This week I’m going to present to you a word game which was inspired by French linguist Emile Benveniste’s theory of layers of signification. Enjoy!
Game Idea #35
Emil is a word game for 3-5 players. The game starts with as many closed letter-cards in the center as there are players. The rest of the letter-cards is equally distributed among the players. During game turns, the players will first unveil the closed letter-cards, generate as many words and sentences as possible from the letters available in the center, and then add one card from the cards they possess. The players will prefer to add a letter that makes it difficult for the player who follows to create new words. When all players have added one new card, each one will remove one of the cards in the center. The player who scored the most points when all letter-cards have been played and removed, wins the game.
A player can alter the state of the game dramatically by carrying the generation of meaning from the word level to the sentence level. Once a player manages to create a sentence with the letters in the center, she doubles the score for each word in that sentence. If the following players cannot generate sentences and generate words, then they will only receive half the points they would normally receive for words. Therefore it’s critical to be able to build sentences.