Word games aren’t something I’m particularly good at. I go into games like Scrabble knowing my ability to recall lengthy words and see their letters rearranged isn’t likely to net me a win. So, I typically shy away from this type of game. This week’s Thrift Treasure find, Duple, by the same company behind Anomia, changed my mind a little bit about word games.
Duple is a card game for three to five players. The object is to quickly produce an answer which fits the letter criteria shown when symbols match. Setup is quick if you choose the randomly shuffled deck option. A pre-built deck variation, while more predictable, lengthens setup time considerably. Separate the Wild and Category cards, along with the two All-Play cards, from the remaining Letter cards. Set one Wild and Category card aside and shuffle the rest into the Letter deck. Split that deck into two equal piles as draw decks and place them in the center of the play area. The reserved Category and Wild cards are placed face-up next to each other between the two draw piles.
On a player’s turn they will draw one card from either pile and turn it face up in front of them. If it is a Wild or Category card, it is placed on top of that respective pile and another card is drawn. Letter cards are put in front of the active player and feature both a letter and a symbol. Players immediately check to see if the newly drawn card’s symbol matches another in play. If so, those two players face off immediately.
Those two players rush to produce a word that uses both shown letters. The first to announce a correct answer collects the Letter card from the other player. Answers must be one word only, at least five letters and be of the subject listed on the Subject card. Proper names are allowed if they are applicable to the category.
The face-up Wild Card offers another way to match players’ symbols. Not only do the symbols match themselves, but they will also match up with the other one shown on the card. This also causes a face-off, which is resolved immediately. Additionally, when a face-off concludes, the newly revealed card underneath the loser’s pile may now match with another players. An additional face-off commences!
If an “All Play” card is drawn, all players must now race to announce a word that includes ALL the letters shown on the table. Categories don’t count – it may be any word. The successful player keeps the All Play card and is worth two points at the end of the game. A game of Duple ends once both draw piles are depleted. Players count the number of cards they’ve collected during the game, counting any All Play cards twice. The person with the most cards wins the game!
Duple by Anomia Press is no longer in print. You can find gently used examples on eBay if this is a must-have for you. Otherwise, I’d suggest waiting to find a copy at thrift for a buck or two. It’s not worth much more than that.
Are word games your jam?