Introduction: Alphacubes

Alphacubes is a modified version of Scrabble®, using cubical blocks with letters on their faces to make words. By using cubic letterpieces, players have a considerably larger scope of letters from which to build their words. This allows more complicated words to be formed , and much higher scores to be obtained.

( You can also use Alphacubes to play the commercial game of Scrabble® Crossword Cubes : see here


98 wooden blocks, 15 mm x 15 mm x 15 mm See file ALPHACUBES.pdf for letters

Stiff cardboard approx 300 mm x 300 mm See file BOARD 17X17.pdf

Wooden racks ( as used in Scrabble®)

Step 1: Instructions

Alphacubes is a word building game which uses a set of 98 cubical wooden blocks bearing the letters of the alphabet, and a board of 17 x 17 squares having 81 premium scoring squares. The complete set of cubes is listed in Appendix A with the total point score for each cube. Every cube has five different letters and the total point score for the cube is shown on the bottom face. The distribution of letters among the cubes is otherwise completely random.

Each player draws 7 cubes at random from the set of cubes, and players then take turns to form words by placing their cubes on the board with any of its five letters uppermost, with the uppermost letter used to calculate the score for the word. A cube placed on a premium square increases the player's score according to the instruction on the square.

The player's score is calculated for every new word created in that turn, including any letters already on the board. Score premiums are applied only to the turn when a letter was first placed on the square.

At the start of the game, the first player must place one of the letters in their word on the centre square [ 2 x WORD ].

If all 7 cubes are played in one turn, the player gains a bonus of 50 points ( called a “splash” ).

After a player has had their turn, they draw more cubes from the stock to replenish their hand to a total of 7. Except for the first word of the game, all new words must attach to at least one letter of an existing word.

A player may opt to pass their turn and exchange one or more cubes from their hand with cubes from the stock. At the end of the game the total point scores of each player's remaining unplayed cubes is deducted from their word score total.

Players should agree before the game on the words which are allowed. A comprehensive dictionary should be available as a reference. If the players agree, a reference such as the Scrabble® Dictionary can be used, but this does not contain words longer than 8 letters, and contains many questionable words such as XU ( a unit of currency in Vietnam, this should not be allowed as it is obviously a foreign word.)

If any word placed by a player is challenged by another player, and the word is found to be disallowed, it must be removed and the player misses a turn. If the word is ruled as acceptable, the challenger must miss a turn.

Step 2: Game Example

The following game is shown as an example; the players are identified as Orange, Yellow, Green & Blue. Orange plays first, with VALIDLY on 9:E scoring (18x2) + 50 = 86 points ( Board 1 )

Yellow then plays EXPAN[D] at I:4 for 24 points. ( Board 2 )
Green plays RE[L]AX at G:7 for 30 points ( Board 3 ) Blue plays FO[X]TAILS at E:11 for 22 + 50 = 72 points ( Board 4 )

The remaining plays are as follows :
Orange : G[R]E[A]VE at 7:F for 11 points : Total = 97

Yellow : [S]HAVER at 11:L for 32 points : Total = 56

Green : QUANDAR[Y] at F:16 for 28 + 50 = 78 points : Total = 108

Blue : J[A]CKING at K:13 for (22 x 2) = 44 points : Total = 116

Orange : SHEAVIN[G] at 6:Q for (16 x 3 ) + 50 = 98 points : Total = 195

Yellow : EXP[I]RY at 10:O for ( 34 x 2 ) = 68 points : Total = 124

Green : CH[E]CK at Q:4 for 23 points : Total = 131

Blue : WIN[K]S at K:1 for 14 points : Total = 130
Orange : WIDO[W]ER at 1:G for ( 14 x 3 ) = 42 points : Total = 237

Yellow : [W]AT[C]H at G:1 for 15 points : Total = 139

Green : QUIE[T] at C:3 for ( 14 x 2 ) = 28 points : Total = 159

Blue : [Q]UIZ at C:3 for 22 points : Total = 152

Orange : [F]LAX at E:11 for ( 14 x 2 ) =28 points : Total = 265

Yellow : E[X]ILE at D:14 for ( 12 x 3 ) = 36 points : Total = 175 Yellow has used all of their cubes and there are none in stock. The two other players ( Green & Blue ) now have one turn each to complete the round*. Orange was the first to play, so they do not get another turn.

Green : [R]ITZ at M:1 for 14 points : Total = 173

Blue : [T]AXES at 3:M for (12 x 2) = 24 points : Total = 176

Green and Blue now have no cubes left, and Orange is left with 3 cubes having a total of 11 + 11 + 8 = 30 points which are deducted from their score, leaving a Total of 235, which wins the game. The winner's score is just over 60 points ahead of the other three scores; this is because Orange played two 50 point “splashes” ( playing all 7 cubes in one turn ), while the others only played one each. It will be apparent that every opportunity to play a splash should be taken if possible to gain the maximum score. Also using the high scoring letters J(8), X(8), Q(10) and Z(10) in combination with the premium squares is a good strategy to obtain high scores.

* When all players still have cubes left in their hand and a player is unable to play a word in their turn, the next player continues if they are able. Play continues until either one player uses all of their cubes ( when the round is then completed as above ) or no one can play, which ends the game. Any unplayed cubes have their point scores deducted from the player's word total. If several games are played, the scores may be aggregated to decide the winner

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