NEW YORK (AP) — Here’s the sitch, Scrabble stans. Your convos around the board are about to get more interesting with about 500 new words and variations added to the game’s official dictionary: stan, sitch, convo, zedonk, dox and fauxhawk among them.
Out this month, the add-ons in the seventh edition of “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” join more than 100,000 words of two to eight letters. The book was last updated in 2018 through a longstanding partnership between Hasbro and Merriam-Webster.
The new words include some trademarks gone generic — dumpster for one — some shorthand joy like guac, and a delicious display of more verb variations: torrented, torrenting, adulted, adulting, atted, atting (as in don’t at me, bro).
“We also turned verb into a verb so you can play verbed and verbing,” said Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, Peter Sokolowski, a smile on his face and a word-nerd glitter in his eye during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.
Fauxhawk, a haircut similar to a Mohawk, is potentially the highest scoring newbie, he said. Embiggen, a verb meaning to increase in size, is among the unexpected. (Sample sentence: “I really need to embiggen that Scrabble dictionary.”)
Compound words are on the rise in the book with deadname, pageview, fintech, allyship, babymoon and subtweet. So are the “uns,” such as unfollow, unsub and unmute. They may sound familiar, but they were never Scrabble official, at least when it comes to the sainted game’s branded dictionary.
FILE - Scrabble games are displayed at a store in Palo Alto, Calif., on Feb. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
Tournament play is a whole other matter, with a broader range of agreed-upon words.
Sokolowski and a team of editors at Merriam-Webster have mined the oft-freshened online database at Merriam-Webster.com to expand the Scrabble book. While the official rules of game play have always allowed the use of any dictionary that players sanction, many look to the official version when sitting down for a spot of Scrabble. Some deluxe Scrabble sets include one of the books.
In the last year or two, the Scrabble lexicon has been scrubbed of 200-plus racial, ethnic and otherwise offensive words — despite their presence in some dictionaries. That has prompted furious debate among tournament players. Supporters of the cleanup called it long overdue. Others argued that the words, however heinous in definition, should remain playable so long as points are to be had.
Despite home play rules that never specifically banned offensive words, you won’t find the notorious 200 in the Scrabble dictionary, with rare exceptions for those with other meanings.
The new Scrabble book includes at least one old-fashioned word that simply fell under the radar for years: yeehaw.
“Yeehaw is like so many of the older, informal terms. They were more spoken than written, and the gold standard for dictionary editing was always written evidence. So a term like yeehaw, which we all know from our childhood and in movies and TV, was something you heard. You didn’t read it that often,” Sokolowski said.
Yeehaw, meet bae, inspo, vibed and vibing, all new additions to the Scrabble dictionary. Ixnay, which was already in the book, has been promoted to a verb, so ixnayed, ixnaying and ixnays are now allowed.
Welp, thingie, roid, skeezy, slushee and hygge (the Danish obsession with getting cozy) also made the cut. So did kharif, the Indian subcontinent’s fall harvest.
The Merriam-Webster wordsmiths have added a slew of food-related words: iftar, horchata, kabocha, mofongo, zuke, zoodle, wagyu, queso and marg, for margarita, among them. Many Scrabble players couldn’t care less about definitions — only points — but informatively:
Iftar is a meal taken by Muslims at sundown to break the daily fast during Ramadan. Mofongo is a traditional Puerto Rican dish made of fried or boiled plantains. Horchata is a sweet drink and kabocha is a winter squash.
Zonkey joins zedonk among new words using a Z, one of the highest scorers in Scrabble along with Q (each has a face value of 10 points). The difference between those two wacky-sounding animals, you ask? A zonkey is sired from a male zebra and a female donkey. The parentage of a zedonk is the other way around. Zedonk even has a playable variation: zeedonk.
This photo shows the cover of the seventh edition of “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” released in November. The latest edition adds about 500 new words for Scrabble play. (Merriam-Webster via AP)
Zoomer, for a member of GenZ, is also new. Familiar with the Middle Eastern spice blend za’atar? A less common variant, zaatar, is now in the Scrabble dictionary. Words with apostrophes aren’t allowed.
