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Unspeakable Words is the Call of Cthulhu Word Game! Players earn points based on the number of angles in the letters in their words.
Unspeakable Words is the Call of Cthulhu Word Game! Players earn points based on the number of angles in the letters in their words.
3,746 backers pledged $179,404 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$179,404

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Thanks to inventors James Ernest and Mike Selinker and artists Tony Steele and John Kovalic for your contributions to this amazing project!  

And a very special thanks to all of our backers who made this project possible and for making this a truly great experience. 

You are an intrepid researcher, unearthing words man was not meant to spell...

As you seek out these baleful words, the evil Hounds of Tindalos lurk in every corner. You have five totems to Cthulhu to protect you from lunacy, so hold on to them tightly. 

Find words as long as you dare, careful not to lose your tender grip on your sanity.

We're not only ready to re-release this great game, but we're ready to take Unspeakable Words to new heights with a Deluxe Edtion! The new Deluxe Edition will add upgraded, specialized components and will feature new artwork by John Kovalic and can be combined with the Classic Edition of Unspeakable Words!  But what is this game all about?

Unspeakable Words™ is the Call of Cthulhu Word Game designed by James Ernest and Mike Selinker. In the game, you and your opponents will attempt to form words from the letter cards in your hand. Each letter is worth points – the amount of points is determined by the number of angles in the letter (where the hounds of Tindalos are lurking!). You may try to make the highest scoring word possible, but… you’ll have to test the strength of the word against a roll of the 20-sided die. Roll equal to or higher than the value of your word and you’re safe… but roll less than the value of your word and you lose a precious piece of your sanity, represented by an adorable Cthulhu pawn!

Each letter is uniquely illustrated with a horrifying character from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, which adds to the dark whimsy of the game.

example of gameplay
example of gameplay

Since its release in 2007, Unspeakable Words™ has been received with great reviews. It was Games Magazine's Word Game of the Year and the Best Party Board Game at BoardGameGeek's Golden Geek Awards.  In 2008, a second edition of Unspeakable Words was released, this time with purple pawns. Because of the flexibility of the game, a second deck and second set of pawns can be added for twice as many players.

Due to the popularity of the Cthulhu pawns, in 2008 Playroom released Mini Mythos™, a pack of 30 Cthulhu pawns, this time in black.  Fans of the game were able to add even more pawns and players to their game, as well as decorate their shrines to the Old Ones.

In 2013, Unspeakable Words debuted on the hit web series, TableTop, starring Wil Wheaton.  Gamers were introduced to the fun, unique game play of Unspeakable Words, and its popularity really took off! 

This popularity has inspired us to take Unspeakable Words to the next level.  Since the inception of Unspeakable Words, Playroom Entertainment has wanted to release more specialized editions. With this Kickstarter, supporters can upgrade the Unspeakable Words game with special multi-colored pawns (five pawns each of eight colors to play up to eight players!), a dice/pawn bag and additional cards! AND...this Deluxe Edition will feature artwork by famed artist John Kovalic! Plus, if we hit our stretch goals, even more amazing things will be added to the game!

new sketch by Kovalic
new sketch by Kovalic
new sketch by Kovalic
new sketch by Kovalic
new sketch by Kovalic
new sketch by Kovalic

James Ernest is best known as the president of Cheapass Games, a tiny little game company in Seattle that has specialized in quirky and affordable games since 1996. His best-known games include Kill Doctor Lucky, Give Me the Brain, Button Men, Unexploded Cow, and Pairs. He co-founded the design studio Lone Shark Games with Mike in 2003, and can be found at @cheapassjames.

Mike Selinker is the president of Lone Shark Games. He’s designed and developed games like the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Risk Godstorm, and Betrayal at House on the Hill. His puzzles are in Wired, the New York Times, and many other venues. His books include Puzzlecraft, The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, and the puzzle novel The Maze of Games. He’s at @mikeselinker.

James and Mike have designed many games together, including Lords of Vegas (Mayfair), Veritas (Cheapass), Gloria Mundi (Rio Grande), CowPoker (Steve Jackson Games), Link 26 (MindWare), and Pirates of the Spanish Main (WizKids).

Tony Steele is the artist of the Classic Edition of Unspeakable Words. He’s a professional artist for the screen-printing and commercial industry, as well as a freelance artist for RPG and board game companies.

John Kovalic has been writing and drawing in the gaming industry professionally for 20 years, now. John is best known for the comic strip Dork Tower, and games like Apples to Apples and Munchkin. His latest project include games such as ROFL! and Double Feature (Cryptozoic). When not writing or drawing, John's spending every minute possible with his wife and daughter. You can find out more about John by visiting www.dorktower.com, or plying him with craft beer. He can be found at @muskrat_john.

