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Letter Jam preserves the best of co-ops and word games

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Let's play some Letter Jam! It's my GOTY for 2020 (though it released in 2019), and it makes for an easy adaptation to PbP.

Letter Jam is a cooperative word game for 2-6 players. 6 is ideal, so we'll shoot for that.

Getting started: Sign up by replying here and PMing a five-letter word to me. Your word must not contain the letters J, Q, V, X, or Z, because there are no cards in the game that bear those letters. The letters in your word will be scrambled and passed to the player to your virtual right, who will place them face-down. Everyone then places their first card upright, facing the other players, so you can see everyone's card but your own.

How to play: Players look at the letters they can see and mentally arrange them into words. They then collaboratively choose someone to be the cluegiver for the round by discussing how many letters they plan to use.

Example: "I can make a six-letter word that uses four players' letters."

The cluegiver then gives the clue by putting number tokens in front of each player. If your letter is part of the clue, you'll know where in the word it's found but not necessarily what your letter is.

In addition to the players' letters, a wildcard (*) is available, which can sub in for any single letter. If the wildcard is used multiple times in a word, it must represent the same letter each time.

Example: Terrence sees the letters H, G, R, and R. He gives the clue "horror" by putting a 1 in front of the H, a 2 and 5 on the wildcard, a 3 and 4 on the first R, and a 6 on the second R. The player holding the H writes down "?*RR*R" for this clue and tries to determine what her letter could be.

There are no invalid words as far as clues are concerned. If you think "USSR" or "awoogah" would make a good clue, you can use it. That said, you are trying to help your teammates.

End of round: Any player may advance to the next letter at this time. Usually, you'll do this because you have identified your letter; sometimes you'll do it because there aren't enough rounds left in the game.

That's right: there's a limited number of rounds in the game. However, if each player takes a turn as cluegiver, you earn yourselves one bonus round.

If you advance past your fifth letter, you can take a letter from the deck as a bonus. After each round in which your letter was used, you may attempt to guess it. If you guess correctly, you can put the card face-up on the table to be used like the wildcard. Once used this way, the card is discarded.

End of game: Players rearrange their letters to form a word. It doesn't have to be the word that was given to you. You don't even have to know what word you're spelling! All you have to do is firm a valid, English word with your cards.

You can use any cards on the table (including the wildcard) as part of your word, either subbing out one of your cards or creating a longer word. Each card can only be used once, however.

You collectively score points for words that were spelled correctly: 15 points plus 1 for each letter past 5. If you were unable to spell a word, fear not: you are still eligible for 1 point per letter you correctly identified (whereas there is no need to correctly identify your letters if you managed to spell a word). You also earn 1 point per round remaining if you decided to end early.


And that's it! If this sounds intriguing, please sign up.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Listen, reading comprehension is hard, okay?

(I had it in my head that I'd wait for a full table before submitting.)

ETA: Oh, also, I guess there's no reason I can't say this publically, since I wasn't able to use it as my word: the rules are clearly unfair, in that "OLIVE" isn't a valid word.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Four players is pretty good. I'll give it a day or two, but I'm happy to kick off with four if no one else signs up.

With fewer than six players, there will be dummy players to maintain the same number of letters visible. Everyone can see dummies' cards. Running through a dummy card pile gives you an extra round, just like having everyone give a clue. After that, dummies just draw from the deck (but don't give you bonus cards, unlike actual players).

When giving hints at a clue, you can specify how many letters come from players and how many from dummies: "I can make a seven-letter word that uses three players, one dummy, and the wildcard."
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
OK, we're getting started with DFalcon, Falselogic, JBear, and Nich as our four players. That means we have two dummy players.

VERY IMPORTANT
Please only click the spoilerpop with your own name on it! That will show you only the cards you should see!


Clues left: 10

Dummy 1: E (extra clue in 7)
Dummy 2: D (extra clue in 8)

Falselogic: T
JBear: H
Nich: O

All letters: DEHOT*
DFalcon: E
JBear: H
Nich: O

All letters: DEEHO*
DFalcon: E
Falselogic: T
Nich: O

All letters: DEEOT*
DFalcon: E
Falselogic: T
JBear: H

All letters: DEEHT*

What now?

It's time to discuss among yourselves to see who will give a clue this round. Key things to remember:
  • You can use the same letter more than once. If you like DEDEDE as a clue, you can spell that using just the dummy letters. (Don't do that.)
  • You may indicate the length of your word, how many different players it uses, how many of the dummies it uses, and whether it uses the wildcard.
  • You may not indicate which players or dummies it uses.
  • The most important thing in a clue is clarity. Consider how each player will receive your clue and try to minimize ambiguity.
  • But it's also nice to maximize the number of different cards you use in a clue, especially before you've gotten the extra clue from each dummy.
  • You might not have a great clue you can give with the letters you see. In that case, you'll need to rely on your teammates.