And there’s more where all of that came from:
Oppo, jedi, adorbs, dox variant doxxed, eggcorn (a misheard slip of the ear), fintech, folx (inclusive alternative to folks), grawlix, hangry, matcha, onesie, spork, swole, unmalted, vaquita, vax and vaxxed were added.
Yes, jedi need not be capitalized. Wondering what grawlix means? It’s this: $%!(asterisk)#, a series of typographical symbols used to replace words one doesn’t want to write, usually those that got you into trouble as a kid.
Among other new eight-letter words, the kind that help players clear their seven-tile racks for 50 extra points: hogsbane, more commonly known as giant hogweed. Another: pranayam, a breath technique in yoga.
Sokolowski wouldn’t reveal all 500 of the new words, challenging players to hunt them down on their own. Are your Scrabble senses scrambled, so to speak?
“All of these are words that have already been vetted and defined and added to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, and now we’ve determined they’re playable in Scrabble,” Sokolowski said. “You’ve got some fun new words.”
So which new entry is the word master’s favorite? It’s the one that sounds like the way acorn is pronounced.
“I like eggcorn,” Sokolowski said, “because it’s a word about words.”
In strange and remote regions of space, death may not be the worst end…
A group of astronauts on a rescue mission lands on a desolate planet to learn the fate of a long-lost scientific vessel. With little over a day to investigate what happened, they discover that the planet itself and the encountered survivors hide horrible secrets that might endanger humanity.
Description from the publisher. Booth 641
The Lazax Empire has burned to ash, rejected by its subjects. The aftermath was tragedy and petty conflict in equal measure, a time of loss and exhaustion. In the ensuing Dark Years, the factions of the galaxy retreated and recovered their strength. Now, they look upon the stars and see an opportunity—a chance to reclaim what was lost. A chance to redefine galactic civilization. A chance to leave their mark upon the stars.
Twilight Inscription, an epic roll-and-write game for one to eight players, offers an experience unlike anything Fantasy Flight Games has done before. With a limited pool of resources at your disposal, you’ll need to carefully manage Navigation, Expansion, Industry, and Warfare as you amass victory points and earn your right to the throne on Mecatol Rex. Will your faction become the new rulers of the galaxy? Or will your fledgling empire fade into obscurity? Anything can happen in this strategic, infinitely-replayable game!
Description from the publisher. Booth 809.
Every year, there are a number of movie or television tie in games. Apart from E.T., there is Rear Window, The Librarians, and even a Looney Tunes game. From the publisher:
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Light Years From Home Game is a co-operative game in which you play as Elliot, Gertie, Mike, or Greg as they try to find parts for E.T. to create a communication device to contact his home planet. You race around the neighborhood using ramps and shortcuts to avoid federal agents bent on capturing E.T. To win, you must find all the parts of the device and get E.T. to the clearing when the mothership arrives to pick him up.
Burnt Island Games
"Experience a war between gnomes and trolls for the heart of the mountain." Yes, please. From the publisher:
The gnome attack was sudden and relentless. They swarmed our tunnels, defiling our mountain home and driving us from our ancestral caverns. Trolls from every clan rushed to the heart of the mountain to defend our Great Halls. We've lost track of how long we've been beating back the endless waves of invaders. Soon, it will be time for a final stand. Will we rise up like champions, or be driven out to the wilderness to fight for survival? Sharpen your blades, brothers and sisters! Raise your hammers! If we trolls must fall, we'll fall fighting like kings!
Fall of the Mountain King is a standalone prequel to In the Hall of The Mountain King, set during the catastrophic war that drove the trolls from their mountain kingdom generations ago. Build your ancestry to drive your actions in the caverns, win the loyalty of the clan Champions, and strive to be trolldom's greatest defender against the gnomish onslaught.
Want to make consumption of beer part of your gaming night? Heroes of Barcadia might be for you. From the publisher's site:
A pun-tastic dungeon exploration board game...that also involves drinking.
