About this project
What is REWORDABLE?
Rewordable is a uniquely fragmented word game. The 120 card deck of one, two, and three letter sequences has been carefully crafted through language analysis techniques to encourage the creation of longer, more common words.
How do you play?
Rewordable is a game for 2-8 players. Each game uses a variable subset of 60 cards from the 120 card game deck to provide a unique language experience every time. The goal is to build up the biggest lexicon of words. Players take turns making words, using at least one card from their hand. Players may also use cards from the center pool, add onto their own already constructed words, or steal words from other players. 16 Rewardable reward tokens give players a changing set of goals, potential strategies, and bonuses every turn. (See the rules.)
How is it different?
Most word-building games use individual letters as their game pieces, and assign a value to letters based on how common they are in the English language. Makes sense, right? But there’s a frustrating side effect to this design: the highest-scoring words tend to be the shortest and most obscure. (Think of someone scoring 50 points for playing “XU” in Scrabble.) We think that word games are more fun when you don’t have to memorize a dictionary just to be competitive. So when we made Rewordable, we carefully engineered the cards to facilitate the construction of longer, more common, more satisfying words, leading to an inclusive and engaging experience for players of all skill levels.
How did we make it?
Rewordable is the result of a computer-aided game design process, using both computational analysis and extensive in-person playtesting. We made a computer simulation capable of playing thousands of Rewordable rounds in seconds, and then fed it a variety of decks based on the most common and most widely distributed one-, two- and three-letter sequences in English. The simulation told us how often each sequence was used across the simulated rounds – which helped us to reason about which cards worked well with each other and which were less useful.
Using results from these simulations, we created prototype decks with the best combinations of letter sequences and test them out with our (human) playtesters. After incorporating player feedback, we fed the deck back into the simulation, allowing us to quickly understand how the changes affected the overall balance and tempo of the game.
This iterative process helped us build a deck not just of common letter sequences, but of letter sequences that uniquely work together to create balanced gameplay. For example, TIO is a very common letter sequence in English, but because it almost always needs an N card to be useful, it’s very difficult to use in a game of Rewordable. Our playtesters told us that TIO was useless, and the simulation confirmed it – so we dropped it. We brought this same critical process to all 120 cards in the deck.
Additionally, we made careful adjustments to the Rewordable deck to balance the ratio of single-letter cards (blue), two-letter cards (pink), and three-letter cards (yellow) and to keep the representation of single letters across the deck consistent with their general frequency in English. You can see aspects of this iterative process visualized in the GIF below.
We’ve tested Rewordable on kitchen tables, coffee tables, and carpet, and at bars, cafes, local meet-ups, and most regularly the NYU Game Center’s invaluable Playtest Thursdays. We’re so grateful to our many fantastic playtesters who played our game through months of rule changes, new game mechanics, and drastic shifts in deck composition. We wouldn’t have made it this far without their insight.
What do people think?
This summer we were the first non-digital game to be accepted as part of the NYU Game Center’s Incubator program. We’ve also shown at the Revolutionary Learning Conference’s Arcade event and will be part of the NYC Media Lab 2016 Summit at Columbia University this September.
We’ve played this game a lot over the past few months (and years) and by far our favorite reaction is when someone sits down to play and after a while says, “This game is incredibly frustrating. I think it broke my brain. Where can I buy a copy?” If you’re curious and want to see what actual games of Rewordable look like, visit our Instagram and Twitter accounts.
We want to get the game to as many people as we can reach. To everyone that loves word games and to everyone that hates word games – but might just love Rewordable.
To do a large print run though, we need a minimum number of copies. 1500 to be exact. To help cover this initial cost, we need your help. Backing the Kickstarter will secure you one of these first print run copies of the game and help us get the game to lots of other people (and earn you some high energy thanks from us).
What’s in the box?
Every copy of the game includes 120 cards, 16 reward tokens, and an 8-page full color rule booklet – all nestled inside a cozy Rewordable box.
What do you get?
RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE ($20 and up)
Get a copy of the first print run of Rewordable! That's 120 cards, 16 reward tokens, and a nifty rule booklet – all nestled inside of a cozy Rewordable box.
RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE x2 ($35 and up)
Get two copies of Rewordable! Keep one for yourself and give a gift of word to a friend.
