Tabletop Tuesday- New Word Order

I don’t like word games. Scrabble, Bananagrams, Up-words–all games I’ve had to play at one time or another and I’m sure I’ve let out annoyed sighs anytime someone suggests them. On one hand, this makes no sense because all of those involve some puzzle solving and strategizing to maximize points, cut people off, use the tools in front of you. All things I enjoy from games. So it might be because I’m not very good with words.

But, but, you’re a writer?

New WordYes, I am aware of this. I will also remind you that my latest book is, literally, the “Worst. Book. Ever.”  I hate words so much I made it my mission to assemble the worst collection of them into one place just so to watch them suffer.

Anyways, I finally found a word game I like. The New Word Order is a independent game developed by Liesl Johnson, the wordsmith behind the popular daily vocabulary email “Make Your Point.”  She developed it as a game to play with her students and help teach them about words.

The premise is pretty simple. You draw cards that have words on them. Your goal is to place them in a timeline with other words. See “simple premise.” No spelling involved. In fact it throws in a good bit of history in place of spelling which really gives it a shiny glow.

Did you know “app” didn’t come about with the rise of smartphones but rather all the way back in 1985? And the polite chuckle of the internet “LOL” has actually been around since 1960?

There are several ways the game can be played, from single-player to cooperative where you’re just trying to figure out the timeline and the only opponent is your own ignorance. Not a small obstacle as I can personally attest. There are also competitive rules where each person is working on their own timeline. On your turn you draw a card and decide who to give it to. This means you can keep the guy who is one card away from winning getting a card and can give it to the guy whose going to have the hardest time fitting it into her timeline. Real cutthroat that approach.

This is a perfect quick little game to play before a bigger gaming session while you wait for those last few slackers to show up. It takes no time to set up and no time to clean up. And it’s very scalable to most any group size.

The game does suffer from a few downsides. First, it’s an independent game created by a teacher so you might learn something…

You can’t make me!

…and given away for free as a downloadable file. That means you need to print it out and set it up yourself. And you’re on the internet reading a gaming blog instead of working so we know you’re pretty lazy.


Second, once you know the origin date of a word there’s no challenge to that word. But that’s no different than many games that have fixed cards. Fortunately, the game includes 1,000 words so good luck memorizing the dates for all of them.

Challenge accepted.

That’s why we love you, internet. If you’re not supposed to do it, you do it anyways and with a malicious smile.



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Wayne Basta

Wayne Basta

Editor-in-Chief at d20 Radio
Wayne is the managing editor of d20 Radio's Gaming Blog. He also occasionally writes books.
Wayne Basta

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