Good luck! When you have collectively chosen one player to act as cluegiver, that player will PM me the clue word along with which player/dummy each letter corresponds to.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Discuss in this thread, please. Just make sure to limit the description of your own clues to the length of your clue, number of players used, number of dummies used, and whether the wildcard is used.

As a guideline, avoid saying anything that reveals any information whatsoever about specific players or their letters (don't say "This clue will help JBear"). Also avoid talking about the clue itself (don't say "My word is a little obscure"). You can say most other things (you may say "My clue will be very helpful").
 

DFalcon

(he/him)
I can give a seven-letter clue with two players' letters, two dummies, and no wildcard. I think it's good for a two-player clue.
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
I've read the rules post and the start-of-game post twice now and I still can't grasp what we're doing here, so I'll abstain from trying to give a clue until I have a firmer understanding of the game.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
I've read the rules post and the start-of-game post twice now and I still can't grasp what we're doing here, so I'll abstain from trying to give a clue until I have a firmer understanding of the game.

Oh good, I thought it was just me. I am also a little confused.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
You're attempting to come up with a word that uses some or all of the letters you can see. The intent is to give your fellow players information they can use to deduce the letter they're holding.

If you got that much and you're still unclear, it won't hurt to let DFalcon give a clue. The good news is that you don't need to come up with a decent clue every round: just one of you will give a clue.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I'm unclear if I'm optimally seeking to use only the letters of my other players, or instead opting for a more distinctive word to maximize likelihood they can suss things out, in which case number of letters is a secondary consideration. I can offer a 3-letter clue using 3 players and nothing else, or I can optionally pad that out to include a dummy or wildcard. I'll leave it up to DFalcon to decide if he'd prefer that I go or he go, given that information.

ETA: Oh, oh, or I can offer a 7-letter word using all available letters and one wildcard. Pretty sure all 3 of you could suss out your letters from it. (Although I could be wrong!) Maybe I should go after all.
 
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DFalcon

(he/him)
In a complete vacuum, using letters from more dummies should be better - each dummy letter used comes off that dummy's stack, and by emptying a dummy's stack we get a bonus clue round.

I agree that size of the word feels like it's mostly there to be a secondary indicator of distinctiveness. And using the wildcard is likewise a minor indicator that it may be harder to figure the intended word out.

Your suggested 7-letter word sounds good to me.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Actually, revised: this is harder than it looks!

I think I've settled on a 6-letter word that I like. It uses 4 player letters, 2 dummy letters, and no wildcard. I worry that it may help one of you less than the other two (Can I say that? I hope I can say that? Spoiling it just in case Mogri says "no"), but I think that still puts us ahead of DFALCON's clue.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
That's better than anything I have.

Also I found this video on YT that was a little helpful!

 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
(Can I say that? I hope I can say that? Spoiling it just in case Mogri says "no")
Hmm... My initial reaction was no, but on further consideration, I think it's fine. I was going to suggest "it won't help everyone equally," but that's practically the same thing.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Alright, given that Nich declared his intent to pass on this first round, I'll go ahead and submit. PM incoming!
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
🍓1 Dummy 2 (D)
🍊2 Nich
🍋3 Falselogic
🍏4 Falselogic
🥝5 DFalcon
🔵6 Dummy 2 (D)


(there is no lime or blueberry emoji, immersion ruined)

Right now: If you are not JBear, assess the clue and decide whether you know your letter. (Don't say what you think it is!) Declare whether you are advancing to your next letter.

For your convenience, the clue has been spelled out from your perspective in your spoilerpop. I strongly recommend taking notes on your own to remember which letters you have.

Falselogic: T
JBear: H
Nich: O

All letters: DEHOT*

Clue 1: DOTT?D (JBear)
DFalcon: E
JBear: H
Nich: O

All letters: DEEHO*

Clue 1: DO??ED (JBear)
DFalcon: E
Falselogic: T
Nich: O

All letters: DEEOT*

Clue 1: DOTTED (JBear)
DFalcon: E
Falselogic: T
JBear: H

All letters: DEEHT*

Clue 1: D?TTED (JBear)

Clues left: 9

Dummy 1: E (extra clue in 7)
Dummy 2: D -> K (extra clue in 7)
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
@Falselogic and @Nich: Will you move to your next letter or stay on your current letter? (Or do you need more explanation on what's going on?)
 
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Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
Yeah, I edited in the tags and wasn't sure if it would still trigger a notification.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
I am not advancing to the next letter. If I am doing this right, I still think there are too many letters that mine could be.
 
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