Everything You Need to Know About Wordoku!
The weather is getting chillier (well, depending on where you live), the pumpkin spice is flowing, and it is time to dive into another Calliope Cozy Classic! This one was published in 2016 and designed by Boyan Radakovich. It’s time to learn all about Wordoku: Fun Spelled Out!
Wordoku has been proudly described as “Crossword Puzzles meet Sudoku” and truer words were never spoken. In this game, you’ll be making as many words as you can within your 4×4 grid (or 5×5 if you’re playing the advanced version), and you get bonus points for having “balanced” rows, which are rows that have all 4 symbols represented within them. The challenge comes in finding the balance (no pun intended?) in making bigger words that might not be balanced, and creating words in multiple rows and columns. It’s a delicate dance, but a brainteaser that never gets old.
How to Play
Quick Start Guide
Place all of the tiles in the middle of the table facedown so that only the symbols are visible, and shuffle them around a bit. Each player then takes 4 tiles of each symbol to set up a 4×4 grid. Each player also gets a pencil and score sheet.
Wordoku plays in three rounds that are 5 minutes each.
*Note: This guide is for the classic game with 4 symbols. If you are playing the advanced version, you’ll add in the black diamond tiles to make a 5×5 grid instead.
Start a 5-minute timer, and then flip over all of the tiles. You can move the tiles around any way you’d like, as long as they maintain a 4×4 grid. Your goal is to make as many 2, 3, or 4 letter words as possible both horizontally and vertically (diagonally does not count). You earn double points for having a “balanced” row, meaning a row that has all 4 symbols in it (that’s the Sudoku part!).
Tile Swap: You can swap one of each symbol tile with one from the draw pile (for a total of 4 tiles) in hopes of getting a better letter. There is a space on your score sheet to place the original tile.
Wild Letters: You can flip over a tile to make it a wild letter of any kind. The letter must be the same both horizontally and vertically, and you can only flip over one of each symbol tile. Wild letters count for zero points during scoring.
The biggest twist to Wordoku comes in the scoring: the person with the highest scoring letters isn’t always the winner!
Write down each word’s value (you can also write the word if that helps) on your scorepad and remember: if it’s a balanced row (one of each symbol) the word scores double points, and wild symbols don’t count for points (though the rest of the letters in the word do)
At the end of the first round, the person with the highest combination of letter scores earns a Victor token. On rounds 2 and 3, the person with the highest score receives a Victor token, but in addition, any player that beat their previous score also earns a Personal Best token. The person with the most tokens after three rounds (Victor and Personal Best combined) is the winner!
Frequently Asked Questions
So uh, I don’t see a letter Q in any of the tiles.
Technically not a question, but you’re correct! If you’re playing the standard version, you’ll be missing the letters J, V, W, X, and Z (those are the black diamond tiles) and there is no Wordoku tile with the letter Q. Considering how hard it is to make 2-4 letter words with a Q, it’s probably for the best. But you can make a wild letter a Q if you really need one!
Can I play this as a solo game?
Absolutely! Your goal is simply to beat your previous score (since you’ll always be the round victor)!
Is this a good game for Gameschooling?
It’s all about finding and making words, of course it’s good for gameschooling! If the goal is to see how many words you can make, go ahead and ignore the grid rules and just go wild!