This is not one of my original games -
it's too old and well-known for that - but I include it partly because I think
my scoring system is an improvement, and partly because it is currently produced
by in Australia as an online game under the name
. Alan Walker, the site's webmaster, reports that something
similar was produced by the Seven Network in Perth in the early 1980s as a TV
game show called "$50,000 Letterbox".
- You each take a separate sheet of paper and draw a grid of 5 x 5 = 25
- To enter into your grid letters of the alphabet, as and when they are
called out, in such a way as to make as many words as possible, either
horizontally from left to right, or vertically from top to bottom.
- Each player in turn calls out any letter of the alphabet they choose, and
everyone writes that letter into any blank square in his or her grid. This
continues until 24 squares have been filled. Each player is then free to enter
any letter of their own choice into whichever space they have left blank.
- For each three-letter word you score 3 points, for each four-letter word
4 points, and for each five-letter word 10 points, making a (highly theoretical)
maximum possible of 100 points. Two-letter words don't count.
What gives this game its bite is the feature of scoring for overlapping words.
Each and every word you make scores separately, even if one or more of its
letters are shared with adjacent words. The only restriction is that you
may not score for a shorter word that is entirely contained within a longer.
Here's an example -
This scores a total of 53, made up as follows:
Row 1: COB 3, BAR 3, total 6
Row 2: SPA 3, PAN 3,
ANY 3, total 9
Row 3: CANTO 10
Row 4: BLIP 4
Row 5: VEX 3
Col 1: no score
Col 2: OPAL 4, PALE 4, total 8
Col 3: BAN 3, NIX 3, total 6
Col 4: ANT 3
Col 5: YOWL 4
Note that Row 2 could be scored as 4 for SPAN and
3 for ANY, but this counts only 7 as opposed to the
superior three-way split for 9 points. Note also that column 5 yields only
4 for YOWL, and not an additional 3 for
OWL as it is completely contained within the longer
word - as also is the non-scorable PAL in column 2.