Heroes from all across Barcadia have gathered to claim glory in the realm’s greatest drinking competition! Alas, on the eve of the festivities a band of monsters stole all the drinks and hoarded them somewhere in a perilous, sprawling dungeon! Do you have what it takes to outmaneuver your opponents and become the hero who reclaims the precious Drink Hoard?
Van Ryder Games
Playing on a famous horror movie trope, Final Girl is a solitaire-only game that puts the player in the shoes of a female protagonist who must kill the slasher if she wants to survive.
The Core Box, when combined with one of our Feature Film Boxes, has everything you need to play the game. Each Feature Film Box features a unique Killer and and iconic Location, and the more Feature Films you have, the more killer/location combinations you can experience!
Description from the publisher. Booth 2949
In a peaceful galaxy, a new technology has been invented: wormholes. They allow ships to warp from one point to another, which opens up countless possibilities for commerce and travel. As the captain of a passenger spaceship newly equipped with a wormhole fabricator, you can make some serious space bucks by building a robust network of wormholes. Link the farthest reaches of space while delivering passengers to become the most successful captain in this golden age of spacefaring. It’s time to bend space and go fast.
In Wormholes, players collect passengers from planets, each of whom have specific destinations they aim to reach. However, this pick-up-and-deliver process can be quite different once you establish wormholes between different points of the galaxy — and like any good business, your service can be used by other players...at the cost of a few points.
Description from publisher. Booth 801, or find it on Amazon.
Role-playing games in a box are having a moment, and Critical: Foundation is the latest. From the publisher:
It's 2035, and the world has changed a little. Huge multinationals have taken over, and nanotechnologies are part of everyday life. Icarus was created to respond to the new challenges that this new way of life brings. Its goal: Investigate sensitive cases and undertake delicate operations.
Critical: Foundation (Season 1) is constructed like a television series, with each of the nine episodes taking 30 minutes to play. You can take on the role of Gamemaster, who directs the adventure, or play as one of the characters to put yourself in the story. The game provides an RPG-style experience with board game scaffolding via character cards and dice-based combat.
It wouldn't be GenCon without a fun looking cat game. From the publisher:
Cat in the Box is the quintessential quantum trick-taking card game for 2 - 5 cool cats, where your card's color isn’t defined until you play it! Hypothesize how many tricks you will win, and record your bid. Place tokens on the community research board as you play your hand, and connect large groups of tokens to score even more points. Plan your tricks carefully as you cannot claim the color of a card with the same number that has already been declared. Doing so would be pawsitively catastrophic as you have just created a paradox! (Notice this does not say pair o' dogs. Gross.)
In Northgard: Uncharted Lands, players lead a viking clan discovering a new continent. There are many paths to claim your fair share of these uncharted lands: explore, build and develop bountiful territories, hunt terrifying monsters and fight the other clans!
Description from publisher. Booth 2109
For generations, the rats in the old junkyard have been telling each other the great legend about a moon made out of cheese and they want nothing more than to reach this inexhaustible treasure. One day, the little rat children discovered a comic in the junkyard that described the first landing on the moon, and thus the plan was born: Build a rocket and take over the cheese moon!
Fortunately, the junkyard has everything the rats need to build their rocket, and the other animals are willing to support this daring venture — at least if they're well paid. Of course, all the rats work together to achieve this mighty goal. However, each rat family competes to build the most rocket parts and to train the most rattronauts so they can feast on as much of the lunar cheese as possible.
Description from publisher. Booth 2635
In A Battle Through History, each player wears the clothes of a time-traveling storyteller whose journey through historical eras enables them to relive epic battles alongside legendary troops and heroes. During a game, players play era tiles into the "Gear of History" to customize their deck of cards and move their character in space and time in order to fight and recruit troops from different historical battles or challenge opponents in player vs. player combat. As you build an army made of soldiers from different ages, you use it to collect relics from different places and times. Whoever collects the greatest units and the bravest heroes, leads them to victory, and gathers relics during their travels wins the game.
