Wordoboros is, as the creator describes it, a “word and sorcery” board game. Players go around and around the Wordoboros, a dragon biting its own tail with no beginning nor end (that also really likes words for some reason), and try to earn enough karma to be reincarnated. I had the pleasure of demoing the game at PAX East and found it to be simple, but hilarious and fun. Each player gets a character with different abilities and spells, but each has the same goal: complete quests by forming words that meet certain criteria.
There is a fair amount of randomness involved in Wordoboros, so be warned. Movement is controlled by die rolls, while the letters and quests are all on cards that you draw by landing on certain spaces on the board. However, the randomness is offset by mechanics that are built in to the game. After moving, you may discard cards to move forward or backward one space for each. Also, while the spaces on the board dictate whether you draw from the consonant or the vowel deck, many of the spells and abilities allow you to pick from either.
Points are scored in one of two ways: by completing quests, and by completing a lap of the game board. The quests may be things like “conjure a six letter word,” “conjure a celestial body,” or “conjure a tailor’s tool.” Even better, you can complete multiple quests at once if you can form a word that satisfies them. So, for instance, I could create the word “planet” and score two of those aforementioned quests. A bit of debating skill also helps here, because it’s not always clear if a word should work or not (are moats often described as bloody? I mean, a lot of them are in England, so maybe?)
If you land on a space and are unable to form a word, your character’s special ability kicks in. For example, my Lexiconjurer had a simple ability that allowed her to draw an extra card from either the consonant or vowel deck. There are also certain spaces that cause you to flip a card from the top of your spell deck. I used two spells during the game: one caused me to draw a lot of cards, the other allowed me to move any player to the nearest Wyrmhole, thereby teleporting him or her to the other side of the Wordoboros.
And yes, I did say Wyrmhole.
A Great Game For People Who Like Scrabble, But Don't Want To Play Scrabble
Wordoboros is a great casual game to play with friends or bring out to a game night. It’s a good blend of individual skill and player interaction - mostly in the form of arguments. On top of that, it has a unique set up, some great watercolor art, and it has just enough humor built in to keep things fun.
Wordoboros just launched its Kickstarter a few days ago, so if you’d like to support a silly game about achieving reincarnation by having a good vocabulary, I highly encourage you to head over and check it out.