No. of Players: 2-4
Playtime: 15-40 minutes
Designer: CK Leach
Artist: CK Leach
Mechanisms: Word Game Engine, Spelling
Expansion: Junior (Education Edition)
A vocabulary game that tests your ability to build words with word fragments in a short period of time. In a deck of 90, 3 cards with 3 fragments are flipped face up on the table. Every player now has 45 seconds to try and spell as many words as they can by using the the fragments shown. A deck of card with 3 word fragments is shuffled and each player is dealt 5 cards. Then the top card on the deck is turned face up. Both players now use the fragments in their hand, along with the help of the single card fragment on the table, to spell words. The more words you can spell with you hand, the more points you are awarded. Once the round is done, points are tallied and they played cards are moved to a trash pile. Each player then replenishes their hand back to 5 cards and another card is turned face up. Repeat.
It all started with a goal; create a game that allows one to score using rows of number. That was the idea behind the draft anyway, but it soon turned into a vocabulary game. Replacing the numbers with letters proved to work along the same lines as the original goal. Now, instead of creating custom rows of numbers that followed some sequence or mathematical result, it was about spelling words.
In theory, it was a dandy idea. In reality, the play testing showed more of a rigid experience, only allowing for minimal words to be spelled. Also, it took more cards in hand to spell the type of words worth scoring. In the end, my wife went to bed tired and I sat there infuriated at the fact that this keen idea just fell apart. I was none to pleased.
The next day, I was still banging my head against the proverbial wall trying to sort out what I was missing. I couldn’t. I need to step away from it for a while and come back to it later. Surprisingly enough, that night was when the epiphany hit me. It came to me in a dream – NUPUGA was the birth child of a dream – I woke up the next morning and had an idea. How about we remove the cards in hand and place 3 cards face up instead. Using the cards facing up, each player has to spell as many words as possible. The catch was;
- You can only use the letter fragment once to score
- You have 15 seconds to do it
- For every letter fragment used, you add. For every letter added, you subtract
This was the birth of something goooood. I play tested the idea with a countdown timer on my phone and some printouts. It was obviously apparent that 15 seconds was not nearly enough time to visualize, formulate and scribe more than 2 words… if that. It takes a good 5-10 seconds just the threat multiple fragments together. So I made adjustments;
- You have 30 seconds to make words
- You cannot break up fragments or use a portion of the letters (must be used in it’s entirety)
- Created a buy-a-letter system that invites a gamble and reward scenario
In the end, the game worked out great. I figured I had a bust coming off that disappointing reality during the first play test, but now everyone who’s played it loves it. Word gamers and average gamers alike have given nothing but praise to the idea. It’s far enough from Scrabble and Boggle/Word Search for it to stand alone, yet borrows elements from standard word games so it’s not so abstract. I am currently in the design phase of the game and below are 3 variations of the final design.