On the recent trip down to the Blue Mountains I played a great many games. I was badly beaten at Maharaja, Mu, Expedition, and more. They were all games I didn't really get into, couldn't concentrate on, and played badly at. We also played a couple of word games - Milleranagrams and Knizia's My Word! In those I played much better... in fact everyone conceded they were playing for second place. I was grateful that I was able redeem myself and prove that I was good at some games, at least, but it's a little disturbing that most word games I play aren't even a close contest. It makes it difficult to get opponents.
Here are some other word games I play and my thoughts on them:
Scrabble - I like playing this, and in the only game I've played recently other than at Scrabble club Mrs CyberKev beat me. The Scrabble club is a source of people who are good at word games, but how many 70 year old ladies will come out for a games meeting?
Milleranagrams - I may own the only copy of this existing in the world. I think it's an Australian thing, and my mum bought it in the 70s. The rules are somewhat vague, having been written by a crazy professor, but you can make enough sense of them to play a decent game. If you've ever played Snatch, it's like that with turns.
Snatch - Scrabblette recently bought a copy of this which we played last night, and that's what got me thinking about word games this time. In games where you steal words from other players, I do that all the time. Thank you Scrabblette for not stabbing me in my sleep.
Man Bites Dog - A game of making newspaper headlines. I thought it desperately needed some house rules to make it interesting, but the kids didn't mind playing it.
Scrabble Card Game - I previously blogged about playing this. It's a decent substitute for Scrabble but I'd like to play it again before I make any definitive statements about it. Scrabblette got badly screwed by the random distribution of the bonus cards.
Lexicon - An anagramming game where you can be screwed by bad hands of cards which evens it up a little. I think Scrabblette won this when we played with the CyberKevs. It moves a bit slow for me - I can tell when there's just not a word to be had, and then I have to wait for my turn.
Pass the Bomb - A quick thinking game where you have to think of a new word following some pattern while passing a bomb around. Whoever's left holding the bomb when it goes off loses a point. It works OK but with a group of good players it's all luck. I gave a copy to my sister for Christmas and we played with the kids which was pretty funny as they made up words and tried to fob the bomb off to the next person.
My Word! - The Knizia game where cards are laid on the table and people call out words made from 3 or more of the cards. When CyberKev was doing the card-laying he went quite fast which made the game fairly chaotic. I don't really like the rule that if you call out a wrong word everyone else gets a card, but I can't see a better alternative.
Wordigo - Wordigo is a strange multiplayer solitaire word game where players compete to lay words along individual tracks. I had a solitaire game which presented some difficulty. I'll have to try it again, I don't remember so much about it. Heck, that was before Christmas that I played that!
Smart Mouth - Smart Mouth comes with a cute little gadget that spits out two letters - one that starts the word and one that ends the word. First person to say a valid word scores. The trouble with this game is that after you play it a few times you know words for the 400-odd combinations it can throw at you, and if you can spout them out in half a second you won't be beaten. The words you need to remember are NAWAB and MEMSAHIB.
Boggle - I feel like I don't play this very well, but the time I played against the kid and his mum they vowed to never play against me again. I have an electronic version in the glovebox of the car but I probably shouldn't play it at traffic lights.
Acronymia (unplayed) - An acronym making game. I haven't even unwrapped it yet so I don't know whether it should be on this list.
My Word (unplayed) - Received in a trade from OzVortex. It looks like Carcassonne with letters instead of towns and roads.
Super Sentence Cube Game (unplayed) - I have a suspicion that this game is totally broken. It contains things that aren't words, and the bits are falling apart. Maybe I should play it with my nephew, who can't read anyway.
WildWords (unplayed) - A Scrabble variant with wilcard tiles and negative points for playing on some spaces. Looks pretty chaotic, I hope it works OK.
Word Tower (unplayed) - I like the look of this - you encode a word as a series of coloured disks and the other players try to find a word that matches. I haven't found anyone else interested in it at all.