Warning: This is not a game for those who want to chat, eat chips, relax, and WIN !
About 250 of 5,500 games remain.
The internet version is free.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Roizen       https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T/Maker

The Bottom Line: More Words. More Game. More Fun. And, No Homework.

Email Contact: roizen (at) ix.netcom(dot)com   

A BroadBrain Word Game

What a difference a new board, new tiles, and new rules can make.
Escape the childish
playground of Scrabble words for the every-word-you-know universe of WildWords.
This is a game of creative thinking across a complete vocabulary--something no other word game has ever been.

Summary of Changes: A dozen asterisk wild tiles can represent any sequence of one or more letters. They have no point value but they sure help in finding 7-tile plays. 20 yellow turn-to-wild squares (about 8 get used) convert (flip) regular tiles into wild tiles and add the opportunity to use an awkward tile for something better. Wild tile functionality and turn-to-wild squares are part and parcel of a game of WildWords. Neither the tile nor the square nor the wildness rule exists in Scrabble, so there is no way in Scrabble to think bigger or better than the letters in your tray.

It is not necessary to consider previous plays. Use a wild tile or converted tile already on the board for a new purpose in your play. You just have to defend what you play, when you play it, and only if your opponent risks a challenge. A timely bluff is a part of WildWords. The scoring system is similar to Scrabble with bonus squares. However, the 40 point bonus for 7-tile plays is a major factor in winning games. Four penalty squares diminish the advantage of going first and penalize the use of two wild squares. You may dump all (not some) of your tiles in the bag, mix, and draw a complete fresh set at the start of your turn without losing the turn. That also makes for interesting decisions leading to moments of joy and regret.

Note: We also play cards in our family and have modified the card game "Oh Hell" to be something we think is a lot more fun.

Watch one sample game to see that WildWords is to Scrabble, like chess* is to checkers.
*Unlike chess, there are no fixed openings and you can recover from a bad play. Each game is unique.
I only did this once. This is not a specially prepared demo.
I think the variety of words played is below average (try the link below for something better).

Internet version used for ease of demonstration. Turn sound ON.

Here's a board with more satisfying words from the download page.
 Got a touch screen? Fun! This video demonstrates a dictionary lookup as well in 60 seconds!

Board Game Order Page for those in a hurry!

Dear Visitor:

WildWords is the Combination Deluxe Pizza of word games. It offers the richest plate of possibilities, decisions, and consequences. No word game has ever been so friendly to all words and so open to your imagination.

That same old, same old Scrabble (or Words With Friends) play of one high point letter and a few other tiles is a bottom-feeder in WildWords. And memorizing lists of silly short words offers no significant advantage. WildWords is not driven by low expectations. There are big fish to fry.

The focus in WildWords is on high-scoring plays that use all seven tiles to form words with seven or even seventeen letters. You'll play words never seen on a Scrabble board in over a billion games. Even beginners do it. New tiles, board squares, and rules have changed the dynamics for every turn and skill level.

I put WildWords together for family purposes. I did not start with grand intentions. My goal was simply to level the playing field with nieces and nephews who won games aided by official Scrabble words like QAT or ZA or MM. (Curiously, Official Scrabble does not allow the two-letter word that, for me, best describes this phenomenon--BS.)

So I set out to change things. A new tile distribution with a dozen wild tiles and a new board layout with turn-to-wild squares came first. Then, I awoke one morning at 5 AM with a sense of urgency and the idea that "wild" should mean any sequence of one or more letters and not just a single letter. I admit it sounded weird. But unexplainable inspirations are often more valuable than thoughtful analysis. (Didn't a guy write a best-seller about that?)

So we played and began learning the game. What emerged was a completely new and unexpected world of word play. WildWords brought out new dimensions of strategy and gamesmanship. And it completely rewrote the book of words played with plenty of thrills, challenging situations, and good laughs along the way.

Our annual family championship had always been a decent event, but playing WildWords instead was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. My brother, who wouldn't know whether to kiss a jo (Scottish sweatheart) or an ai (three-toed sloth), won the tournament for the first time. Mission (and so much more) accomplished!

Don't get me wrong. Scrabble is an OK but very limited word game. The notion that it builds or exercises a useful vocabulary after childhood is, however, folklore. Scrabble's flaws became obvious when players started taking it seriously. They could not win with normal English and masterful tactics as Scrabble excludes most words and is not that subtle. So they started learning hundreds (then thousands) of new official words--all short and mostly gibberish. If you want to play to win, you must match your opponent's hours of joyless and useless memorization. Where's the game in that?

Of course, you could also switch to a game with more desirable game qualities. You get better at WildWords by the pleasurable experience of playing it. The wild concept introduces an incredible amount of gaminess beyond Scrabble's anagramming. With AMNINS* as your tray, you could play AN*NISM for antidisestablishmentarianism--the longest word in English when I was a kid. But you don't need a word like that. WildWords includes your complete preexisting vocabulary in theory and in practice. That's tons and tons of words you know but can never use in Scrabble.

WildWords was a freak yet wonderful discovery. As the caretaker of this serendipity, I felt a responsibility to share it outside of my own family. I have done my best to produce a quality product--the tiles and trays are fabulous. And I did try to keep the price as low as possible while targeting break-even, but it has risen a lot over the years. You can easily join over 5,000 families who have made the switch from Scrabble. The adventure begins on the order page (or download page).

Thanks for your time and A*ENTION.