W•EAR•A•BLE ($40 and up)
Get a copy of Rewordable AND a snazzy W•EAR•A•BLE t-shirt (avaliable in a variety of sizes). Choose one of two t-shirt designs: a visualization of all 120 Rewordable cards in solid cyan, magenta, and yellow hues or a portrait of our unofficial mascot, the NE•ON LA•SE•R L•ION.
MA•G•NE•TI•C ($50 and up)
Get a copy of Rewordable AND a special MA•G•NE•TI•C edition of the cards. That's Rewordable but magnetized! Build words while waxing poetically on your favorite refrigerator, filing cabinet, or robot buddy.
RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE PRO ($65 and up)
Be a Rewordable PRO! Get a copy of the game, your choice of a snazzy W•EAR•A•BLE t-shirt, and the MA•G•NE•TI•C edition of the cards. Decorate yourself and your kitchen in preparation for some serious PRO word gaming.
RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE x5 ($80 and up)
Want more RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE? Get 5 copies of the game in this special bundle for your educational, retail, or gift-giving goals.
RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE EXPERT ($95 and up)
Be a Rewordable EXPERT! Get all of the PRO gear – a copy of the game, your choice of a snazzy W•EAR•A•BLE t-shirt, and the MA•G•NE•TI•C edition of the cards – plus an extra copy of the game for a friend and a totally TO•TE•A•BLE tote bag to carry around all of your EXPERT-level supplies.
RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE x10 ($150 and up)
Want more RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE? Get 10 copies of the game in this special bundle for your educational, retail, or gift-giving goals.
RE•W•OR•D•A•BLE Star ($250 and up)
Be a Rewordable star! We will send you two copies of the game, your choice of a W•EAR•A•BLE t-shirt, the special MA•G•NE•TI•C edition of the cards, and the totally TO•TE•A•BLE tote bag. PLUS, we will send you a limited edition 11"x17" print of Rewordable data-inspired art and some awesome secret bonus surprises! You're stellar!
Who are we?
There are three of us in Team Rewordable. We all met as students at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). Since graduating, we each have worked in diverse sectors of media, technology, education, and games, reuniting now to bring Rewordable to you.
Allison Parrish is a computer programmer, poet and game designer whose teaching and practice address the unusual phenomena that blossom when language and computers meet. She has recently given talks on computer-generated poetry at the Electronic Literature Organization conference, !!Con, Alt-AI, SXSW Interactive and Eyeo. From 2014 to 2016, Allison was the Digital Creative Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University, and has recently been a research resident at DBRS Innovation Labs and a Processing Foundation fellow. Allison is currently a member of the full-time faculty at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Adam Simon is an innovation-driven entrepreneur, having used technology to build innovative experiences for over fifteen years. His work has included directing live performances and television, designing games and theme park attractions, and creating new platforms for media distribution and consumption. In 2008, he founded Socialbomb to work with clients like HBO, Red Bull, Technicolor, and the BBC to build breakthrough mobile social software. Recently, Adam joined the IPG Media Lab to bring innovation-driven solutions to a new caliber of global client, while he continues to consult on creative technology strategy, design, and development for companies of all sizes. His work has earned him a Clio and several Webbys, and has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fast Company, and Gizmodo.
Tim Szetela is a designer, animator, and digital artist. He makes maps, media, and games that visualize language, location, data, and technology. His work has been shown at museums, festivals, and exhibitions around the world. He also collaborates on the production of digital content and consults on technology and design for a wide range of companies, organizations, filmmakers, and artists. He has taught courses and workshops in media production, design, and computing at New York University, the School of Visual Arts, Harvard University, and Mexico's Monterrey Institute of Technology.
Risks and challenges
Thanks to the time we spent hard at work in the NYU Game Center Incubator, we’ve managed to lock down the visual design and game mechanics of Rewordable. The only thing left for us to do is to get the game manufactured and shipped to you. Discussions with printers are well underway, but we won’t be able to commit to exact details until we have a better sense of our campaign’s success. There's a risk of delay in any large scale production and distribution, but we've built in extra time into our schedule to account for potential delays – and hope to get you all your rewards ahead of schedule. We’re absolutely committed to delivering a perfect product to you in as short a time as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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