This past weekend I attended Protospiel Minnesota and had a chance to play my game Word Nerds with a game publisher and word game fan. He enjoyed the game but had a couple of interesting suggestions. One suggestion I think I will definitely take and the other I still need to think about.
The first suggestion and one that I plan to implement as soon as possible is the idea that not all cards for a letter need to have the same score. For example, while all cards with the letter A currently score 1 point, there is no reason why some As can’t score 2 or even 3 points. If a card auction features cards with the same letter but different scores, bidding and choosing can get a lot more interesting. Getting a 3 point E instead of a 1 point E could make the difference between having winning and losing a trump battle.
The second suggestion, the one I need to think about, is to eliminate bidding altogether. In a non-bidding version of Word Nerds, instead of bidding then selecting letters in order from high bidder to low bidder, players would simply select letters in order starting from the First Player and proceeding clockwise. The First Player card would then rotate clockwise to the next player. In the Purchase Phase, players would simply have the choice of either drawing a letter card or an action card. While I admit that this would create a faster game, bidding for cards is the idea around which Word Nerds has been developed and I am not sure that I want to discard it. I suspect the only way I’ll be able to tell is to actually test it out.