First off, are you recalcitrant and cool? Competitive, social and brainy? Do you love fun that's original and clever? And where there's actually a winner? Then you'll definitely love One Up! — The Wicked/Smart Word Game. Unlike all the other dumb, same/same junk out there, One Up! makes a virtue of a vice that's also incredibly addictive: taking things that don't belong to you. Stealing is not only encouraged, it's rewarded.
One Up!'s faster and quicker (and easier and harder) than Scrabble, and we guarantee that if you're not hooked for life after the first 5 minutes... you need to give it another 5! Come on, party people — let's make the world a more literate, playful place, one word at a time.
One Up!® Cup May 2013
Welcome back vocabularians! Just like last year, we'll post a One Up! 'game situation' every month so all you brainiacs out there can show everyone how brilliant and quick you are.
Here's all you need to know now to play: take one or more letters from the center and add them to an existing word to make a new word.
Since there won't be a 'right' answer, we'll be looking for originality, wit and wow! The monthly winner will receive a One Up!® and have his or her name put in the drawing for the Grand Prize at the end of the year.
Your April contest is a real challenge because it features a clunkier variety of center tiles than usual. In fact, these are tiles (VHIUZ) I'd probably exchange if they were on my Scrabble rack. Additionally, there are no Uppity tiles anywhere to help things along. Therefore, there are fewer possibilities to make words and you will likely get a lot of duplicate entries.
So, once again, to separate myself from the pack, I am choosing the most obscure and unique-looking word I could find. First, I am starting with COPE, then adding IHU from the center pool to make the word COPIHUE. It's not only an obscure word, but it has a very unusual pronunciation: koh-PEE-way.
The COPIHUE, also called the Chilean bellflower, happens to be the national flower of Chile. It's most commonly seen in the Chilean forests as climbing vines with a very distinct look: leathery evergreen leaves and bright reddish flowers shaped like a bell.
Hope you agree that my entry "climbs" above the rest of the competition this month!
Jeff "One-Up-Man" Kastner
Excellent job, Jeff, and thanks to everyone who entered. May the best man win May!
How to One Up!®
Unbelievably, not everyone knows how to play One Up!®, so we decided to have our interns make a 'How to' video that even they can understand:
You can also download a full set of instructions here.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Since this video was made we have changed the "Uppity" Tile Rule: the Uppity Tile can still be used as any letter, but can be changed every time the word containing it is made into a new word. For example, if you have the word "BLA(C)K" (using the Uppity Tile as an "C"), you can change it to an "E", add an "S" (you always have to add at least one letter to change a word), and make the new word "BL(E)AKS". Simple, and way more exciting.
One Up! got a great write-up in Redbook magazine's special Kidbook supplement — which hit the newsstands today. Thanks a bunch, Ashley, and your fab staff too.
One Up!® everyone on your list.
We are thrilled that Real Simple magazine selected One Up!® as a 'Snow-Day Staple', which has inundated us with new orders. Thanks to all you word snobs/nerds/lovers for all your enthusiasm and support — let it snow!
House Rules Rule.
First and foremost, follow the instructions. But creativity and a level playing field are sometimes just as important. At our house, we have our own variations that make it fairer for all of us to play together - we let the kids (ages 10, 9, 8) make any words; my wife can only make 4 letter words (which she's really good at!); and I can only make 5 letter words or longer. Piece of cake.
We've heard from 2 different people saying they subtract the first 2 letters of each word when adding up the score (instead of one), which gives even more weight to superior thinking ability. An old friend of ours who is always flying back and forth between L.A. and New York for business tells us that he has 5-minute speed games before meetings, or on the set between takes, and it really gets everyone's synapses fired up. The too-cool-for-schoolers who used to be late or were bent gaga over their Blackberrys all the time, he tells us now actually show up early and eager to sharpen their wits!
A League of Their Own.
We received this email from Bob Gillis, author of Bob's Bible (a Scrabble word reference guide) and member of the National Scrabble Association's dictionary committee, and realized what we always suspected was true is true - we're complete amateurs:
This is essentially the after hours game of choice at Scrabble tournaments.
We take two (or more) sets of Scrabble Tiles and place them face down, mix
and everyone slides some near themselves.
Typical minimum is 7 letters though intermediate players may play 5.
Our rules for "steals" has evolved a bit -- to steal a word, the new word
must not contain the old word inside it (in order) even if you hypothetically remove letters. In other words, the word cannot be stolen if it is an extension or an insertion or combination
thereof. Occasionally this eliminates a few fairly nice plays, but it makes a straightforward
enforceable no-quibble rule.
We sometimes play with blanks as well, but they must be accompanied by two non
blank letters and only used for steals of a length at least 3 longer than the word being
Our scoring is based on sum of squares... first we match like length words (since they
cancel out) and the remaining are scored as the square of the word length. However, the
winner is usually obvious and so most games are never scored.
