Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ONE UP! Our New Word Game Addiction!

It's Wednesday and I started posting a meandering walk through the dictionary, but the other day it occurred to me that it could be fun to share this kind of dictionary-at-the-ready word game Johntimothy and I are playing...quite regularly. A bit of back story first though.  We're not television watchers at all and in fact, our big screen (well, quasi big screen) tv is used only for watching dvds. For entertainment, we read or work in the studio, watch movies or play cards.  For many years we have had a practice, strange as it may seem, of playing cribbage over dinner, especially during the week.  We're on the go so much and playing a low-key card game slows us down, allows for conversation while we eat, then linger to finish the game...sort of a way to unwind.  But, I got this wonderful little word tile game in my stocking this Christmas from Santa (aka Beth, my fantastic sister-in-law who picks the best gifts!) and the poor cribbage board has been forced to sit quietly behind us on another table as we happily play One Up with the dictionary always on hand.  In fact, I just bought an updated dictionary because the 30 year old one we had just wasn't up to snuff with the current lingo!!!  And so, after we'd played game after game through many a meal over the past month, it occcured to John that we should be keeping track of the words we make in these games as the transformations are pretty amazing.  Now none of you know me that well, but I jumped on that one, as I LOVE a good bit of documentation...it brings out the cataloger in me!  And so now I have a yellow pad full of the words and running scores, as well as  further refinements such as what letters were left at the end that couldn't be used and where was the one "wild card" tile played.

These are pictures of our current game in process.  We don't finish a game at one meal...it takes a lot of pondering time and while we like a bit of leisure, we haven't got THAT much time, so the game stays out on the table til it's finished. Here's a quick run down of the game.  101 tiles, all turned face down.
First player turns over three letters and if a word can be formed, makes a word (each word has a minimum of three letters) and from then on each player turns over one tile and either changes an existing word with it or makes a new word with the letters that have been turned over that haven't been put into play yet.  Here's the challenge though.  To use their example, Light can't become Lights or Enlighten, but it could turn into Slightly if the right combination of letters were turned over.  The first letter in each word doesn't count, but each letter after that is one point.  There is one wild tile that can be used for any letter, but it has to remain that letter throughout the game...I don't think it's come up yet in this game.
I think that gives you the gist....so here is a list of the transformations in words throughout the game that went from dinner on the 22nd through dinner on the 23rd.  

1/22-1/23 Dinner - Dinner


Letters Left:

Final Score:
Johntimothy: 96
Ms. P.: 80
Wild card tile: Don't know...this was before that piece of evidence was being documented

According to their simple rules, whoever sees the possibility of a word calls it out and gets the word, but we play a more refined version and our house rules allow a person to verify a word in the dictionary first before playing it....even while the other person bites their tongue over a word they see that can be made. Sometimes one of us sees a fantastic possibility and will give broad enough hints that the other one finally gets it and then, depending on the score at the time and how generous we're feeling, we'll split the points.  I happen to be pretty proud of having seen spinet and then later in the game, splinters!!! However, in this game Johntimothy clearly skunked me.  This is a great way to learn words....although we're always having to look the same strange words up time after time forgetting whether they were legitimate or not!  The truth is out...we're just a couple of word nerds!  But for those of you out there that like word games, it comes highly recommended by those in the Pizzuto household...


  1. fun....
    i'm a horrible speller but i love boggle and word games even though dont play them much anymore. and like you..no tv. we just watch stuff on the computer. here's to using your brain :)

  2. Hi Paula...it is fun! I consider myself a good speller and John would be the first to say he's not a good speller, but I'll tell you, at least half the time he is seeing words that I don't. I think it's tapping some kind of other kind of global seeing or pattern recognition...rather than just one's "spelling" mind! So interesting!

  3. This sort of game really appeals to me though not to my hubby unless he's watching from the sidelines while my daughter and I play. If we have a power failure at night we play word games until bed time.

  4. Move over, Scrabble!! Sounds like one I must look out for.

  5. I'm a word nerd too (surprised?) - used to do lots of word games and especially crossword puzzles, acrostics and cryptics. This looks very tempting! I'm glad I don't have this nearby or I'd never get anything done! Thanks for this glimpse into your daily life beyond the studio!

  6. Sounds like fun Patti - and as you say as much about the patterns and associations as actual left brained spelling/vocab - a bit like cryptic crosswords. I like the way you modified the rules to split the points as well - very democratic!

  7. I love a word game & have never heard of this one. I'll have to seek it out.

    As a kid, I loved those games in workbooks that asked you to make as many words as possible from a long word or short phrase. I'd work on one for days!

  8. Kim, Gabriella, Annie, Fiona, Robyn....Thanks for all the great comments....why am I not surprised that you all are word game folks too!!! The small print on the can gives a website where you can probably find this game...


    I haven't seen this site myself, but may be worth checking out!

  9. This was a great webpage to find. We love word games (Scrabble, Upwords and Quiddler our favorite) and would like to get the game to share with a few people, but in the meantime, I finally found a use for my Bananagrams tiles (never really got into the game as presented in their rules). Just did two rounds and it's really a great brain twist to deconstruct and reinvent words!

    1. Tom, glad you found this! It is a little over a year since this post was initially made and we are STILL faithfully playing this game over dinner, documenting the words and the letters as they are drawn! We have quite a stack of score sheets! Funny, I also received Bananagrams for Christmas this year, but have not taken to it either....I think you are right, those tiles would work really well for this game. I'm not sure if our brains are any smarter after a year, but it certainly is interesting! Good luck with the word games...keep me posted! Thanks for your comment!


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