Game Detail

TO START

Each player selects one letter from the letter bag. The nearest to A begins. These letters are returned to the bag. Players then select seven letters. These are placed onto the letter racks.

GENERAL PLAY

The first player combines two or more letters to form a word.  This is placed over one of the start positions.  These are the diamond squares.  The turn is completed by replenishing the number of letters back to seven.  Play passes to the left.  This process is repeated for each player.  Play returns to the first player, who attempts to develop his or her crossword.  Play again passes to the left and continues in this way until completion of the game.

STANDARD PLAY

The objective for each player is to cover four star squares. They can be anywhere on the board. This is providing they have not been excluded from play, stopped from play by blocking tactics, or already taken. Depending on the number of players:

Four players:  They start from any one of the diamond square positions.

Three players:  They start from any one of the diamond square positions. The three outer star squares, in the star quadrant not used to start a crossword, are excluded from play.

Two players:  They start from diamond square positions that are diagonally opposite on the board. The back four star squares, on each side of the board, are excluded from play.

STANDARD PLAY-WINNING

The winner is the first player to cover any four star squares.  If this cannot be achieved, it is the one with the most star squares covered.  If there are two or more with the same number, it is the one who comes closest to covering an uncovered star square.

 

STANDARD PLAY EXTRA

The rules are as standard play plus, before starting, players take an agreed number of letters from the letter bag.

 

Three/four players:  They are placed within the respective players star quadrant.

Two players:  They are placed within the players half of the board. This includes the star quadrant to the right of the players starting star quadrant.

Players must consider  including these letters in their crosswords or protecting them from the advances of another player. If they do not, they run the risk of being eliminated from the game.  The standard number of individual letters and their positions on the board are as follows:

Three/four players:  Players select one letter. They place this directly above the diamond square to the left of centre, to leave three square spaces between the letter and the diamond square.

Two players:  Players select two letters. They place these within the star quadrant to the right of their start position. The first letter is placed on the top diamond square. The second is placed horizontally to the left, to leave three spaces between the two.

There are many other variations that can be created, depending on the desired level of challenge.

STANDARD PLAY EXTRA – WINNING

The rules are as per “Standard play – winning” unless, at any time, a player manages to cover anyone of the squares, diagonally next to another players individually positioned letters. This is called Questique.  The player who achieves this, eliminates the other player. This player wins the game, if there are only two playing.  Eliminated players crosswords remain in position until conclusion of the game.  In “Partner play” if one partner is eliminated, the other partners win.

STAR QUADRANTS

There are four identical star quadrants arranged around the game board.  The outer limits of each are fixed by four star squares; one at each corner.

STAR SQUARE EXCLUSION

Eight blanks are available for this purpose.  When used, they are placed on the star squares to be excluded.

LETTER BLANKS

There are three letter blanks. They can be used to represent any letter.  Once specified and played, they can be retrieved by any player from any crossword, given that, it is the players turn and the specified letter can be exchanged in return.

LETTER EXCHANGE

Letters can be exchanged with those in the letter bag providing, it is the players turn and the turn is forfeited.

BLOCKING TACTICS

These are tactics used to try and stop other players from securing star squares or advancing on individually positioned letters.  It is achieved by trying to create a protective crossword shield.  In the case of star squares, this can be by placing words directly next to star squares.  Without actually covering star squares, this is the ultimate block.  This is because a minimum of one tile space must be maintained between players crosswords.   Examples of the ultimate block, including a double block (crosswords either side of a star square), are shown in fig 1.  

 

Whilst a minimum of one tile space must be maintained between players crosswords, letter tiles in diagonally adjacent squares can touch.   An example of this and a double block is shown in fig 3.  Players are eliminated, if letter tiles are placed diagonally adjacent to their individual letters.  An example of this is shown in Fig 3. The letter R was left unprotected and has been taken by the letter T in the word Pit.  The player who put down the word Pit has won the game.  Fig 4 shows a crossword shield where the letter M is well protected.  The letter D however is not so well defended and could be taken in two moves.

 

The above examples are shown in the Illustrated summary.

 

HANDICAPPING

This allows players of different abilities, to all play together and each stand a good chance of winning.  There are a number of possibilities, dependent on relative skill levels.  One or more can be used:

1) The number of star squares needed to win can be reduced for those less skilled.

2) The number of star squares needed to win can be increased for the skilled player.

3) The rules outlined under “Themed play” can be used for those more skilled.

4) The rules outlined under “Partner play” can be used when there are four players of mixed skills. They are paired according to skill. This is a good way of including younger players in the game.

5) The rules outlined under “Standard play extra” can be used for those more skilled with the following exception.  When there is only one skilled player, they must include individual letters in their crossword.

THEMED PLAY

Before starting a theme is selected.  This can be the same or different for each player.  This could be for example, music, art, science or sport.  Once agreed, all words formed must relate to the chosen theme.  All other rules apply.

TOKEN PLAY

Players agree to play for some form of token.  Before the start, each player puts eight tokens into a common pool.  Each time a players crossword covers a star square, they win a token.  The player who wins the game takes the remaining tokens.

PARTNER PLAY

Partners play diagonally opposite on the board.  They must cover a total of seven star squares between them to win.  All other rules apply.

FAST PLAY

Players do not play in turn but develop their crossword, as and when they think of a word.  All other rules apply.

SOLO PLAY

Play starts from any one of the diamond square positions.  The objective is to develop a single crossword that covers all the star squares, in the minimum number of moves, using the maximum number of different words.  Seven letters are used being replenished back to seven after each move.

CONSTRAINTS

The following apply to all variations and options:

1) The first word played by each player must cover as many diamond squares as possible.

2) Players crosswords cannot merge.

3) A minimum of one square space must be maintained between players crosswords although letter tiles in diagonally adjacent squares can touch, i.e. corner to corner.

4) Letters or words cannot be added to another players crossword.

5) Letters or words cannot be exchanged between players.

6) Individual letters cannot be moved once positioned on the board.

7) As per normal crossword convention, letters played in one turn must be in a single straight line.  This can either be vertically down or horizontally across the board.  Complete words must always be formed.

8) With the exception of blanks, letters cannot be moved once played.

9) Letters must always be selected at random from the letter bag i.e. it is not possible to choose letters.

10) Only words quoted in a recognised dictionary can be used, with the exception of proper nouns, abbreviations, foreign words and those requiring hyphens and apostrophes.

CONTENTS

Contained within a box, 480 x 245 x 45 mm:  150 letter tiles – includes 3 blanks,  letter bag,  8 blanks for excluding star squares,  4 letter racks,  game board, Educational features, Illustrated summary, Quick start and Game in detail leaflets.