What is Word Nerds?

rjcurrie Word Nerds

For the past several months, I have been working on my very first game design ,Word Nerds. Word Nerds is a word game that features strategic elements. The idea is to actually have to make meaningful decisions as you try to form high scoring words.

Elements that encourage this are:

  • Card auctions where players bid to determine in what order they select letter cards from the available face up cards.
  • Action cards that let you affect hand contents, word values, bids, and more.
  • The ability to trump other players’ words with your own higher scoring words.

Word Nerds, as it exists today, is a very different game than when I started out. It is a much better game.  And that’s primarily because of playtesters.  My playtesters not only pointed out problems in the design but also gave me ideas on how to fix it.  Or at the very least, their comments led me down a path to the fix. And as I continue to test the game, I’m sure that playtesters will continue to both pinpoint problems and suggest solutions.

That’s enough for now. I just wanted to give you all a sense of what Word Nerds was about.  In future posts, I’ll talk about how my blind playtest is going, talk about the physical prototypes for that playtest, look back at how the game got to where it is today, discuss my thoughts on whether to sell it to a publisher or to publish it myself, and so on.

To Bid or Not To Bid?

rjcurrie Word Nerds

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.

Word Nerds featured on The Nerd Nighters YouTube show

rjcurrie Word Nerds

Well, not really.  But a copy of the game was in plain sight beside co-host J.R. Honeycutt throughout the January 13, 2016 episode. J.R. had the game out because just the night before he had run  a blind playtest of the game for me. Thanks J.R.


My Word Nerds Prototypes

rjcurrie Word Nerds

As I have mentioned elsewhere, I have entered the blind playtesting phase of development on my game Word Nerds. To aid in this endeavor, I had a few physical prototypes manufactured by Print & Play Games for selected and I just thought I would share some photos of them with you today.

First, there are the cards: 100 letter cards, 54 action cards, 6 player info cards, and 1 First Player card. Here’s how they turned out:

Picture of Word Nerd cards.

Next are the tokens (0-7) for each of the six players:

Picture of tokens

And because it’s handy to keep your unused tokens face up but out of the sight of your opponents, here are the screens to hide them behind (again, one for each player):

Picture of screens.

Scoring in Word Nerds is tracked on the Score Tracker so everybody can easily see where they currently stand. Here’s the one from the prototype:

Picture of Score Tracker

Next up is the rulebook.  Below is a picture of the book and you can find a PDF version here.

Word Nerds rulebook


And finally, there’s the box:

Word Nerds box

Overall, I think it turned out pretty well.

Word Nerds Blind Playtest

rjcurrie News, Word Nerds

I am now entering blind playtesting on Word Nerds and in addition to physical prototypes of the game, I have decided to make a print and play version available as well for playtesting.

What is a blind playtest? It’s a playtest where the players learn and play the game solely from the rulebook. It’s great, not only for making sure that the rulebook is in good shape, but also for fine tuning the game.

What is print and play? Print and play versions of games that you can print out on your own printer and play. More information about print and play games can be found here.

Below is a summary of the contents of the print and play version along with a button for downloading it. Following that is a feedback forum that anyone who has playtested  Word Nerds can use to let me know how your playtest sessions went and what you think of the game.

Note: The Word Nerds blind playtest is over. The print and play version that was attached here is no longer available. It was a very old version. Future posts should clarify the current state of this game.