Peter Roizen (roizen at ix.netcom dot com)
Inventor, Publisher, Web Master, and Shipping Clerk

Compare Scrabble:

Statistics about Scrabble are from Word Freak :

  • 2 to 4 letter words account for 75% of the words formed. (This is worse than I thought.)
  • The average Scrabble play adds 3.3 letters to the board.
  • "Watch them jump" is 4.3 letters per word (i.e., the connecting letter included).
  • For every seven tile play in Scrabble, 12.5 short words are played (by experts).
  • Seven tile plays in Scrabble aren't even long words: LOANERS, SANDIEST.
  • The game has very limited overlap with a normal or useful vocabulary.
  • There is too much word déjà vu for regular players--especially with a J, Q, X, and Z.
  • Strategy, in general, is formulaic with many turns leading to your "first impression" play.
  • A typical game is 30 total turns which can become tedious when the board gets blocked up.
  • To be competitive, you need to memorize "official dictionary" words from AAL to ZUZ.
  • For most of us, it's largely an exercise of our preteen vocabulary.
  • The game encourages the wrong stuff.

    The average length, median length, and most common length of a word in a reference dictionary are all around 9 letters. "Strengths" is one syllable yet realistically too long for Scrabble with 9 letters.

To WildWords:

Soaring Eagle

  • Seven tile plays are frequent (75% for good players) and often involve words 10 to 14 letters long.
  • Even shorter plays can be more interesting words: EQ*X for EQUINOX, P*Z for PIZZAZZ.
  • There is always something to think about. Imaginations run wild.
  • The well-disguised bluff adds a twist of poker to some plays.
  • JUX*ION for JUXTAPOSITION, T*Q*ZER for TRANQUILIZER--even high point letters lead to a wide variety of words.
  • Strategy is a much bigger part of the game and can trump a better vocabulary.
  • A typical game is 18 total turns so every play merits attention. It's impossible to deaden the board.
  • Many games are memorable--amazing plays, comebacks, stupid losses too.
  • Every game is fresh with new circumstances, new words, and something learned.
  • You are often surprised by the words you know but have never used.
  • The game encourages attention to colorful words in conversation and in print.

The Opinions Of Others:

I don't know any of the people whose reviews or comments are included below.
Some reviews may have disappeared over time.

My Favorite Exchange With a Customer

The above story (exaggerating slightly) is a Hallmark type fairytale of pre-holiday despair, happenstance, epiphany moments, and a mind-bending journey ending with a reversal of fortunes!

Links to independent reviews:

Comments found on the Web:

"I think that if this game was first, and Scrabble were recently invented and marketed as a 'better WildWords' - that most people would probably just laugh it off." "A wonderful word game! It is similar to Scrabble, but I much prefer Wildwords to Scrabble. The wild tiles and spots open up this game in a way that can just not happen in Scrabble."
"OK. I do not like Scrabble. I love word games. But these ... changes make the game so much more fun and accessible." "My friends who love crossword puzzles love this game leaps and bounds more than they like Scrabble."
"This is way more fun in teams! You can tell your partner your insidious plan that you can't work out, and she can give you something that fits it, and vice versa. Ah, the satisfaction of playing F*Q*Y, and getting a unanimous challenge from every opponent. (FreQuencY was the play)." "I think Scrabble is more for knitters and stamp collectors. WildWords is more for bungee jumpers and skydivers."

Emails from owners with different perspectives:

"My friend gave me WildWords for my birthday, and I must tell you that I love it. As a tournament Scrabble player, I can tell you that I am very picky about variants of our crossword game, but this one is well designed. Kudos!" "Scrabble, schmabble ...

"Thanks for all you have done to make my life way more exciting with long interesting creative words on this board and thinking way outside the box to win. Finally a game where poets and wild thinkers can win, rather than spreadsheet-oriented rule-followers!"
"I adore this game! I'm a pretty serious Scrabbler--not tournament level, but I love the game and take it a mite too seriously. This is a different game entirely. Double and triple words matter, but the real challenge and joy to this game is using all of your tiles. A good player can do this quite often with creative asterisk usage and judicious use of the "tile trade-in" rule. Plus, none of my friends will play Scrabble with me anymore, but they'll try this game. Sometimes they even win!" (comment found at YouTube). "My Mum is a Scrabble addict and adapted to the game quite well. Hopefully I can transform our Scrabble-addicted family to a WildWords-addicted family by next Christmas. I HATE Scrabble and loved this new game for its flexibility."
"It works remarkably well in German but in an ideal world the distribution of letters would be slightly different (of course). The English version is just great & brings out a mischievous streak in people ;-).

"So congratulations on what we think is a brilliant game and much more fun than Scrabble. Hope the game really takes off for you. And thanks again... I'm sure we'll have many many more nights of verbal creativity & laughter with this."
"One thing we like - it's really a crap shoot, and our games are sometimes very close, while other times one of us just slaughters the other. I'm inclined to "bomb" every play I possibly can, where her strategy is denser."
"I wanted to let you know that I purchased WildWords a few months ago. Since that time I have fallen in love with this game! ... I appreciate your work in producing this game. Wild Words is always a joy to play. Thank you for your efforts. " "I love your game. It's fun and outside the box and brilliant. ... , thanks for sharing your great idea with us! "
"This fixes everything wrong with Scrabble." "It's what Scrabble should have been."

Note: I have removed a lot of material from this site (tips, strategies, etc.) . It had grown excessively over time. The truth is the path to playing well is the experience of playing it with an open mind and the belief that there is always a better play if you can find it. There usually is!

Also: I would love to cooperate with a company or individual with the resources and desire to take this game to the general public.

The Board Game Order Page
The Internet Version Download Page
My Favorite Exchange With a Customer

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