AND ITS INVENTOR,
There’s a smarter
new kid in town!"
75 years ago, the Scrabble board game hit the market with a tiny fizzle.
But by the 1960s it had become the best-selling tabletop word game in
history. Its sales still sizzle.
America of 1938, when Scrabble was invented, there were only 29 million
high school grads, including 5 million who had finished college. A good
cup of coffee was 5¢.
255 million possess high school diplomas. 87 million of them have a
baccalaureate or higher degree. Many now pay a hundred times as much
($5) for a coffee.
how times have changed! Electronic communications are light years beyond
the chalkboards, blue-lined writing paper and print media of that bygone
era. Today, the best jobs require keyboard skills and a high degree of
literacy. Those who choose the right words and ways of saying them are
even more highly respected and in demand than ever.
why inveterate (and hard-to-beat) Scrabble player Dan Cook decided it
was time to bring forth his idea for WordWile — which he says is, "A
much smarter and more educational game, full of intriguing nuances for
today’s demanding, less easily amused people. One in which the object is
not to struggle trying to make a word of some kind, but,
from the many possibilities before them, to choose the best
‘wily word’ which will score bonuses. Players use their wiles to
make higher scoring words — while hopefully thwarting others from doing
so — hence the name WordWile."
explained." I’ve seen both kids and adult Scrabble players sorely
discouraged by letter draws like Q-M-H-B-G-D-V or A-I-E-E-O-O-U.
Children especially, lose interest when nearly unplayable letters like
that make them non-competitive. But for the sake of other players, one
can’t just concede — has to suffer on in boredom until the game’s end.
adult-level games, WordWile players can form up to 200,000 words, which
is 16% (32,000) more than Scrabble’s vocabulary limit. With 98 letter
tiles plus 52 possible letters using its two "wild" tiles, Scrabble has
only 150 letter options. WordWile provides 1260 possible letters on 100
cubes. A quantum leap in word-making possibilities.
Wordwile comes with a luxurious velvet drawstring pouch which holds the
cubes. Players draw straight from it. No clumsy turning or mixing.
WordWilers always have before them, at least eight vowels and about
forty consonants. That gives players the chance to make a ‘wily word’
almost every time — even in the face of opponents’ counter-strategies.
And the basic scoring is a lot simpler. Each letter is one point — no
distracting red, pink and two shades of blue-square multipliers then
various add-ups. Nor are great plays prevented because they would run
off the board. Like dominoes, the tabletop, floor, beach, wherever — is
WordWile’s gaming area limit.
"Scrabble is all about vocabulary and spelling. Well, those are just the
starting points for WordWile. It’s the usage of the wily words
played that allows one to run up bonus score. "
Cook speaks of "wily words," he’s talking about WordWile’s
stimulating challenge to score bonus points based on word formation. The
simplest "wily" play is to use all of one’s cubes. The number of letters
in the word is multiplied by 2. In adult play, 8 letters are drawn so
that’s 16. Then the fun escalates.
a "wily word" that RHYMES with one already played scores the number of
letters played x3. A SYNONYM or ANTONYM scores x4.
up the bonus scale are HOMONYMS or HOMOPHONES, which are words that
sound the same but spell differently — ie. pair / pare / pear, for
example. They automatically rhyme so there is no bonus for that. Instead
they receive x6.
more rare are PALINDROMES (words that spell the same forward or backward
such as radar) or EMORDNILAPS (words that, spelled backward, form a
different word, such as stressed / desserts) They score x 8. (And if you
use all 8 letters to make a RHYME, SYNONYM, etc, add another x2.)
takes a bit of spatial thinking and cube-twisting to score x 10 with a
THREE DIMENSIONAL word. This is a play that forms one word on the facets
facing up and another on one side of the same cubes.
Complicated? No. After a couple of games, most remember all the wily
plays — and a handy reminder card comes with each WordWile.
As for counter-strategies, one player might put ORANGE on the table
because nothing rhymes (x3) with it, but another might outsmart that
by making one of its color synonyms (x4), TANGERINE.
to come up with such bonus plays in three minutes — doesn’t that sound
like fun? Once it’s a player’s turn, that’s the time limit to make a
play. In an actual game, one usually has longer because others are
taking their turns.
Scrabble has proven to four generations of children that making old, and
learning new words, can be fun. Now, WordWile takes enjoyable personal
improvement to a whole new level.
day, at work and socially, being able to communicate effectively and
clearly becomes more important. Extensive vocabulary, correct usage and
spelling can be the difference between respect or disdain, success or
computers have spell-checkers, but they make no difference between vise
(a clamp) / vice (immorality); rack (a shelf) / wrack (torment); winch
(a cable puller) / wench (young woman), and on and on. Misuse diminishes
the readers’ opinion of a supposedly well-educated document writer’s
professionalism, regardless of their field.
Besides writers and word mavens, WordWile is especially of pleasurable
and practical use to teachers, librarians, involved parents, crossword,
Wheel of Fortune®
and spelling bee enthusiasts.
Language students? Certainly. The WordWile rule booklet is in English,
German and Spanish, the latter two being rooted in ancient Gothic and
Latin, two prime precursors of modern English.
can be played in most any language that’s based on the Latin alphabet,"
Cook said," With so many letters available, specialized groups of
players can create their own versions using only medical, legal or other
profession-specific words. Religion-based games are also possible. At a
baby shower, guests can draw cubes and form suggested baby names using
what they have, often with hilarious results.
"WordWile is a worthwhile way to entertain your family and friends,"
Cook continued," Years of versatile, exciting, intellectually
stimulating, competitive fun together for less than the price of one
cheap seat at a third-rate event."