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If you enjoy crossword games and puzzles, you'll love Crossword Pyramids. If you want to improve your family's and friends' spelling, strategic thinking, and mathematical abilities, then Crossword Pyramids is the game for you!
Crossword Pyramids will provide endless hours of fun allowing players to really use their crossword and spelling skills. If you want to spell a 12-letter word and dazzle your opponents, go ahead. Bigger is better in this game. Use your own letters. Steal your opponent's letters! And, use the letters on the board. The unique design of this game allows players to make words from a constantly changing selection of 60 letters.
Waiting for your next turn has never been so exciting. Will your adversaries offer better choices or spoil your plan? Every word that your opponents remove from the board offers new opportunities and challenges.
Challenging? Of course! Complicated? Not at all. Crossword Pyramids is a superbly planned, easy to play, three-dimensional board game.
In the tradition of all CardChess International games, we are sure that you will feel as if you have played Crossword Pyramids before. Share in the excitement and remember the motto, "Spell to win".
Crossword Pyramids has become the subject of great controversy on the internet. Some folks have come out with almost fanatical praise of the game. Others have screamed conspiracy, stating that the makers of the game are deliberately hyping the game to promote sales. So it was with great interest that I got the game, and I hope that I present this review unaffected by the controversy surrounding it.
So, is this game worth getting? The short answer is that if youre looking to buy a good word game, this is one of the best that Ive played. And now, for the longer answer.
First, a short description of game play
The game takes place on a board with 100 squares on it. The thirty-six middle squares have a variety of letters on them. Each square is divided into four triangles, so that the letters can be read from all four sides of the board. On each side of these thirty-six squares are four rows of six squares each each in a different color (red, yellow, blue, green) and letters in each. The outside ring of squares (32) is blank. Each player chooses one color, and takes thirty-six pyramids in their color. Each pyramid is plastic, stackable, and has one letter that faces out on all sides, and a number value at the top. (Letters that are more commonly used are lower points i.e. an A is worth one point, while a Q is worth nine points.) These pyramids are randomly put in stacks of six on each of the six squares of the same color. Thirty-six out of forty two neutral black pyramids are randomly placed, one each on the thirty-six inner squares.
The points on the revealed six pyramids of each players colors are totaled, and whoever has the lowest total goes first. Each player on their turn can use the pyramids to try and spell out words on the board. Rules for spelling words are as follows:
1). Words must be from left to right, or top to bottom, from the players view.
2). Words can never go diagonally.
3). One letter from the players own color pyramids MUST be used.
4). Pyramids from all the different colors can be moved and placed on top of other pyramids and squares. Black pyramids can never be moved.
5). Words cannot curve except on the outside squares (called the Word Runway). Words may be bent onto this runway to form very long words.
6). Only visible pyramids can be used to form words.
7). If a player picks up a letter, he must use it.
8). Only words found in the dictionary may be used, with no abbreviations or proper nouns.
Once a word is built, the player removes all pyramids used to make the word, and places them in front of him. Letters printed on the board can be used to make words, but do not count for points. Each player takes their turns in clockwise order, and continues until all pyramids of one color are removed from the board. At that point, the game ends. Points are totaled, with each player getting points for the pyramids they have collected, and losing points for pyramids in their color that are still on the board. The player with the most points is the winner.
Some comments on the game:
1). Components: I was very surprised when I opened up the good-sized, heavy box. I had seen pictures of the game and assumed that the pyramids were about a centimeter in size. I was amazed to see that each pyramid had a two-inch side. The pyramids are sturdy, and the letters are easy to see and read people with poor sight could easily play this game. The pyramids fit neatly in the box on a plastic rack that holds them in place. The board is large and beautiful, again being very easy to read. The pyramids, when laid out on the board, make a very impressive sight. The box itself looks very nice, and is very easy, with its large title, to pick out on the shelf. The only slightly negative thing I can say here is that the board folds inward. I really wish it folded outwards like many new boards. However, that is a minor gripe. Over all, the components are outstanding, and are definitely worth the price of the game. Its a game that would look nice set up on a coffee table.
2). Rules: The rules are on one piece of heavy paper stock that is the same size as the box. They are easy to read, especially as the rules for the game arent very difficult anyway. There are some diagrams, showing setup for the game and correct word placement. The rules are also available on the companys website (www.cardchess.com).
3). Website: The website has the rules for the game, but theres not much else there right now maybe coming soon?
4). Scrabble: I really dont like Scrabble. I hate when I get seven letters that I cant use. In this game, the letters can be placed everywhere, and one usually has twenty-four letters to pick from. This gives one a much larger choice of letters to choose from, and frankly makes the game more fun, because the thinking is less stressful. We werent really happy with the only top to bottom, left to right rule, so we played that you could place the words in any direction. It is strange that a short word like quiz will score more than healthy, because the point values are greater. I think next time we play well add a variant in where whoever collects the most pyramids gets a bonus in points. But, I must say that players who have a hard time making words actually have a decent chance in this game. Unlike Scrabble, where the player who has the largest vocabulary usually wins, this game is fairer to all players (although a player with a large vocabulary will do a little better.)
5). Fun Factor: The game was actually very fun. I usually dont like word games very much, but I did enjoy this one. But what was more interesting was that the wives who played the game LOVED it. They really enjoyed the play, which was less making strategic decisions then just thinking up words and spelling them out. Downtime wasnt too bad, as you could think about words that you would spell on your turn, hoping that the letters you wanted to use would still be there. As with many games of this type, there is the chance for analysis paralysis, but gentle (or yelling in their face) reminders usually avert this.
So, while this game will never come close to toppling some of my favorite games, it has shot up to the top of my word game list. And what I like is that a lot of people who wont touch most of my board games (even Settlers and Carcassonne!) will play this game. Its a fun game to play when in the mood for word games. Not perfect, not one Ill play every week, but one good enough to buy and play. If you like word games at all, I recommend this one for you.
Here's a monumental challenge for word fanatics. Randomly allocate 36 black (neutral) pyramids to the 10x10 board's central (lettered) spaces. Thirty pyramids in each of four player colors begin in random stacks of five on the spaces flanking the center. Each pyramid represents one numbered letter, shown on all sides.
Each turn, shift any number of colored pyramids visible at the start of your turn to vacant spaces or atop other pyramids, to form one word in crossword fashion from your viewpoint. Remove and score all pyramids used. Printed letters (non-scoring) revealed by the earlier removal of black pyramids may help form words.
Play ends when the last pyramid of any player color has been removed. The player with the highest score wins--after everyone painfully deducts the total value of their unused pyramids. We have no cross words about either this remarkable game or its classy components!