Description from publisher. Booth 2635
The walls were lined with iron shelves, each metal slat overfilled with glass jars containing formaldehyde and grotesque curiosities within. Pristine brass tools and refined metals of a quality I had never before laid eyes upon were strewn across sturdy slabs of rock and wood, their edges sharp with use. However, my eyes were soon drawn to a sturdy writing desk, its mahogany eaves inlaid with thin strips of copper, the center of which contained a well-worn leather-bound book. My father's journal — passed down to me and representing years of knowledge and countless experiments. And inside that weathered tome, atop the pearly parchment oxidized yellow at its frayed edges, were the deliberate quill marks of a crazed genius outlining the ambitious project he could never complete in one lifetime — his masterwork.
Without realizing it, my hands were shaking as I clutched the book to my chest. At once, I felt an ownership and anxiety for the scientific sketches scrawled so eloquently on those frayed sheets. It was at that moment that I began my obsession: I would restore this laboratory to its former brilliance and dedicate my life to completing my father's work!
In My Father's Work, players are competing mad scientists entrusted with a page from their father's journal and a large estate in which to perform their devious experiments. Players earn points by completing experiments, aiding the town in its endeavors, upgrading their macabre estates, and hopefully completing their father's masterwork.
But they have to balance study and active experimentation because at the end of each generation, all of their experiments and resources are lost to time until their child begins again with only the "Journaled Knowledge and Estate" they have willed to them — and since the game is played over the course of three generations, it is inevitable that the players will rouse the townsfolk to form angry mobs or spiral into insanity from the ethically dubious works they have created. The player with the most points at the end of three generations wins and becomes the most revered, feared, ingenious scientist the world has ever known!
Description from the publisher. Booth 2309
25th Century Games
It's a little-known fact that ghosts love to eat candy. But they can only eat it one night a year...Halloween! On that night, the ghosts travel through the neighborhood looking for delicious candy. Using their best scare tactics, ghosts will haunt the costumed kiddos to steal their sweet sweet candy. But they have to be careful not to scare them away. Ghosts just want a candy delight, not to cause them a fright.
This new edition expands upon the original version with more kids (100 total!), a new "junk" set of treats that you do not want to collect (like toothbrushes, rocks, ketchup packets, pennies, etc.) and new ghosts.
Playing the game is easy. Select one of your ghost cards to bid for turn order. Then resolve by choosing a kid to haunt, taking their candy then using their unique ability. Treats score at the end of the game based on your ghosts specific preferences.
Note: Ghosts Love Candy Too is a revised and expanded new version of Ghosts Love Candy, released by Steve Jackson games in 2016.
Description from the publisher. Booth 1457
The original Call to Adventure game is a favorite, and the follow-up also looks like a winner. From the publisher:
Craft your hero. Cast the runes. Claim your destiny! Call to Adventure: Epic Origins is the next edition of the award-winning Call To Adventure game series. The hero-building card game reaches new heights with classic fantasy races, classes, and challenges.
Find it at booth 331 or on Amazon.
It is no surprise the journalist is excited about the newspaper game. But Fit to Print ads some fun dynamics compared to similar games. From the publisher:
Thistleville is the world’s most bustling little town — it’s a challenge to keep up with everything going on, from who took home first prize for their baked goods at the community fair to who has been digging in Mrs. Brambleberry’s carrot patch.
As an editor at one of the local newspapers, your job is to tell their stories!
The front page is due in just a few hours and you have no time for perfection. Grab the big stories before the other papers get a chance, and make sure you get the right photos too. A newspaper is a business, so the money has to come from somewhere — don’t forget the ads! After you’ve picked out a combination of stories, photos, and ads, it’s time to lay out the front page. Did you take enough tiles to fill the paper, but not so many that things have to be cut? Over the course of three hectic days, your skills will be tested as you compete to be the most newsworthy editor!
Find it at booth 2853
Familiar Tales is a co-operative, deck-building, fantasy adventure for 1-4 players. It's an exciting narrative game in which players take on the roles of a wizard's familiars, entrusted with saving and raising a displaced princess. They must keep her safe from the evil forces that would see her dead, but when it comes to children, it is not enough to merely survive! The familiars know that every choice they make will affect the young one in their care. If they are victorious and the throne is reclaimed, what kind of woman will sit upon it?
