A blog for fans of Bananagrams, word games, puzzles, and amazing things

Friday, September 24, 2010

Scramble: Part word game, part scavenger hunt, part Easter egg hunt

If you travelled back in time to the 2010 ARGfest in Atlanta (a conference for Alternate Reality Game designers and fans), you could have played in an original mutated word game called Scramble, masterminded by ARG designer Brooke Thompson.
Large letters have been scattered around the park and it is your job to find one. Once you do, you've got to find enough other people who have found letters so that you can form a word... a real word... not just one of those made up ones... well, not unless you can convince the Word Master that it’s a real one. Once you've gathered a word, head to the Word Master. Simple, right?

Not so much! Like Scrabble, each letter is worth a certain number of points... do you keep that Z you found or trade it in for an E? How many words, real words, can you spell with your letters? How many little tasks you were able to compete on the way? And... how quickly did you get back to the Word Master? Oh yes! It’s a battle between time & creativity. And it’s up to you to win.
Further event details may be found here. The exact rules of the game are not specified, but given that it was an experimental game, I don't think they need to be. The essence of the idea is enough for anyone who wants to try this. It seems like it would be well-suited to a party or also in a classroom, as it is the kind of challenge that also has educational value and teaches kids how to work together and think creatively.

I'd probably modify the game to make it more Bananagrams-like, requiring each group to form a single grid, and getting points for each word that they also can find a physical example of. Even I would like to play in that game!

I found a blog posting from someone who played in this game who writes:
The game was called Scramble, and the letters were valued like Scrabble tiles, the goal being to grab a group of people and get good letters to maximize your Scrabble score with them. Given that you could get credit for multiple words with the same letters, I picked up pretty quickly that the thing to do was to get 4-5 people, nab some good letters, and make lots of anagrams. You also got a double score for taking a picture of your word with an example of the word. My team went for C-O-D-E-S (and coeds, decos, and edocs), got pictures for all our words, and totally stomped on the other team, who only had one word, even though it was longer.
High marks to that team for devising a winning strategy on the fly, though if I were Word Master, I would have given the thumbs-down to the dubious "decos" and the hideous "edocs". A few more words like that, and I might think this was part of the ARGHfest.