Gug
Gug

Playroom Entertainment was founded in 2000 and is dedicated to making exceptional games that bring friends and family together for a brain-stimulating, laugh-enticing, fun-filled time! Follow us at @PlayroomEnt and check us out at www.PlayroomEnt.com!

Unspeakable Words has met with many positive reviews, and it even the game won Games Magazine's Best Word Game and was nominated for a Golden Geek Award!  Don't take our word for it - we'll let these guys do the talking for us:

Still not sure how to play?  Watch this:

...or this:

Backers have a variety of ways in which to support Unspeakable Words Deluxe Edition:

Answer the Call! Become a backer and receive all the updates and info, plus feel good about yourself because you won’t be one of Cthulhu’s first victims when he decides to awaken from slumber, arise from the deep and destroy us all.  As an added bonus, you'll receive a full PDF version of the original Classic Edition game featuring Tony Steele's artwork!

Receive the Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words! It’s more fun than a barrel full of Nyarlathoteps. The Deluxe Edition (featuring artwork by John Kovalic) includes Letter cards illustrated with an adorably hideous creature from the world of H.P. Lovecraft, 40 multi-colored (wow!) Cthulhu pawns, a shiny new d20, a pawn/dice bag to conveniently take all of the game components with you in case you go insane and need to flee the Hounds of Tindalos, and instructions.  This Deluxe Edition has enough cards and pawns to play up to 8 players!  Plus, if our backers hit specific dollar levels, we’ll have even more upgraded components and special extras!  This level includes the PDF version of the game from the $5 level.

$50 Unspeakable Bundle – receive both the new Deluxe Edition described in the $35 Level and the Classic game (a $20 value) – combine the two to play up to 14 people! This level includes the PDF version of the game from the $5 level.

Receive TWO copies of the Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words! Each copy of Deluxe includes the components described in the $35 Level. Hoard both of them for yourself, give one to a friend, combine the two together and play with up to 16 people, or just begin building your army of mini Cthulhus. This level includes the PDF version of the game from the $5 level.

Descend into Madness! Get TWO copies of the Deluxe Edition plus one copy of the Classic Unspeakable Words! Each copy of Deluxe includes the components described in the $35 Level. Throw all of the components into a big pile like an ominous Formless Spawn! Or simply share them with friends. This level includes the PDF version of the game from the $5 level.

SOLD OUT! Join the Cult! Get THREE copies of the Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words, PLUS have your name be included in the rules in an example of play! Each copy of Deluxe includes the components described in the $35 Level. You’ll also get 10 extra copies of the rules SIGNED by the inventors to prove your devotion to Cthulhu to your friends and families. Cthulhu will accept only a few devotees at this level! This level includes the PDF version of the game from the $5 level.

SOLD OUT! Love the Craft!  Get TWO copies of the Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words, TWO copies of the Classic Edition, PLUS have your name be included in the rules in an example of play!  Each copy of Deluxe includes the components described in the $35 Level. You’ll also get 10 extra copies of the rules SIGNED by the inventors to prove your devotion to Cthulhu to your friends and families.  We only have so much room in the rules to include these names so we'll have to limit this to 6 as well. This level includes the PDF version of the game from the $5 level.

Stretch Goals:

We hit 400 Backers, so we'll include more Letter Cards and five more Cthulhu pawns in another color (35 total!) to play up to seven players!

We hit 600 Backers! Now we'll include even more Letter Cards and five MORE Cthulhu pawns in another color (40 total!) to play up to eight players!

Achieved! We hit $25,000, so all backers who purchase a Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words will receive a custom 20-sided die, engraved with an image of the Great Old One himself!

Achieved! We hit $30,000 so we'll make available (for an additional purchase) a certificate signed by inventors James Ernest and Mike Selinker to be included with your Unspeakable Words Deluxe Edition as an Add-on! The signed certificate will be available for an additional $15.

Achieved!  We reached the $35,000 mark, so we will provide an upgraded dice/pawn bag for the Deluxe Edition!  Higher quality materials and a screen printed image will set this bag apart from the standard bag.

Achieved! We reached $45,000, so five of the 40 colored Cthulhu pawns (1 color) will be upgraded to glow-in-the-dark!  We hope to make even more of the pawns glow, too!

Achieved! We hit $50,000, we’ll not only make that custom Cthulhu die, we’ll make it a glow-in-the dark d20! Now, the die will match and be glow-in-the-dark like one set of the pawns!

Revealed and Achieved! We hit $60,000! That means it's time to reveal the Top Secret Stretch Goal. Many of you have asked for this, so it was hard keeping this a secret - we are offering a larger (25mm), custom d20 in addition to the custom, glow-in-the-dark d20 that comes in the Deluxe! Backers who have purchased at least 2 copies of Unspeakable Words, either the Deluxe or Classic Edition, by either backing the $50 level (or above) or by adding on additional copies of the came through add-ons, will receive one of these larger, custom dice for free (again, in addition to the custom glow-in-the-dark d20 included in their Deluxe units and the standard d20 that comes in the Classic). The larger die will also be available as an optional add-on for $5, so backers of lower levels who do not wish to purchase additional copies of the game may have the option of purchasing this awesome bigger die as an add-on. In fact, feel free to add as many of these to your order as you would like.  

