Free Game: Lexi

So, I missed last week’s free game — apologies, life sometimes gets in the way — but this week, we have: Lexi!

Not only is it another good game for a group, but it also takes advantage of the Ramble deck! Lexi is a game about mutating words and strategic decisions. Here’s how it goes:

Setup
Get your Ramble deck out and shuffle it good; place it face down in the center of the table. You’ll also need some way to keep score, and to track changes; poker chips or pennies are ideal. Deal out three cards to each player.

Determine who goes first (I recommend cutting the deck and finding the highest number card, but you can use your own method). Starting with the first player and going left, each player chooses one of their letters and plays it down in a row in the middle of the table. Each player may rearrange these letters how they see fit and each player draws a new card once each player has played a card.

Playing Lexi
The goal of Lexi is mutating words. Ideally, the letters placed when you start the game make a word. Each turn, you make a single change to the word, and if that change results in it becoming a new, legitimate word, you earn points. The length of the game can be determined either by the number of points you need to earn, or the number of time the deck gets reshuffled. (I recommend 2 shuffles as the game limit.)

You must always have 3 cards in your hand. If you ever use a card and have less than 3, you must immediately draw a new card. If you draw a card and have more than 3, you must immediately discard one of your cards.

Playing a turn
At the start of your turn, draw a card. You must then make a single change to the word. Changes you may make include:

  • Adding a letter
  • Removing a letter
  • Swapping a letter
  • Rearranging two letters

To Add a letter, you must play a letter from your hand to the word; you may put this letter anywhere in the word, but it must match both of the letters on each side of it with at least one of its traits (suit or value).

To remove a letter, you must discard a card from your hand that shares a trait with the letter you wish to remove, then discard the removed card. You may never remove a letter if the word is less than four letters long.

To swap a letter, you must play a card from your hand that shares a trait with the letter you wish to swap; you then discard the letter that was previously in the word and place the new letter down.

To rearrange two letters, you must discard two cards, each card should have a matching trait to the cards being rearranged; then switch the positions of those two letters.

Keep track how many changes have been made; a stack of pennies or poker chips works well.

Scoring in Lexi
Earning points in Lexi is simple; when you make a change to the word that causes it to become a legitimate word (by the dictionary of your choice), you earn points. You earn one point for every change that was made since it was last an actual word. If this is the first real word made, you earn no points. If the word you make has already been made this game, you earn no points. Points are only scored when a new, unplayed word is made. You can either write down words made or you can go by the honor system; whichever feels right to you!

Each time a word is made, clear the number of changes; if someone scores, they earn as many points as there were changes. If not, start recording changes anew — only the number of changes between words counts. (You can use the same tokens to score as you do to track changes; that works out fairly well.)

When playing to a goal-score, when a player reaches the top score, each player thereafter gets one more turn in which to try and best it.

And that’s Lexi!

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