Master Word, last year’s party game that blends the clue-based deduction of 20 Questions with the code-cracking strategy of classic Mastermind, has been expanded with free rules variants for two players and families.
Designed by Gérald Cattiaux and released by Scorpion Masque - the studio behind the equally brain-teasing word game Decrypto and chaotic real-time puzzler Stay Cool - Master Word sees a group of players attempting to work out a secret answer from a set of 300 answer cards spanning people, places, events, objects and more by submitting a series of guesses each round.
A number of these guesses - which encapsulate a single idea, such as “animal”, “green” or “smaller than a loaf of bread” - are then marked as being correct by one player acting as the game’s ‘guide’. The trick is that it’s not clear which specific guesses are correct, only the number of correct guesses for a given round - aside from a single token that the guide can use to specify one specific correct guess once per game.
The players get up to seven rounds to correctly guess the answer using three dedicated solution cards, causing the entire group to win - if they write the correct answer as part of a normal guess, they lose.
Originally announced as playing with between three and six players - something which is possible over video call, such as Zoom - Master Word has now seen the release of dedicated two-player rules and a family-friendly variant.
The two-player game allows the guide to submit one clue per round in addition to the lone seeker’s three guesses - if the guide matches (or gets close to) one of the seeker’s clues, they can turn their card face-up to indicate the fact it’s a strong clue.
Meanwhile, the family-friendly variant changes the way that the joker tokens - which can indicate specific correct guesses - work to provide a more accessible experience. In place of one joker for the entire game, the guide is given the ability to place one joker per round - up to a total of six for the entire game.
Scorpion Masque has made the additional rules available on its website for free, with both new modes taking a single side of A4 - at most - to explain. The publisher added that both the two-player rules and family-friendy variant would be included in the basic rules of future printings of Master Word.