For early birds who would like to receive the die, just add-on either a Classic Edition or Deluxe Edition to your pledge, or add the die on to your pledge for $5.  

We'll make another 5 (one color) of the 40 Cthulhu Pawns upgraded to glow-in-the-dark!

We will also offer another add-on for just the glow-in-the-dark pawns (10 glow pawns, 5 each of 2 colors - see "add-ons").  However, the glow-in-the-dark pawns will be included in every Deluxe Edition.

ACHIEVED! New Stretch Goal - Backers of 2 or more copies of Unspeakable Words will receive a free Epic Cthulhu Soundscape by Darkraven!  These fantasy and horror soundscapes combine ambient backgrounds with original music to make the game come alive!  Backers who have purchased at least 2 copies of Unspeakable Words, either the Deluxe or Classic Edition, by either backing the $50 level (or above) or by adding on additional copies of the came through add-ons, will receive this free Epic Cthulhu 38 minute Soundscape track.  

Learn more about the soundscape and Darkraven by clicking the below image:

Achieved! We hit $100K, every Unspeakable Words Kickstarter backer will receive this EXCLUSIVE promo card: Elder Sign!  This limited edition card can be played with your Unspeakable Words game!  Every backer will receive one card just for backing, or will receive one card for each Unspeakable Words game (either edition) purchased.  For example, a backer who pledged at the $85 level will receive 3 Elder Sign promo cards.

We reached $110K so we will create the LEXONOMICON, an online database of made-up words created by you, the players of Unspeakable Words! These are the words you create when you are down to 1 Sanity and your brain is hanging by a thread. Because in Unspeakable Words, when you have 1 Sanity, anything's a word! We don't want to disrupt your unstable mind, so we'll just have to take your word for it. Here's a video that Mike made that explains this bonkers concept:

In addition, John Kovalic will also be putting his "John Hancock" on the Add-on certificate!  So backers who have purchased the certificate will have it signed by inventors James Ernest and Mike Selinker as well as artist John Kovalic.

Achieved! We have another promo card in the works - Yellow Sign!  More details about this card to follow!

We reached our 3000 backer stretch goal, so we're going to send all our backers a PDF version of the new word game that Mike and John Kovalic are working on with co-designer Kid Beyond! The upcoming game Epic Vs. Awesome is a word-battle game where you try to make the most epic and/or awesome answer possible. You may have heard of this game in Len Peralta's Geek A Week campaign; which turns his fantastic weekly geek cards into playable game cards! You'll get the beta version PDF for free, and your feedback might influence the final version, coming later this year. Thanks for helping us reach this stretch goal! 

We hit $150,000, so we'll make another TWO promo cards - Exploding Kithulhus!  One will feature Tony Steele's artwork for the Classic Edition, and the other with John Kovalic's for the Deluxe!  Here is the description of the card:  

K is for Exploding Kithulhus:  The letter is K, the value is 3.

After you play this card in a word, give this card to another player. She must play it in her next word or discard it and automatically fail her sanity check.
 
John Kovalic's sketch
John Kovalic's sketch

 These will be backer - exclusive cards!

We now have over 3500 backers so we'll give all backers the Hound of Tindalos promo card!  The card plays like this: Play when a player plays a word. Choose a letter and make its score 6.

More details on this card to follow!  

Add-ons:

Backers may feel free to add on as many extras as they like - just be sure to include in your pledge enough to cover the purchase, and explain in your backer survey what you'd like to add. 

The Classic Edition of Unspeakable Words featuring Tony Steele artwork can be added to your pledge for an additional $20. The original game includes 97 Letter cards, 30 horribly cute Cthulhu pawns, and a twenty-sided die. To purchase this add on, include an additional $20 to your pledge. Unless your pledge level already requires shipping, add $10 for Canada and $20 for international.

Classic Edition of Unspeakable Words
Classic Edition of Unspeakable Words

The Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words featuring John Kovalic artwork and all upgrades and stretch goals achieved can be added to your pledge for an additional $35. The Deluxe game includes more Letter cards, 40 horribly cute multi-colored Cthulhu pawns, an upgraded twenty-sided die, and a dice bag. To purchase this add-on, include an additional $35 to your pledge. Unless your pledge level already requires shipping, add $20 for international.

30 Multi-Colored Mini Mythos - $15: Add them to your game, build little Cthulhu pyramids, decorate your shrine to the Old Ones, top your pencils, or whatever. Pack includes five pawns each in six different colors. (colors TBD)  To purchase this add on, include an additional $15 to your pledgeUnless your pledge level already requires shipping, add $10 for Canada and $20 for international.

