A Gift For The Gifted

Peter Roizen, the creator of the WildWords Crossword Board Game, thinks it's time for something new.

"These days everything is for dummies or complete idiots," says Roizen. "Isn't it time someone created a product for people who enjoy using their brains?"

In Roizen's case, he revamped the game of Scrabble(R). He introduced wild tiles marked with an asterisk that could represent one or more letters in a series, so the play of "QUA*IST" could be the word "QUARTERFINALIST". The asterisk tile can represent all the letters in the middle of the word which makes any word in English playable. He added wild squares that convert regular tiles into wild tiles to heighten strategy. And, he added the bluff so a play by one player becomes a puzzle for opponents.

According to Roizen, "Scrabble(R) is mastered by filling your head with letter series from the Official Scrabble Dictionary. These are short, odd words nobody uses. It's a waste of brain-space. WildWords is about a complete vocabulary and creative skills."

"Scrabble(R) has ruled for over 50 years," says Roizen, "but it's an emperor with no clothes. What are children going to learn by playing words like 'CAT' and 'RAIN' over and over again. The educational value is pretty limited. I played Scrabble for forty years, and I can't think of a useful word I learned from an opponent."

Introduced as a physical board game two years ago, sales have recently topped 2,000. Roizen is looking forward to the Christmas season when board game sales take off. He often hawks his games at street fairs and in bookstores.

"When people know what WildWords is about, they buy it. But few people know about it outside the San Francisco Bay Area where most of our sales come from," adds Roizen.

"I enjoy doing direct sales. There's always a laugh to be had," adds Roizen.

"The other day I pointed out the play of 'DISCOMBOBULATING' on a sample board to a nine year-old, and he said he knew what the word meant. I asked him for a definition.

"The kid said, 'it means to remove all the organs from a human body.'

"I said, 'that's a very serious form of discombobulation, but the word you might be thinking of is disembowel.'"



   Copyright 2005 Peter Roizen