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Word Gin Rummy with open hands

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ACG
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I was toying around with variations for Junkyard Wars and one somehow morphed into the following completely independent card game -- one which seems to play very well with people I've tried it on.

Imagine gin rummy with cards with letters on them. 2-8 players can play, and they have hands of 8 letters which are visible to everyone. The goal is to form one of two words using the normal gin rummy routines. Depending on the difficulty of finding the letters (and the fact that in some cases double letters give the word away), some of the words are worth more points than others.

The catch? The hands are open (so you can see what they're holding). Furthermore, the ENTIRE word list (there's a deck of 70 words) can be consulted at any time by any player. As you get close to forming words, an astute opponent can figure out what you're trying to make if you're not careful ("that guy has two R's: which of the 70 words have two R's in them?") and start hoarding the stuff you need (forcing you to trade with him). But there are so many options even when you're one away that blocking everything (from the opponent's perspective) will prevent him from making his own words.

It's basically a Scrabble distribution, some digraph cards (I've mentioned these earlier), and a few Special Action Cards: Reverse (3+ players only), Reseat (rearrange the seating order randomly: 4+ players only), Reshuffle (the discard pile onto the draw pile), and Forced Trade (basically swap a letter with your opponent whether he likes it or not). I'm tempted to add a couple of Word Exchange cards which let you throw out one of your two words and get another (useful if an opponent has lucked out and managed to block you and you don't have Forced Trade in your hand).

It's a very interesting game, and a much more mass-market game than Junkyard Wars.

The goal is to get 300 points (lots of hard words, many easy words, etc.)

What do you think?

Finally -- where can I get a deck of prototype cards? I want to make a bunch of cards with letters ands on them.

ACG

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: Word Gin Rummy with open hands

ACG wrote:
The catch? The hands are open (so you can see what they're holding). Furthermore, the ENTIRE word list (there's a deck of 70 words) can be consulted at any time by any player. As you get close to forming words, an astute opponent can figure out what you're trying to make if you're not careful ("that guy has two R's: which of the 70 words have two R's in them?")

I suspect this may end up being rather frustrating for players. Word games are supposed to be about creatively assembling a bunch of random letters to make actual words; like solving the jumble in the newspaper, basically. Restricting this to 70 words, arbitrarily chosen, would not only remove this aspect, but would force players to spend much of the game hunched over the word list..."Ok, I can almost spell 'dilute' -- is that a valid word in this game?" or "Hey, it looks like Joe is working on 'frankly' -- can he score for that?"

Of course, it might be easier after you've played a few times and memorize the list, and one advantage is of course that the player with the best vocabularly won't automatically win. But after you've played a few times and know all the words, will it still be enjoyable to play?

I'm not sure. I haven't played a ton of word games so I couldn't comment on whether this is in line with what lovers of such games would be looking for. I fear it might feel a bit too scripted, but I could be wrong. Is the word list really essential to the concept?

-Jeff

FateTriarrii
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Joined: 01/04/2009
Word Rummy

Now, this is just my impression, but it looks like he means that you get dealt two words you have to spell. and the first player to do that would win, but that doesn't sound like rummy...

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