Players will explore a massive world through the pages of a fantastical story book filled with branching paths and memorable characters. Fight off enemies, and explore the many nooks and crannies of an enchanted world. Experience a professionally narrated, fully scored, decade-spanning fantasy epic. Easily downloadable for both Mac and Windows, this browser-based app is required to play Familiar Tales. Think of it as an automated game master and storyteller! The app also features a digital, searchable rulebook.
An innovative card play system allows players to level up their familiars by building and customizing their skill decks. Players will use their skill cards to perform all manner of exciting actions throughout their campaign.
Description by the publisher. Booth 1217, or find it on Amazon
Silicon Valley puts players in the shoes of budding entrepreneurs struggling to be the first amongst their competitors to have their startup company valued at $1 billion.
Players hire staff for their start-up company to put out new products, with the nature of the products being determined by patterns that you build with polyominoes. By putting these products on the market, you gain income, but other players might copy your product and take some of that money for themselves — refining your ideas to steal market share, as it were. Along the way you need to acquire funding, hire and fire staff, seek investors, expand your HQ, and try not to go bankrupt while working you way toward being the first company to be valued at $1 billion, which nets you the win.
Description from publisher. Booth 2946
Red Raven Games
Knights and demons battle in an ancient abbey.
In Thornmar Abbey, an ancient order of holy knights watches over a sealed portal to the underworld. The knights must protect the elders—ancient sages who sustain the seal. After decades of peace, the seal has weakened and demons are emerging from the rift. The demons seek to battle past the valiant knights and kill enough of the elders to fully break the seal before morning. Imbued with the power of the gods, only these brave knights stand a chance of protecting the elders and stopping an army of monsters from flooding into the world.
Description by the publisher. Booth 516
Deep Print Games
Fifty years ago, humanity began mining the Moon and the asteroids, and for decades that task was firmly kept in the hands of the World Government. But the turmoils of recent years have caused this enterprise to collapse. Now, adventurous companies and private investors take to the sky to revive this mining network.
As investors, you try to earn the most CrypCoin over the course of seven rounds. You do this by investing mined resources in companies and by spreading their outposts. You can improve your earnings by supporting your scientists’ research and by having them collect precious helium-3.
Description from the Publisher. Booth 2635
"Codes are a puzzle. A game, just like any other game."
- Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.
Turing Machine is a fascinating and competitive deduction game. It offers a unique experience of questioning a proto-computer that works without electricity or any sort of technology, paving the way for a new generation of deduction games.
The Goal? Find the secret code before the other players, by cleverly questioning the machine. With Turing Machine, you’ll use an analog computer with unique components made of never-before-seen perforated cards.
The game offers more than seven million problems from simple to mind-staggeringly complex combinations, making the gameplay practically endless!
Publisher's description. Booth 2109
Emperor Qin Shi Huang has passed away. To protect him in the afterlife, a great army in the form of statues of faithful warriors must be assembled to stand guard in the Emperor's tomb. You will be among those tasked with building this magnificent army.
In Terracotta Army, you represent talented craftsmen and artists laboring to build the wondrous assembly of statues. During the game, you collect resources, upgrade your workers, and seek favor with the Emperor's advisors. Your goal is to play a crucial role in the process of creating the terracotta army, and your success is measured in victory points (VPs). During the game, you and your fellow players build the army together, but after the fifth round of the game is over, only one of you — the one with the most points — will stand as the winner.
Description from the publisher. Booth 2535
Gutenberg is a board game for 1-4 people in which players will play as the pioneers of printing in the 15th century. By carrying out orders, they will build their wealth and fame. By improving their printing workshops and gaining the support of patrons, they will develop their production capacity. The game will be won by a printer who boasts the greatest recognition and wealth.
Description by the publisher. Find it at booth 937, or on Amazon.
Adam's Apple Games
Our planet has run out of resources, and we are forced to move. We have discovered a series of planets and sent our rovers to test their environment with the hope of colonization. Our rovers have confirmed 1-6 viable colonization options.
