Martian Boggle

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Martian Boggle

An Icehouse game by Nate Straight.

Overview

One of the greatest word games of all time enters the Icehouse world.

Object

The object is to become the player with the highest scoring set of five-letter words.

Equipment

2 colored stashes of Icehouse pieces (the more translucent the color, the better)

100 letter tiles (a normal Scrabble set is too large, but a miniature set or a craft set works)

1 opaque bag or container large enough to hold all 100 of the letter tiles

2 four-sided dice per player, matching the colors of the 2 stashes of Icehouse pieces

1 5x5 game board, as used in Volcano (the board is really a necessary item for this game)

2 players and approximately 15 minutes

Setup

Place the game board between the two players. Place the letter tiles into the opaque bag or container. Randomly select 25 letter tiles from the bag and randomly place them face up onto the 25 squares of the game board. Place each player's five large Icehouse pieces on the row of the game board closest to them (their home row) over the letter tiles in those squares (the tiles must be small enough to fit under the large Icehouse pieces). Set aside each player's remaining medium and small Icehouse pieces to be used for scoring.

Gameplay

On each player's turn, they will roll their dice and then move their pieces according to the amount rolled in an attempt to land their five pieces on letters that spell a five-letter word. A player may use the entirety of the amount that they rolled to move any one of their pieces, or may use the amount rolled on one die to move one piece and the amount rolled on the other die to move a different piece. They may not split the entire amount rolled in any other way. A player does not have to use all of any of the amounts that they rolled.

Pieces may move one space in any direction (including diagonals) for each number that is rolled on the dice. Pieces may also change directions freely during their moves. A roll of 2 and 4 could be used to move one piece up one space and to the northwest diagonal one space, and then another piece up two spaces, to the northeast diagonal one space, and then up one more space. Pieces may not pass through or jump over any other pieces.

At any time during their turn, if a player notices that the letters under their five pieces spell a five-letter word (the letters can be arranged in any order), they may call out that word and then remove it from the board. The player will carefully lift up each of their pieces and remove the letter tile from underneath, then replace it with a randomly selected letter tile from the bag of extra letter tiles and place the piece back on top of that new letter tile. After removing all five of the letter tiles in this manner, the player will then spell out the word that they called out in front of them. If all five of the player's pieces were adjacent to each other (including diagonals), the player will place a medium Icehouse piece from their pile of set aside pieces next to the word that they just spelled out. If four (but no less) of the player's pieces were adjacent to each other, the player will place a small Icehouse piece from their pile next to the word that they just spelled out.

As soon as a player has either used the entirety of the amount that they rolled or spelled out a five-letter word, that player's turn is over and play then passes to the other player.

Ending

The game ends when one player has successfully spelled five different five-letter words unless that player began the game, in which case the player who went second gets one more turn to attempt to spell another word. Each player then tallies the scores of all of the words that they spelled during the game. If you are playing with miniature Scrabble tiles, use the point values assigned to each letter tile to compute the score of each word. If you are playing with a set of letter tiles designed for crafting (or otherwise devoid of assigned point values), simply give each five-letter word a base score of 1 point. Any words that have a small Icehouse piece next to them have their score doubled, and any words that have a medium Icehouse piece next to them have their score tripled. The player who ended the game by spelling their fifth five-letter word receives a 5-point bonus if you are playing with miniature Scrabble tiles or else a 1-point bonus if you are playing with a set of letter tiles designed for crafting. The player with the highest total score wins the game.

Variant

For a slightly more difficult game, do not allow diagonals for movement or adjacency.