Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just Don't Say A Word...

Recently we have been bringing a truly insane game to the table more and more often with our friends. Perhaps we should not expose them to such madness for fear of what it might do to them. Perhaps it was our own madness drove us to do such a thing. No matter for now we must tell the world of that which is... unspeakable.

Unspeakable Words
published by Playroom Entertainment

Unspeakable Words is kind of like Scrabble in some ways and like Boggle in other ways. Basically you have a hand of seven letter cards that you use to make words which are worth a number of points depending on which letters you use. Oh and you also have to roll to see if you go insane. Yes that's right, we are talking about Scrabble with a Lovecraftian twist.

The inspiration for this game comes from Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos as you are a researcher trying to find those words which man was not meant to speak. The hounds of Tindalos are coming for you as you seek but you have totems which will protect you... for a time.

In this game you are using the cards in your hand to try to makes words which are worth a number of points depending on how many angles are in the various letters. For example, an O is worth nothing while an A will get you 5 points each. To win the game you have to be the first player to reach 100 points... and still be sane. Each time you play a word, you score the value of the word and then you need to roll a sanity check on a d20. If you roll equal to or higher than the value of the number then everything is fine. If you roll less than the value then your grip on reality is starting to slip and you need to sacrifice one of your totems to remain sane. You still score the points but you are one step closer to losing your grip on reality and the game. The only exception to this is when you are scoring the winning word. For this one you have to pass you sanity check or you don't get the points which adds a nice bit of tension to the game. Your about to win but you have to make sure that you can make the die roll or else it will all be for naught and you'll have to try again next turn.

There are also a few optional rules which add even more Lovecraftian feel to the game such as the Unspellable Oath or Psychotherapy. The Oath lets you play any combination of letters when you only have one totem left (its amazing what crazy people say...) while Psychotherapy lets you discard your had to try to earn back a totem.

Overall I really can't recommend this game enough. The game play is fast and fun, the components are really nicely made, and its even still in print! That's right folks, I actually talked about something you can go pick up without spending a small fortune. So go check it out... but be careful what you say...

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