Planet Unknown is a competitive game for 1-6 players in which players attempt to develop the best planet. Each round, each player places one polyomino-shaped, dual-resource tile on their planet. Each resource represents the infrastructure needed to support life on the planet. Every tile placement is important to cover your planet efficiently and also to build up your planet's engine. After placing the tile, players do two actions associated with the two infrastructure types on the tile. Some tile placements trigger "meteors" that make all planets harder to develop and prevent them from scoring points in the meteor's row and column.
Planet Unknown innovates on the popular polyomino trend by allowing simultaneous, yet strategic turn-based play via the Lazy S.U.S.A.N. space station in the center of the table.
Description from the publisher. Find it at booth 1930 or on Amazon.
Take on the role of one of the great monarchs of the past, and show your valor! You will arrive in a vast and rich territory, but the road to the prosperity is filled with challenges.
In Brazil: Imperial, you need to construct buildings, manage resources, explore the land, create trade, acquire the support of the greatest personalities of the country, and recruit a powerful army to protect your interest against the rival states. If you make the right choices, you can complete missions to progress to a more advanced era, receiving new interesting options of development and victory points. In the end, the best monarch receives the title of Brazilian Emperor and constructs a new era of prosperity, freedom and peace!
Description from the publisher. Booth 937
Welcome aboard and congrats on the promotion! Your "new" starship is ready to embark on its first big voyage. Just scrape off some of the rust, and she'll do fine. And that crew? Might look a little green around the edges, but they're your crew now. Make us proud.
The stars are calling...and adventure awaits!
As newly promoted Starship Captains, players are in command of their first starship and hungry to prove themselves in a galaxy full of space pirates, grumpy old androids, ancient artifacts, and interplanetary adventures.
In this 2-4 player Eurostyle game, which mixes action selection and engine building, you'll manage a diverse crew of cadets, ensigns, androids, and officers — each with different special roles and capabilities. By earning medals, you can promote and train your crew for even greater effectiveness. Similarly, you can upgrade your ship with powerful engine building technology for maximum synergy.
What will you do with this enhanced crew and ship? Explore an ever-shifting galaxy full of dangerous pirates and interplanetary missions in order to boost your reputation with three distinct galactic factions for bountiful rewards.
Do you have what it takes to deftly command your crew and become the best captain in the cosmos? We'll see!
Description from the publisher. Room 235-239
In Ark Nova, you will plan and design a modern, scientifically managed zoo. With the ultimate goal of owning the most successful zoological establishment, you will build enclosures, accommodate animals, and support conservation projects all over the world. Specialists and unique buildings will help you in achieving this goal.
Description from the publisher. Find it at booth 459 or on Amazon.
Build your witch coven, enthrall the townsfolk, and rise to power as the new Septima.
Only in a few corners of the world is the memory of magic still alive, even though a few centuries ago its healing power permeated everything. Witches, its last remaining practitioners, have always been outcasts and could help human society only in strict secrecy. The leader of their people, the Septima, has always been the wisest, most knowledgeable witch. Now, as her time is coming to an end, witches from all over the world gather at Noctenburg to leave their mark on the hostile town and prove to the Septima that they are her worthy successor.
Septima is a competitive, highly interactive strategy game of witchcraft. As the leader of your coven, you must prove your worth in the town of Noctenburg to become the successor of Septima, the High Witch. Practice your craft and gain Wisdom by collecting herbs, brewing potions, healing the townsfolk, mastering charms and rescuing your fellow brothers and sisters from the trials. But beware: magic, even if used for good, invokes suspicion in the townsfolk...
Description from the publisher. Booth 2319
CoraQuest is the highly anticipated lockdown Kickstarter hit designed by Dan Hughes and his 8-year-old daughter, Cora. A co-operative dungeon crawling game for 1-4 players where kids and grown-ups play together. Avoid traps, find treasure, fight monsters, and sometimes rescue a gnome called Kevin! Spark your imagination by creating your own heroes, monsters and adventures that will truly make your CoraQuest experience unique, time and time again. 1-4 players Ages 6+ 60 minute play time
Description from Amazon. Find it at booth 2400A or on Amazon.