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.'"