February 05, 2008

The things that should not be

I thought Pirates of the Caribbean Scrabble was the most unnecessary movie + board game tie-in ever...until I saw Shrek Othello.

I can tell you more about Pirates of the Caribbean Scrabble because that one I've seen in person. It has some extra rules -- for instance, you score lots of extra points for certain words that are related to piracy or for names of major characters in the films. Some of them appear in this picture of an illegal board position. I can't remember if all of those words score bonus points, but probably, and I know ELIZABETH was one of them for sure...for all the use that is, since I'm pretty sure no one will ever get to play it. It's nine letters long! So not only do you need the right letters, but you need at least two of the letters already on the board in the correct positions! And you need to be a good enough Scrabble player to spot it! And you need to be a good enough Scrabble player who is playing Pirates of the Caribbean Scrabble in the first place. Seems just a tad unlikely.

Also, there's a rule about making your opponent lose a turn by playing a special tile on any of the squares on the edge of the board. (At least, I think it's a special tile. If you could do it by playing any tile there, that would be insane. Normally you avoid playing out to the board's edge because it sets up your opponent for a triple word score, but if they lost a turn any time you played there -- chaos!)

Update: Of course there is also Shrek Scrabble. Board shape is different (which is actually kind of interesting), and words earning bonus points are SHREK, FIONA, and DONKEY. I suggest "There Will Be Scrabble" with bonus points for BLOOD, OIL, and MILKSHAKE.

Posted by Francis at 09:25 AM

Or you need to have set up ‘abet’ in just the right place, and not have, for instance, an opponent.


Posted by: Vardibidian at February 5, 2008 10:16 AM

Does Pirates of the Caribbean Scrabble have a lot of extra Rs?

Posted by: Doug Orleans at February 5, 2008 10:54 AM

Also, geez, a totally impossible board position right on the cover of Shrek Othello! Unless there are new rules for removing pieces, or something?

Posted by: Doug Orleans at February 5, 2008 10:57 AM

So what's your favorite marketing tie-in game?

Posted by: Marc Moskowitz at February 5, 2008 11:01 AM

I don't know, that's kind of like asking me what my favorite way to be poked in the eye is. I guess I'm actually fairly amused by the Simpsons edition of Clue, though.

Posted by: Francis at February 5, 2008 11:37 AM

Reiner Knizia did a number of Lord of the Rings marketing tie-in games that are pretty good: The Confrontation is my favorite, but I also like The Duel, the Fellowship card game, and the Two Towers card game. (I don't think he did a game for Return of the King, for some reason.)

Posted by: Doug Orleans at February 5, 2008 01:11 PM

(And of course Knizia's big-box cooperative game has a lot of fans, but that's not my kind of game.)

Posted by: Doug Orleans at February 5, 2008 01:13 PM

Oh, I hadn't even considered proper games. I guess I think of those as adaptations instead of tie-ins.

Posted by: Francis at February 5, 2008 01:23 PM

Someone brought their own Pirate Scrabble variant to a games party I was at recently, though I didn't end up playing it myself. It looked fairly entertaining, along the lines of Nightmare Chess: you played cards which would mess with things.

I was, however, surprised and disappointed to learn there was nothing special about Rs.

Posted by: Rubrick at February 5, 2008 01:48 PM

So what's your favorite marketing tie-in game?

I figured you for a "Snakes on a Sudoku" guy, Francis. I admit to being more of a "Snakes on a Sudoku 2" person.

Posted by: Charles at February 5, 2008 03:24 PM

Ahem. I believe you meant to say "Shrek THE THIRD Othello." Calling it merely "Shrek Othello" is an insult to the game design team that spent countless hours looking at swatches and saying, "How about this green?"

Posted by: Bourbon Cowboy at February 5, 2008 03:30 PM
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