Game Idea: Scrabble Dungeon

I’m not entirely sure where this idea came from, but bear with me…

Imaging a dungeon exploration game where you have to build the dungeon you are playing in by playing Scrabble (Or some other non trademarked version of the aforementioned word game).

Game Mechanics:

Each of the 26 letters of the English alphabet is designated a type of room, for example:

  • A. Easy monster room
  • B. Fire room.
  • C. Block Puzzle.
  • D. Boss fight.
  • Z. Treasure Room

A player is given 7 Letters to start with with which they must place a word down, this does two things:

  1. Creates the dungeon.
  2. Gives the player an amount of Experience points equal to the value of the word that they just played.

The player then has the option to play another word with their remaining letters, or enter the dungeon. Note that they don’t gain any new letters after playing a word.

In the dungeon the player has to overcome various obstacles, solve puzzles, fight monsters, perform acts of derring-do or whatever, they will gain items to help them along the way as the fight through the dungeon. As each room is completed the player will also be awarded a letter,  which they can use to place words on the board and expand the dungeon.

Each dungeon room will yield one letter, meaning that the player shouldn’t have more than 7 letters in their hand at any point, emulating scrabble, and forcing the player to play more letters and fight through the dungeon to play through the game.

Characters level up by gaining experience, whether or not they gain experience by killing stuff or just by playing letters is another matter, I’m not sure if it’s fair to only award experience points for placing letters as the letters you’d get would be random? I suppose it adds an element of chance to the game.

Getting the experience points for a room by placing it as part of a word before you play through it’s dungeon adds an interesting mechanic to the dungeon explorer genre.

Double/triple word and letter spaces would also probably have some effect on all the rooms that are associated with that placement, and there might be others that only had an effect on the dungeon rooms but not the word score.

I’m not sure what the win condition is, perhaps you just keep playing till you can’t put down any more words or till your character dies? Or like in Scrabble you play until you exhaust all the letters in the “Bag”?

Alternatively the game could be a two player game, in which the players battle it out between themselves. This would mean that a character could place a small word down and then complete a few sections of the dungeon while the other player is thinking of a word to prevent them from getting any more letters, you’d probably have to remove the limit on 7 letters per player, maybe have a limit of 10 letters to keep it fair?

Another possible game mechanic is that players can’t actually put down words that use tiles/letters for which they have not yet completed the dungeon room for. This forces the players to actually play the dungeon game, and puts a twist on the “You stole the place for my word” gripe that Scrabble players often moan to each other about it. “I didn’t steal it I fought for it”.

If the game is a two player game, then maybe players would gain some points for placing a word but would be able to get the same number of points again by being the first to complete the room associated with a tile?

Anyone have any thoughts?

Author: Omar

Omar is the main/only contributor to Ohmz.net. He is a Computer Programmer based in Glasgow Scotland.

One thought on “Game Idea: Scrabble Dungeon”

  1. Well, how about this as a variation with the same basic theme:

    Players take turns placing words as in normal scrabble. At the end of each round (i.e. all players have played a word), players don’t receive any points automatically; instead, they must fight through the dungeon rooms corresponding to the letters they have played. They can abandon their dungeoning efforts at any point through the word, but they do not receive any points for letters not defeated; thus dungeoning is required to get a decent score. Experience and score are treated as equivalent.

    The reason for dungeoning at the end of the round is that you can then do interesting things with letters that are re-used within a round – for example, you can declare the letter defeated and the 2nd player automatically gets the points without having to beat that room.

    The dungeoning turn sequence would need to differ from the scrabble turn sequence (maybe lowest-score first, so the guys with long words stand the best chance of freebie rooms?) or else whoever plays first always is at a disadvantage since they can’t get any freebies.

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