Prototype 1 - Firewords
Create as many words as quickly as you can to generate an exciting fireworks display!
Firewords is a prototype by Schell Games programmer Matt D. It was inspired by the board game Boggle, in which players have three minutes to create as many words as possible by connecting adjacent letters within a randomly-generated 16-letter grid.
The original idea with Firewords was to experiment with Boggle-style gameplay on a dynamic board. Unlike Boggle’s 5x5 grid, Firewords uses a 4x4 grid of letters with four extra letters on each side. The plan was for these extra four sets of four letters to shift location at regular intervals, rotating around the static core grid. When we went to try it, though, we found that shifting the placement of letters on the board during play was more problematic than fun. There were lots of issues, like the problem of players being partway through forming a word during the board shift, so we dropped the idea of a dynamically-changing board. If we were to continue developing this prototype we’d probably focus on varying the static board shape and letter distributions from level to level instead.
Would you be interested in seeing further iteration passes on Firewords? Let us know if there are game mechanic changes you’d like to experiment with or board designs you think would be fun!