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Product Awards:  

Ages Players
8+ 1-8

Designer(s): Philip Zweig

Publisher(s): RiverEdge Game Company

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Product Description

In Wordigo, players race against each other and the 7-minute timer to form high scoring words along designated paths on their board. Several features make Wordigo special: 1) No waiting - everyone plays at the same time. 2) A game takes only 7 minutes. 3) 4 copies of 4 different playing boards offer varying degrees of difficulty, making it easy for higher-skilled players to play with lower-skilled players. 4) Wordigo's vowels, with their arrows and bonus markings allow for a very unique way of scoring points. 5) Dictionaries are allowed during play. Wordigo works equally as well as a solitaire game and is especially fun in partner play.

See the Wordigo Demo at the Wordigo website!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Word Game Runner Up, 2005

Product Information


  • 1 7-minute sand timer
  • 4 drawstring bags
  • rules
  • score pad
  • 8 playing boards
  • 4 sets of letter tiles
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.5 in 2 reviews

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Great Family Game
December 02, 2004
Our family loves word games, but we have found it difficult to find a game that all of us (two kids ages 10 and 12, plus two adults) can play at the same time - either they get frustrated or we don't play hard. Wordigo is great because all of us can play at the same time on boards that have different levels of difficulty, so we have very competitive games. We also love how fast the games are (only 7 minutes).
Speed Scrabble meets crossword puzzles
August 24, 2004

It's true that there are certain types of games, which which it is difficult to make enough of a game to make it stand out from the genre. 'Word' games are old and many, but not all that much varied. Hangman, Scrabble, Palabra, Boggle, Upwords -- classic word games to be sure, but all of them come back to words. They all execute differently, but they are still squarely in the 'word game' genre. And this is nto a bad thing -- not at all -- but what it does mean is that unless you are a word game fan, you will probably not find much 'game' in them.

Wordigo seems promising as word games go: each player gets their own player mat, 4 copies of 4 difefrent mats, which they will use to compete against each other. The mats look something like simple crossword grids, and they are all blank, just waiting to be filled with words. The deal is that when players are filling words, they must start with the '1' word, and once that is finished, they may then play letters to make the '2' word, which is interlinked (like a corssword) with the '1' word, and so on. The crossword mats have 10 or so different spots for words, varying from 3-5 letters per word.

Each player has their own tile bag, and each bag has the same distribution of tiles. To start the game, each player draws 8 tiles and places them on their mats. Like Scrabble, not all tile draws are equal, and that means some players may have harder combinations of letters. Having said that, the longest word in a grid is 5 letters long, and many are shorter, so you don't get stuck too often. A nice feature is that if you have useless letters, you can discard and replace them one at a time, with discarded letter worth -1 point each at game's end.

The letters themselves look similar to Scrabble, but do differ somewhat, and this is where Wordigo becomes its own game. The standard 'score' is printed on the bottom ocrner of all the CONSONANTS, but the vowels have no score value -- what they have instead is arrows and multiplier values. You might have an 'A' with an arrow pointing left and another pointing right and 'x2' printed on it. What that means is that it is where you put the vowels, and what consonants that you surround them with, that will increase your score. Using that 'A' descibed above, you'd want to put high scoring letters on either side of it (or wherever the arrows point) because those are the only letters that receive the 'x2' bonus.

The game is speed based, so faster can be better. Every person to complete their grid before the 7-minute timer runs out gets bonus points, and the first person to finish also gets bonus points.

And that's it. The problems with the game are varied. The game box is a bit flimsy, and the color palette could have used some work, but for the price, it's a good deal. The main problem with the game is the solitaire nature. In theory we are all competing against each other (except in the solitaire version) but since every player has their own mat and is drawing different tiles at different times, it is vary much a solitaire experience. Secondly, the game is really not all that challenging. All words are fairly short, and the only tricky part is trying to get your 'x4' vowels to line up with good consonants. Wordigo feels a lot like the public domainish game 'speed scrabble' (which uses Scrabble tiles in a speed game played on a table) and I feel like speed Scrabble works much better since it allows all kinds of double usage on letters and rewards extremely well planend grids. Wordigo lacks real challenge, except as a speed game, and, at that, has no interaction, and penalities for discarded letters almost seem too lenient.

If you are a word game fan, you will probably enjoy this enough to buy it, but for me, I would rather just buy a crossword puzzle book and time myself, since essentially that is what it boils down to. 2 stars for the majority of gamers, I think, but probably more of a 3 to 4 star game for people who love word games.

by Philip Zweig
designer commentary
July 22, 2004

Wordigo came out in the fall of 2003, but I had been working on a word game since 1986 . An agent I had at the time said that if I ever came up with a good word game, there was always a market for that. I pursued many variations and themes ranging from card word games to even a version based on the game Battleship. While some versions seemed promising, none of them really stood up after a lot of play-testing.

The seeds for Wordigo came to me as I was waiting to pick up my kids from school back in December of 2001. I love word games and Scrabble and Boggle are two of my all-time favorites. However, whenever I play Scrabble with my wife she reads a magazine because I take too long. So, I was thinking how I could have a game with the strategy of Scrabble and the quickness of Boggle, while being able to be played by everyone at the same time. I tried having one big board that everyone played on but finally settled on the idea of everyone having their own playing board and their own set of tiles.

Wordigo was developed as an adult alternative to Scrabble, but my son was in 6th grade at the time I was developing the game and I asked my sons teacher about playing a prototype in the class room. The response was very encouraging and before long word had spread from teacher to teacher and from school to school and even into the neighboring county. By the time Wordigo had come out on the market, the game had been play-tested by over 1,000 people, including 800 students ranging in age from 8 13. The play-testing was crucial in the development of the game as many refinements were made because of the extensive play-testing.

The name, incidentally, came to me one night at the dinner table. I had spent a couple of months carrying around a dictionary and thesaurus scanning the pages for name possibilities. Some early name considerations were: Onword, Fast Forword and Pathwords. I liked Pathwords, but the biggest problem with it was that it sounded too much like Password That night at dinner I thought of the word vertigo. The word was interesting, conveying the idea of frenzy, especially as time is running out and players are quickly trying to come up with a last second word. But the name did not convey the idea that this was a word game. So, thinking about how I could keep the essence of that word I thought of word and vertigo and came up with Wordigo.

An interesting side note: My first published game was Betelgeuse (pronounced beetle-juice), back in 1985. The game came out before the movie and before hardly anyone was familiar with the name Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse was a strategy game and though it received a lead review in GAMES Magazine, strategy games were way down on the game ladder and trivia games were king. The sales of the game did poorly, so when the movie came out I sold the rights of the name, which I had trademarked, to a company bringing out movie-related merchandise. For those unfamiliar, Betelgeuse is a reddish-orange star in the constellation Orion. It forms the shoulder of Orion and the name actually comes from the French-Arabic, meaning shoulder of the giant.

Other Resources for Wordigo:

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