Loren Brichter, the creator of the Tweetie client for Twitter that eventually became the official iOS Twitter app, has created a new word game for iOS that combines tactics from a number of different classic games -- but creates something new at the same time.
Letterpress combines the word-finding skills of Boggle with the ability to steal positions and block your opponent that's straight out of the classic board game Go. It seems to have captured the attention of much of the technology press today, and for good reason.
I think it might be the core design of Words With Friends that rubs me the wrong way. I don't like having point values assigned to each letter. Rather than finding the most interesting word out of your allotment of letters, you're stuck playing a trial-and-error game of what word will land you the most points while trying to take advantage of the bonuses on the board. Somebody described their experience with Words With Friends to me as "tedious", and that totally nails it for me as well.
This is where Letterpress differentiates itself. It gives you a 5x5 grid of letters to choose from. Each letter used is worth just one point, which obviously makes bigger words worth a bigger score. But Letterpress isn't just about who can rack up the highest total score, it's much more about trying to outmaneuver your opponent and playing the board itself so that you wind up having the most points by the game's end.
It’s the first game that’s made my iPhone’s first home screen in years. It’s a cross between a word game like Scrabble or Boggle and a real estate strategy game like Risk or Go. It’s addictive. (Letterpress is to Game Center what The Magazine is to Newsstand — my first reason to use it.)
The game is free to download and users can purchase the ability to play more than two games at once and to see previously played words with a $0.99 in-app purchase.