same sheet. I have always printed in separate sheets, then I cut and use sleeves.... That is why this problem never happened to me...
 
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★I FIX THIS!★
back:
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Well, thank you. But I cannot change anything in the game at this point.

The deadline for corrections was on 15 April 2017...
 
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For those interested (if any), I created an entry for Cube Words in the BGG database

Cube Words

And I posted something like a "designer diary", although I´m no designer and it was not a diary.

Cube Words "Designer Diary"

Peace!
 
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