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Trouble & Strife
| I have a question about the rules |
These are the answers to the questions we are most frequently asked by Spuddle players.* The "?" symbol on the dice can be used as any letter of your choosing. In other words it is "wild" or "a blank"
* Plurals are allowed, proper nouns are not. (Examples of proper nouns include names of people, places etc. and they usually start with a capital letter).* Some people like to use pens and paper to write down the letters and make words (but generally it's more fun not to).
* If there's a draw, the winner is the player who (in order) has:  not used their joker or  used their joker on a lower number or  put their last cone on a lower number.
* If there are three consecutive rounds where nobody can put a piece on the board then the game is deemed over and the person with the most numbers covered wins.
* Some people have asked if there is a way to play Spuddle with younger children. You will need to improvise a little according to the age of the children but the best things to do are: (1) give them several joker cones so that they have lots of extra letters (2) allow them to make words of any length and cover the spaces without worrying about word length (3) allow them additional time to make their words. Younger children often like the table banging part of the game so it can make them feel more involved if they lead this part of proceedings.
| I would like some advice about strategy and tactics |
Here are the tips that players have found most helpful:* Try to get your longest words first
* Don't use your joker unless you have to
* Think of the less obvious words wherever possible
The following comments and tips have been submitted by players:
(1) A risky new tactic: "Our family have enjoyed our first game of Spuddle. It was suggested that there is no point in going for say a six letter word, if you have already got a six letter word. In order to delay my Mum winning the game, my sister decided to declare a six letter word, in the hope that it was the same word as my Mum's. Luckily for my sister they chose the same word. It did not stop my Mum from winning though. Upon checking the rules we found that you say there is no point in declaring a word if you already have that amount of letters. We have now discovered that this is not the case. Declaring a word which scores no points should be regarded as a gamble that you might say the same word as someone else, and therefore prevent them from winning".
We replied: "I'm glad to hear that your Mum survived such aggressive play by your sister! Your sister was indeed lucky to pick the same word and I am not at all surprised to hear that your Mum went on to win - it normally works out that way. Whilst I won't be changing the rules (for other reasons), I am very happily publishing your email here to make your thoughts available to other players".
|I have lost my copy of the rules |
Here are the full rules for Spuddle:
Spuddle is game for between 2 and 6 players. Before starting, each player should take six pawns (all the same colour) and a single pointed "joker" cone.
The board is divided up into six "pie slice" sections, each with segments numbered 2 to 7. (These numbers refer to the length of words). For now, each player should select their own "pie slice" section for the game.
To start a round, roll all the dice and turn over the timer. Everyone looks at the dice and silently makes a word from the letters.
When the timer has run out, players clench their fists and give the table three knocks, everyone in time with each other. On what would have been the fourth knock, everyone simultaneously "declares" the length of their word by extending as many fingers as there are letters in their word. (So for example, if you spotted a five letter word whilst the timer was running then you would extend five fingers over the table).
Your word should be between 2 and 7 letters long. You will only score if you are the only player to think of that particular word.
Any player(s) who have "declared" a word of a unique length should say what their word is and put a pawn over the corresponding number in their section of the board. (So if you have a 5 letter word, you put your pawn on the "5" in your section of the board).
Players who have declared a word of the same length give the table another three knocks in time with each other and then simultaneously say their words aloud. Those sharing the same word do not score. Players with unique words put a pawn over the corresponding number in their section of the board. The next round begins as before.
You can only cover each number in your section of the board once. So if you have successfully declared say, a five letter word in one round, there is no point in looking for any more five letter words. The winner is the first person to cover all six numbers in their "pie slice" section of the board.
Players can use their "joker" cone just once during the game. It acts as an extra letter, (any letter you want it to be). If you make a unique word with your joker, put your joker on the relevant space on the board..
| Game Variations: |
If you are having a two or three player game, you can vary it by giving each player more than one pie-shaped slice of the board to cover. So in a two player game, you could decide that each player will have to cover up to three pie shaped sections of the board each. In a three player game you can only expand as far as having two pie shaped sections of the board each.
| What does the word 'Spuddle' mean? |
Spuddle is an archaic English word that is no longer in use. It was defined in an eighteenth century dictionary as meaning: "To go about a trifling business as if it were a matter of grave importance. To assume airs of importance without occasion". It was the first part of the definition which appealed to me, representing as it does the very kind of nonsense that I occasionally indulge in myself. The word "Spuddle" also has a certain ring about it when spoken aloud - it gives an impression of fun which seemed about right for the game. And in case you're wondering, the answer is no, I don't spend my time trawling through eighteenth century dictionaries looking for good names for games - when it comes to games, archaic words are usually best left firmly in the past!