g x n x . u k
not completing words
(9 April 2016; revised 30 May 2016)
Not Completing Words
This is a game for two players that is particularly well suited to SMS text-messaging. It is based on a game my family used to play on car journeys when I was a child.
Players take turns to say a single letter, and thus cumulatively build a word. If you complete a word, however, you lose. You also lose if, when challenged, you cannot cite a real word towards which your latest letter could have been building. Matches consist of sets of twenty-six games, one for each letter of the alphabet.
01. A coin-toss decides who goes first (or 'serves') in the first game.
02. Thereafter, service alternates between players.
03. The server starts the game by saying a letter.
04. The letter served must be one that has not already been used to start a game in the current set.
05. (Thus, the maximum number of games in a set is 26.)
06. On your turn, you have three options:
07. You can say a letter, in which case the game continues,
08. you can concede defeat, in which case the game ends and your opponent wins one point,
09. or you can challenge your opponent, in which case the game ends and points are awarded as set out below.
10. There are two types of challenge:
11. A "That's-A-Word!" challenge is when you accuse your opponent of completing a word.
12. If your opponent agrees that a word has been completed, you win one point.
13. If your opponent denies that a word has been completed, the dispute is resolved by consulting 'Dictionary Corner' (see below).
14. If it turns out that you were right and your opponent has completed a word, you win one point.
15. If it turns out that you were wrong and your opponent has not really completed a word, your opponent wins one point.
16. (No penalty points are at stake in a "That's-A-Word!" challenge.)
17. The second type of challenge is a "What's-Your-Word?" challenge, when you think your opponent is bluffing, or mistaken, and has no real word in mind.
18. If your opponent can't come up with a word when challenged, you win one point.
19. If your opponent does come up with a word, you have two further options:
20. You can concede defeat, in which case your opponent wins one point,
21. or you can object to the word, in which case its validity is decided by consulting 'Dictionary Corner' (see below).
22. If your objection was justified (it turns out not to be a real word), you win one point.
23. If your objection was unjustified (it turns out that the word really does exist), your opponent wins two points, one for the win and one penalty point for the unfounded objection.
24. For all purposes in this game, a word is disallowed if it is:
25. fewer than three letters long,
26. a proper noun,
27. an abbreviation,
28. or in none of the dictionaries in 'Dictionary Corner'.
29. 'Dictionary Corner': Unless otherwise agreed before play begins, the only dictionaries that may be consulted are Chambers, Collins, and Dictionary.com.
30. Players may not refer to notes, books or the internet during play except for the purpose of a 'Dictionary Corner' adjudication.
31. There are no tie-breaks. Tied sets are simply recorded as such.
32. The winner of a match is the first player to win eight sets.
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