10 Glow-in-the-dark pawns - $10:  Add these glowing pawns to your game or use them to light your way through dark and creepy places.  To purchase these as an add-on, include $10 to your pledge.  Unless your pledge level already requires shipping, add $10 for Canada and $20 for international.

NEW! Certificate signed by Inventors James Ernest Inventorsand Mike Selinker - $15:  To purchase this add on, include an additional $15 to your pledge.

New!  The Larger Custom D20 - $5: To purchase this add on, include an additional $5 to your pledge.  This larger die is already included if you purchase more than one game, either by pledging at the $50 or higher or through purchasing add-ons.  Unless your pledge level already requires shipping, add $7 for Canada and for international shipping.

Here's an image showing the approximate size difference between the included glow-in-the-dark custom die and the larger custom D20:

 Due to popular demand, we are making the custom glow-in-the-dark D20 available as an Add-on as well!  To purchase this add on, include an additional $5 to your pledge. This die is already included in each Unspeakable Words Deluxe unit. Unless your pledge level already requires shipping, add $7 for Canada and for international shipping.

This add-on is a game by Unspeakable Words co-creator James Ernest and veteran game inventor Paul Peterson: Pairs™ Shallow Ones Deck! This great card game features a theme we know Unspeakable Words fans will love (Cthulhu) and features art by John Kovalic. The game also includes the variant, Monster! Pairs can be added on to your pledge for $12.  To purchase this add-on, include $12 extra in your pledge.  Unless your pledge level already requires shipping, add $7 for Canada and for international shipping.

Additional Add-ons will be made available if we hit specific stretch goals, so stay tuned!  

Thanks for viewing our Kickstarter! 

- Playroom Entertainment

©boardgamegeek.com photo by Dan4th Nicholas
©boardgamegeek.com photo by Dan4th Nicholas

Risks and challenges

Playroom Entertainment has been producing games for 15 years now and have produced Unspeakable Words in the past. We had wanted to reproduce Unspeakable Words again in the recent past but have experienced abnormal production problems trying to get it back in stock. We are thrilled to have these production problems behind us now and we will finally be able to produce this game, especially in the new Deluxe Edition! We don't anticipate any further delays; however, with some of the cool new upgraded components, small problems can arise. We have considered those possibilities and have built in a cushion as far as timing is concerned and expect to be ahead of the July 2015 deadline.
We will do our best to keep you all informed to the production and delivery of all items.

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    Answer the Call! Become a backer and receive all the updates and info, plus feel good about yourself because you won’t be one of Cthulhu’s first victims when he decides to awaken from slumber, arise from the deep and destroy us all. As an added bonus, you'll receive a full PDF version of the original Classic Edition game featuring Tony Steele's artwork!

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    Get the worm! Early Bird Special! Get the Deluxe Edition of the game, Unspeakable Words (normally $35), with all the upgraded components and new John Kovalic art for just $25! Only 50 birds will get this worm!

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    Spell this! Receive the Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words! It’s more fun than a barrel full of Nyarlathoteps. The Deluxe Edition includes 97 Letter cards, each illustrated by famed artist John Kovalic with a creature from the world of H.P. Lovecraft, 30 multi-colored (wow!) Cthulhu pawns, a shiny new d20, a pawn/dice bag to conveniently take all of the game components with you in case you go insane and need to flee the Hounds of Tindalos, and instructions. Plus, if our backers hit specific dollar levels, we’ll have even more upgraded components and special extras!

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    The Unspeakable Bundle – receive both the new Deluxe Edition and the Classic Edition game – combine the two to play up to 12 people!

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    Eldritch Abomination! Receive TWO copies of the Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words! Hoard both of them for yourself, give one to a friend, combine the two together and play with up to twelve people, or just begin building your army of mini Cthulhus.

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    Descend into Madness! Get TWO copies of the Deluxe Edition plus one copy of the Classic Edition Unspeakable Words! Throw all of the components into a big pile like an ominous Formless Spawn! Or simply share them with friends.

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    Join the Cult! Get THREE copies of the Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words, PLUS have your name be included in the rules in an example of play! You’ll also get 10 extra copies of the rules SIGNED by the inventors to prove your devotion to Cthulhu to your friends and families. Cthulhu will accept only a few devotees at this level!

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    Love the Craft! Get TWO copies of the Deluxe Edition of Unspeakable Words, TWO copies of the Classid Edition, PLUS have your name be included in the rules in an example of play! You’ll also get 10 extra copies of the rules SIGNED by the inventors to prove your devotion to Cthulhu to your friends and families. We only have so much room in the rules to include these names so we'll have to limit this to 6 as well.

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Funding period

- (32 days)