Revenge On The Scrabble Nerds

"Revenge!" That's what Peter Roizen, inventor of the WildWords Crossword Game, says motivates many to buy his game.

"People are tired of being beaten at Scrabble(r) by poorer spellers, players with weaker vocabularies, and players with less strategic sense and imagination. They're sick of words like 'ENG' or 'AI' or 'OGAM' from the Official Scrabble Dictionary. They want to play real English."

In WildWords, a dozen wild asterisk tiles and any tile played on one of 20 Turn-To-Wild squares may be used to represent any series of one or more letters. Thus a play of "JUX[*]ION" could be the word "JUXTAPOSITION" with the asterisk representing the string of missing letters in the middle of the word. Once played, an asterisk on the board may be given new letter-string meanings in a subsequent play.

"The advantage is shifted to the most creative player with a good working vocabulary," according to Roizen who adds that "memorizing lists is largely useless."

In addition, players do not divulge the word or words they have in mind unless an opponent risks a challenge. Roizen admits he enjoys the occasional bluff, and relies on the technique when he falls behind in a game. He claims an unbeaten record against serious Scrabble players trying the game for the first time.

"For them, it's downright 'discombobulating' which is a word I played once" he adds. He advises revenge seekers to practice the game a few times before introducing it to their adversary.

In over 500 games, Roizen claims to have seen no more than a handful of words played more than once. The game's rules also permit a player to trade all their letters at the start of each turn without losing their turn.

"Heck," says Roizen, "let's give people a chance to have some fun and play some cool words. Many of my plays are words I know but have probably never spoken or written."

At a recent street fair where Roizen sometimes sells games, one woman who was tired of being shellacked by her mother, an Official Scrabble Dictionary aficionado, bought a copy of WildWords to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Roizen says he cautioned her that "the game could drive your mom crazy."

"That's exactly what I am hoping," was her response.

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   Copyright 2005 Peter Roizen