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A finished Upwords game
|Players||2 to 4|
|Age range||10 years and up|
|Setup time||< 2 min|
|Playing time||45 to 90 minutes|
|Skill(s) required||Counting, Strategy, Vocabulary|
Upwords (also known as Scrabble Upwords in the United States and Canada) is a board game invented by Elliot Rudell and originally published by the Milton Bradley Company, now a division of Hasbro. The game remains under license to Hasbro by Rudell Design, LLC. Upwords is similar to Scrabble, or Words With Friends in that players build words using letter tiles on a gridded gameboard. The notable point of difference is that in Upwords letters can be stacked on top of other letters already on the gameboard to create new words. The higher the stack of letters, the more points are scored. This typically makes words built in later turns of the game more valuable than earlier words, increasing play intensity and adding a level of strategy unique to Upwords.
Unlike Scrabble, which is manufactured in the U.S. and Canada by Hasbro, and elsewhere in the world by Mattel, Upwords is solely controlled by Hasbro worldwide. The game is available in about twenty languages, and there have been national tournaments played in Hungary and Turkey.
Players draw letter tiles until they each have seven tiles. The first player forms a word with the tiles that covers one or more of the central squares and then draws more tiles to replace those played. Play continues to the left.
Subsequent plays may put tiles on the board adjacent to and on top of the tiles already played, as long as all words formed are found in the dictionary being used. For example, if the word CATER is on the board, a player could put a B and E in front of CATER and then put an L on top of the C and a D on top of the R to build BELATED.
Players score one point for every tile in their word, and for each tile under their word. If the word is entirely on the first board layer, they instead score two points per letter. When a word is constructed that contains stacked tiles (up to a total of 5 high), point values will increase. This can lead to increased scoring towards the end of the game.
Players are not allowed to pluralize existing words by simply adding an "s" on the end of a word. If a word is pluralized by the addition of an "s", the "s" must also be part of another complete word that was placed on the board. This rule prevents players from capitalizing too much on other players' words without changing them.
Originally, Upwords was played on an 8 by 8 square board, with 64 letter tiles. Hasbro Europe later expanded the gameboard to a 10 by 10 matrix and 100 tiles, to accommodate the longer words frequently used in foreign languages such as German and Dutch. The 10 by 10 matrix is currently employed in worldwide versions of the game. The board is purposely smaller (has fewer tile positions) than Scrabble to encourage and even force the stacking up of letters upon letters. It does not have special squares such as "triple word scores" and "double letter scores" that require additional scoring calculations.
Years ago[when?] Hasbro licensed electronic marketing rights to Microsoft, making it available electronically for the first time since AOL bought Games.com and withdrew the game. Microsoft no longer has rights to Upwords.
August 2013 update - The Lonely Star Software UPWORDS app available for iOS devices has progressed to a five-star rating, with a solid and growing following of die-hard UPWORDS board game lovers, along with new folks discovering the app as they are challenged online by friends, some players converting from other flat word construction apps to the world of 3D word building and letter stacking.
- Casey Tschida (2013-01-11). "appadvice review". Appadvice.com. Retrieved 2013-02-25.