Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Welcome to the Game Zombies' realm!

Game Review

The Cr*sword game with a wildcard

Ages 8 and up
Game © 2003 Peter Roizen
game in play

2-4 Players30+ minutes


Players place letters on the board to form words. New words must interconnect with the previously placed words as in a crossword puzzle. In addition, there are special letters -- "stars," -- that take the place of one or more letters in a word.


Prior to beginning the game, players must agree upon which dictionary they will use to settle any challenges. This is a critical point for game play.

Players draw seven letters each. The player who starts must place a word of at least one letter in the center of the board (horizontally or vertically.) After placing his/her word, the player draws replacement letters from the pool. The player scores the points for each letter, plus any points based on the placement on the board (double word score, double letter score, etc.)

The next player must place letters for their word using at least one letter that has been already placed on the board. If the new word placed touches any other words on the board, all touching letters must also form a word. Points are tallied after each word is placed -- for every word formed. Again, the player draws replacement letters after completing their word.

If a player can place all seven letters in one word, they receive an additional 40 point bonus.

The game ends when no letters remain to be drawn, and a player places his/her last letter -- or no player can place any of their remaining letters, or time expires.

Sounds like Scrabble, right? Here's the main differences: The board has different values, including "turn to wild" and "lose 20 points"; Additionally, there are special letters: stars; and finally, you can challenge your opponents words -- but you can lose points if you are wrong!

Star letters can be used in the place of 1 or more letters. For instance, "S*T" could be SIT, SAT, SOOT, STOUT, or some other combination that starts with S and ends with T (and if you thought of a naughty word, shame on you!).

If a player believes that his opponent is bluffing and has placed a fake word, he/she may challenge the word. At this point, the player who placed the letters MUST specify the actual word that they were placing on the board, and if necessary find it in the dictionary. If the word is not in the dictionary, then the placed tiles are removed (given back to the player who placed them) and the player who placed the pieces loses their turn. If, however, the word is found in the dictionary -- the challenging players lose points from their score! (In a 3-4 player game the players who are not the challenger or challenged player must vote on whether or not they agree with the challenger and lose points if they agree with the loser of the challenge.)

game in play

more in game

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who has the most points at the end of the game wins.

game in play

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up!Our original review of this game can be found here. The game play description hasn't changed much, and the game is pretty much what we expected based off of the software demo.

This is a game for people who like crossword games -- Scrabble, Upwords, and Boggle are clearly in its family tree. If you like these kinds of games, you will almost certainly like WildWords. A purist for Scrabble may resent the game because of the introduction of the wildcard piece. The wildcard is what makes this game fun.

Crossword games can get boring after a while, the wildcard piece injects this genre of games with a poker sensation: can you bluff another good player simply for more points? The adrenaline pumps through you as you hope the next player makes their move before someone challenges your nonsense word. Bluffs can work -- and they can backfire -- but they can also be good fun.

In our game, we had one player start to bluff more and more often just to see how often he could get away with it... just what words can you come up with when you see JU*W*? This bluff worked because of the double wildcard use. Our game felt slower than a standard Scrabble game, largely because the wildcards got us thinking about other word opportunities that we traditionally hadn't seen. We also suspected every word being placed with a wildcard -- paranoia over the wildcard is rampant with competitive players! Over time, I expect the games to play faster as we get used to the style of words that work best in this game. But, the bluffing sure helped keep us on our toes.

This game is worth getting for word-game fanatics. The current printing is a little expensive at almost $30, but the quality of the pieces in the set make up for the seemingly high cost. They're good quality & feel it.

Where to buy:

You can order it at It costs about $30 as of January 2004.

Other Reviews
Zombie Main page