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The Word Game “Wordopolis” feat. Randall Thompson- 37

Episode Overview

In this episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin sits down and talks with the designer, Randall Thompson behind Wordopolis a new fantastic word game for one to three players, from Caper Games. Randall shares his board game design journey and his inspiration for the game “Wordopolis.”

Read more about the episode and take a look at the games they talk about in this episode below.

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Episode Topics

Amped Up Learning- 1:18

Amped Up Learning, a teacher owned company, that strives to make
learning fun, engaging and competitive with their unique games and
teacher-created lessons.

Check out their game FRECK!- A new tabletop card game AND classroom resource aimed at teaching your students key social studies vocabulary in an engaging, competitive & creative way. Easy-to-learn game steps, quick-hitting clues & dynamic gameplay make FRECK! a must-have for every history classroom.

Interview with Randall Thompson from Caper Games- 2:33

Dustin talks with Randall Thompson from Caper Games. Be sure to listen in for the full interview, or read a concise version of the interview below.

Who is Randall Thompson? He is the owner of the board game company Caper Games and designer of Wordopolis. He suffered an eye injury from his government job in 1998 that led him down the path of game design.

What’s Randall’s story? Randall started inventing games in 2000 and 2001. Growing up he loved hockey and cut up the cards to play hockey at the kitchen table. He did something similar for baseball with sticks and stones. He started playing board games again when his eye injury prevented him from using screens. He invented his first game called “Crunch Time.” This is a basketball board game that landed him in Germany with a sponsorship from Dirk Nowitzki. That’s what started it all!

What sparked Randall’s desire to design games? He was not a “hobby gamer.” It was a brand new experience for him. He did play Monopoly and Risk and he was very familiar with the mainstream games. He started to play a few Eurogames as he got into game design.

A story about learning and gaming: Caper Games’ “Get Adler” is a great game to help develop problem-solving and deduction. Randall learned that children really loved the game even though it was designed for adults. Soccer tactics also taught rules of the game. Be sure to listen in for Randall’s entire response to this question.

How do you make sure your games stand the test of time in the current board game market? “Stick-to-it-ness!” You have to stick to it, you have to persevere. Caper Games set out to make the big three. They have created three games that he feels will stand the test of time and become classic board games.

Wordopolis: Randall and his wife used scrabble as an inspiration for their word game “Wordopolis.” The game was invented under a different name called “Nuggets” in 2013. To play the game you create an 8 by 8 grid and are given a hand of four letters. You need to create a word with your letters. On top of creating the initial word, you can score more points by finding words that branch off the first one.

Web Version of “Wordopolis”Along with the analog version of “Wordopolis” there is also a digital web version of the game. Check it out now on the Kickstarter page. There are plans in the making to make it a Facebook game as well.

Using “Wordopolis” in class: “Wordopolis” is a great game and has a lot of potential for an English language classroom. Modification to the mechanics would be necessary since you cannot play the game with only three people in class. Setting up the game to be played over an extended period of time seems to be the answer. Dustin discusses his plans to use the game with his adult students.

Also, be sure to check out Anne Jones blog post from Cards or Die, about the game, and how it has some unique layers of strategy that word games do not always have.

Be sure to listen to the podcast episode to hear more about Randall’s game design journey, Wordopolis, and how the game can be applied to your classroom.

Be sure to listen to the podcast episode to hear more about Randall’s design story, Caper Games, and how to use “Wordopolis” in the classroom.


Games from the Episode

Throughout the episode several games are mentioned. If any of these games sound like something you might enjoy playing yourself or in your class, you can help support our podcast by purchasing these games through our Amazon affiliate links. We will earn a small commission at no expense to you. Check out the games below:

Randall’s Desert Island Questionnaire

Risk

Get Adler

Catan

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