Scrabble. For many people it is the alpha and omega of wordgames. It's really just the beginning, and there are a ton of different wordgames out there. Today I'm going to discuss one that has a hook that will appeal to us all.
Unspeakable Words is worth whatever you pay for it just for the little Cthulhu figures that come with the game. That the game itself is a clever wordgame mixed with some great inside HP Lovecraft jokes is a pleasant bonus.
The game is simple, you are dealt a hand of 7 cards and 5 mini-Cthulhus (these reflect your sanity, which will inexorably reduce as you spell words), each with a letter on it. The letters are worth a certain number of points each (humorously, they are worth one point for every right angle in the letter, so S is worth 0 points. Non-Euclidean Geometry is built into the game!) you play a word down, total the points on the card and record your score. Two things happen after you score your points, one – the word you played is written down, and no one else can play that word, two – you have to roll a sanity check. The sanity check is simply rolling more than the points you scored on your word on a D20. If you succeed nothing happens and your turn continues. If you fail you lose one of your little Cthulhus. Lose all your Cthulhus and you are out of the game, no matter how many points you have. First to 100 points wins.
It's a fun, light cardgame with some interesting strategy. Not being able to use words that have been previously spelled can really complicate matters. Deciding whether to play a large word (and face a daunting sanity check) or a small one, and having to keep track of which words have already been played is good fun. The sanity check mechanic makes the game faster, and also adds a hint of unpredictability.
A special note has to be made about the art and theme of the game. The cards are wonderfully illustrated, with all sorts of visual sight gags for fans of the Mythos. The cards are like Mythos flash cards. "M is for Mi-Go" and my personal favorite "H is for _______________" (I won't say his name either..)
Not only is it a nice little filler game, but it will have an extra layer of fun for anyone who is a fan of HP Lovecraft. Unspeakable Words is definitely worth checking out!
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