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[personal profile] eclectic_boy
Last night Ethan had a bunch of friends over, and I took part in my first game of Summoners' Scrabble; hopefully it won't be the last. The game was invented by Psi Phi's co-president-with-a-natural-19-charisma, Books Schwartz. It's Scrabble with a bit of Magic: The Gathering and more than a bit of free-form storytelling.

The first person to play must put down a word that the group agree is a type of monster; they have summoned it, and its hit points at the end of the game will count towards the summoner's score. The hit points with which the monster begins is its score in Scrabble (normally calculated: tile values, Double Word Scores, etc).

From then on, players may summon their own monsters, or play attacks on existing monsters: these are nouns, verbs, or adjectives that could arguably sap the strength of a specified monster, and that words score comes off the hit points of said monster. Once a monster drops below zero it's dead and can't be attacked, but its negative hit points count against its owner's score. Each player may have as many monsters in play at a time as wished, and you can also cast powerups on your monster, just like attacks but with words that arguably increase said monster's strength.

We also evolved a house rule about stealing control of a monster by turning its word into a new word; it's very much a Maximum Fun Quotient game, so such variations are to be encouraged.

Sample game: Player 1 puts down ENT on the central double word score; it has 6 HP. The next player puts down IGER off the 'T' to summon a tiger. The next player builds AXE off the E, taking an axe to the ent and reducing its HP to -4, killing it. Player 1's turn again; she summons a CRAB off the R, which has 11 HP; her score is now 11 - 4 = 7. Play until out of tiles. We found it to be more fun to allow acronyms; in our game the JOCK was hit with a DUI and the AI suffered an IP attack...

Date: 2011-09-04 05:25 pm (UTC)
ext_12719: black and white engraving of a person who looks sort of like me (Default)
From: [identity profile] gannet.livejournal.com
...that might actually interest me in playing Scrabble again (I've had a somewhat irrational dislike for the game for about twenty years now).

Date: 2011-09-04 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
Do you like bananagrams?

Date: 2011-09-04 06:14 pm (UTC)
ext_12719: black and white engraving of a person who looks sort of like me (Default)
From: [identity profile] gannet.livejournal.com
I gather it's much the same as Syzygy? (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/5870/syzygy) Yes.

Though there's an MFQ version I like that i don't have time to describe right now and will come back to do so later.

Date: 2011-09-04 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rose_garden.livejournal.com
Interesting, yes, it does sound like Bananagrams and Syzygy are the same. I heard the creation story of Bananagrams on NPR recently and they didn't mention Syzygy at all.

Date: 2011-09-04 09:53 pm (UTC)
ext_12719: black and white engraving of a person who looks sort of like me (Default)
From: [identity profile] gannet.livejournal.com
Basically all word games except Scrabble are fine with me.

Scrabble was ruined for me when my father and his then-sweetie were playing it competitively and were ignoring MFQ for other players (I didn't know the term at the time, but that was essentially the problem).

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