Length X Wit: A Word Smithy Game
After having backed the Kickstarter Campaign for Dice Empire, designed and created by a local Pacific NW company, Tinderbox Entertainment, and thoroughly enjoying the magnificent dice I received from my investment, I was happy to jump on board their newest go at a full fledged game. This unique little gem was Length X Wit ,designed by Dave Myers. Now, usually I wouldn’t feel too drawn to a word smithy game. I’ve had my time with Scrabble and the likes and I have to admit it usually doesn’t go well for me. I’m not always great with the words. I’ve been known to lean pretty strongly on my spell checker. You might be saying “but Stefan, you write these little bits on your website and they seem to be pretty well comprehensible”. Well, thank you, I’m glad you may think that but without my spell checker crutch I’m sure most of you would think that all of my entries on this site were really just a cat walking in circles on a keyboard trying to find a nice place to nap. This small fact alone would typically turn me away from considering adding a word game to my shelf, but this one has just enough of a twist that even a cacographer (yes, I had to look that up too) like myself can believe he can hold his own against his gaming opponents.
The element of push-your-luck is a key component to the game play. The game play itself is pretty straight forward:
- Everyone gets 4 letter tiles placed in front of them for all to see (each with have different point values).
- The active player draws up to 9 tiles then draws and rolls one letter die.
- A word crafting attempt is made.
- If you fail you look down at the table sadly, then look up with eyes searching for pity then slowly slide the bags of letter dice and tiles to the next active player
- If you make a word you can either bank the points for the word or (The Twist!) bank the score from just the tiles and draw another die from the bag and roll all your dice in the grand attempt to craft yet another word but now with fewer tiles to use and you MUST use all the dice! INTENSE! you can then you this letter die drawing again and again. RISKY!
- If you fail at any time you collect all your banked points but if you succeed at you word creation and stop you add all your banked tile points then add the points from your dice/tiles crafted final word then multiple that final word value by the number of dice you used. C-C-C-Combo!
- when you’re done, you pass your dice you stopped with to each player and they can attempt to use their remaining tiles and all those dice to craft a word and bank a score based on solely the numbers added from the used tiles and dice.
- Slide the bags to the next player and wash rinse repeat until someone reaches 150 points.
There are a few other nifty rules that help you get out of a rut like mulligans if you have no tile vowels, all your tiles add up to 25 points (all Q’s, J’s, two W’s and a Z…. grrrrrr) or spend a vowel tile to re-roll your current dice.
This press your luck mechanic adds a bit of strategy that I normally don’t see in this type of game. Do I want to go for a couple of long words then keep it safe? Should I go for the more complicated words to score big with larger point value letters but keep my dice count lower? How about I spell a couple of simple words (it, add, fun) and get my dice count higher for a better multiplier score without draining too many of my tile options?Each turn brings a different plan of attack.
A word smithy game that can be won by a spelling bee’s mega brain, a careful strategist or a dash a good luck? Sign me up!
Unless you are a spelling bee champion and you want to play a round with me..sure, I’m game. I’ll sit back at watch an opponents score grow to levels I’ve never seen, sit back starring at my tiles wondering if the word “ladle” is ladel or was it laddle no..ladle..nooooo that doesn’t look right..does it? then I’ll got back to the kids table to play some tic-tac-toe against myself until I feel confident for another match.
The game is quick to pickup and I recommend you pick it up too. The rules fit on two little cards with a great little graphic cheat sheet guide. The laser cut components are clean and great quality. The designer for this game really outdid themselves. The game play is solid, interactive and engaging without the expected downtime since your always trying to ponder what you can do with your opponents dice while trying not to get too distracted getting caught up trying to think of a perfect word using their letters then making that ooooooooohhh sound when you’ve spotted something they haven’t seen yet.