I can remember seeing the 14 letter word
tatterdemalion (aka ragamuffin) played at the 2008 Boston Area (Scrabble) Tournament by Frank Tangredi of NY. His brief account to the national scrabble email list:
"No, I'm not tooting my horn about winning the early bird, though that
felt DAMN good. But on Saturday night, I made the best anagrams steal
of my life - even better than KINDLIEST + F*.
David Wiegand had RETALIATE....
I stole it with DMNT...
And the word was...
It's pretty unbelievable how far certain players go in playing Anagrams.
The top players are so good that it's impossible for most good scrabble
players to even hold onto any words for the duration of a game.
Kudos to you for introducing it to a new group of players...
*Distelfink n. A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch folk art motif of a bird or birds symbolizing good luck and happiness.
In the beginning was the word (game)...
There's nothing new under the sun, just rehash. But that doesn't mean rehash can't be breathtakingly original, and new. We'd like to think ours is. But we're also students of history, and want to know where things come from, and how they got from there to here. For a comprehensive and in-depth look at word games down through the ages and around the world, check out Steffan O'Sullivan and Graham Toal's excellent Letter-by-Letter Word Games.
Yes, you can buy 2 x brains here.
Calling all literate double-domes: One Up! — The Wicked/Smart Word Game has always been highway robbery at only $15, but now we're offering 2 x One Up! for $25, including FREE SHIPPING* (see below). Are you kidding me? Quick, grab a handful now.
*U.S. and APO boxes only. Bummer!
What's in a name?
one up (WUN-up) — (v) To get the better of; succeed in being a point, move, step, etc., ahead of (someone).
Eugene one-upped his opponent with impunity.
How to really play the game.
If you're still a bit unsure of the rules, you can download a full set of instructions (.pdf file) for One Up! here.
How I came up with the idea for One Up!
I always loved playing Scrabble®, and every so often we would invite friends to come over to the apartment to have at it. Neuman, around 2 at the time, would sit in my lap and watch. He would very quickly get bored, start fidgeting, and then eventually fall asleep in my arms before we ran out of time and didn't even finish. Which I think is a pretty apt metaphor for Scrabble®, isn't it?
Seriously, before he conked out he would always succeed at least once in taking one of my tiles (or someone else's) and eating it.
Me: Neuman, stop taking Whit's tiles.
Me: That's not yours, Neuman, that's Whit's.
"I brought one as a gift to a dinner party instead of a bottle of wine. It was a BIG hit." - Dr. David O-S.
"I'm definitely not going back to Scrabble. Even my son loves playing." - Elyssa J.
"A great game and a good way to waste, er pass, time when I should be doing something more productive." Regards, Sue
"Wanted to let you know that we have enjoyed the game One Up!® and that we appreciated all the customer service your company provided to us." - Monica Z.
"Wow! Such speedy delivery! The game arrived today. Thanks for the wonderful wrapping and clever promotions and extra goodies. I am giving it to my brother-in-law Jeff in Arizona. It will be perfect for him.
I hope business is going well. I think your website is SO you! And I love all the local models." - Ann B., Champaign, IL
The Wicked/Smart World Game.
One Up! hasn't been around that long, but it's already been around the block, so-to-speak.
The Wicked/Smart Empire State Game.
The birds are singing and the sun's bling-blinging in Cancun:
From our good friend J.P. in Paris:
The Kastner Rule.
Thanks to a suggestion by our good friend Jeff Kastner, we have modified the "Uppity" Tile Rule: the Uppity Tile can still be used as any letter, but now can be changed every time the word containing it is made into a new word.
For example, if you have the word "BLA(C)K" (using the Uppity Tile as an "C"), you can change it to an "E", add an "S" (you always have to add at least one letter to change a word), and make the new word "BL(E)AKS". Simple, and way more exciting.
One (U) too many.
It has come to our attention that some of the earlier One Up! tile sets came with five letter "U"s. There should only be 4 x U — if you have 5 you need to discard one.
There are no guarantees...
... in life, but we're so sure you'll love One Up!® that we're offering a money-back guarantee— if you aren't completely enthralled and hooked (or defeated and frustrated), just send it back to us and we'll refund your purchase price, with no questions asked, except what the heck?
One Up! tiles are smallish and can be a choking hazard if mistaken for wooden Chiclets with enormous letters printed on one side, for example, and swallowed. So use some common sense (even if it means acting out of character for a change), especially when playing around very young children, dogs of any description, or friends with oral fixations.
Seriously, we recommend One Up! for IQs of 120 and higher, we mean ages 13+.
Stay tuned up (and in).
From time to time we send out a newsletter that contains the latest goings-on, specials and giveaways, as well as how tos and argy-bargy from the cheap seats.