Epic Letterpress Game

This little page is just me recording something for posterity that might otherwise just disappear into history. For about six months or so, I've been playing a game called Letterpress against my friend Margaret. Usually games run, oh, four to six turns each before somebody uses the last letter in the grid and ends the game. But this one game, we each took thirty-six turns before Margaret ended the game with her 37th word.

So, just so I can look back and go "dang!", I'm preserving in Web-amber the grid, list of words played, and my private list of other words I had ready to deploy if strategically useful, of that extraordinary game.

The Grid

WSEHT
TSCMJ
THUEO
FUCAE
NHBWK

The Game

Margaret's plays are in red, mine are in blue.

Cathouses

Sweathouse

Buckwheat I thought this was a rather clever find. But it's early in the game, I'm not worried (yet).

Nuthatches

Nuthouses Margaret's got the bottom half of the board at this point, but...

Uncouth ...although it's a mere 7-letter word, "uncouth" takes back a good chunk of the territory, putting me up at 16-5.

Catches

Etches Still 16-5. Four letters left unclaimed.

Humous Margaret takes 2 of the remaining letters, leaving just F and J. Normally, this is when one's opponent swoops in with a word that uses the last few unclaimed letters as well as enough others to claim more than half the board, and thus win the game. But that darn J! Argh! I can't find a word that uses both F and J. I go on the defensive: take as much territory as possible.

Moustaches I thought this was a rather clever find, although why it took me this long to find it, well, ahem, back to the game. Score is now 18-5.

Mouth

Sawbuck

Stenches

Stomachs

Custom

Testaments Despite finding words averaging a letter or two longer than Margaret, I'm not actually gaining. We're still at 18-5 at this point.

Cheese Margaret slips up a bit here, not grabbing the longest form.

Cheeses The game won't let you play a word that is the same as a word previously played, but shorter, but you can do one longer. If she'd played "cheeses", then "cheese" would be forbidden. However, this still just keeps us at 18-5. Trench warfare.

Steams

Accustom Now the score is 21-3.

Mucous Drat. 15-8. I can win the game one of two ways. Either we use up all the words that don't use F and J, forcing Margaret to use one of those letters in a word, letting me use the other letter on my turn and closing the board, or I can lock down more than 12 letters and claim one of the remaining letters. Lock down occurs if one controls all the letters surrounding a particular cell. Your opponent can use the locked letter in a word, but will not get to claim it. "Mucous" gives Margaret a bunch of letters right in the middle of the grid, making lock-down infeasible. For now.

Houses

Thumbs

Butch 21-2! Ha ha!

Hutches

Bunches

Hunches

Munches That center U is hotly contested.

Muttons

Hottest I'm losing ground. 19-4.

Butchest

Benches

Botches

Touches

Whetstones Oh! A new long word out of the blue! Dang!

Bounces Now I'm sweating. 15-8!

Counts

Cements

Schemes

Contests

Toucans Another good find.

Customs 14-9! I continue to lose ground.

Smutch Smutch? That's a word? Curses! I think this is about the time I started making a list of just about every possible word I might use, in case it became strategically useful.

Heathen

Notches

Musettes

Tubas

Cutaneous Clawing back: 17-6.

Mouths

Bushwahs I'm surprised Letterpress accepted this as a word, but I'm not complaining, since it gets me back to 19-4.

Chutes

Couches 20-3

Thence

Anthems

Whence

Tumescences Normally, anything less than a 7-letter word is a pretty weak play in Letterpress, but we've gone through so many words at this point that 5- and 6-letter words, if they use the right letters, can be strong plays. But despite pulling "anthems" and (woot! yowza!) "tumescences" out of, er, my hat, the score's still 20-3. But I do have 11 letters locked at this point. Margaret has to unlock them faster than I can lock them to keep me from a win.

Musse Ouch. She locks two of her own, and takes my locks down to 6.

Suets

Escutcheon No! Seriously? How long has that been hiding in our grid!? Not only are we now at 3 locks each, but she's winning! 11-12!

Mustaches Yes, I've already played this word, but last time, there was an "o" in the middle.

Thatches

Heathens I once again play a plural form of a word previously played in the singular, but this time I'm stealing it from myself.

Stunts

Secants

Chestnut

Honestest Another word that I'm surprised passes muster, but the score's back to 19-4, so I'm not filing any grievance, no sirree.

Haunts

Taunts

Toasts

Succotash As in "Sufferin'..." I imagine Margaret said worse things than that when I played this word, since it put the store at 21-2, and I have 13 letters locked. There are only 8 letters belonging to me that she can take back with her next play.

Mounts She gets 6. It's a valiant effort, but . . .

Founts I take five of them back, plus the F. I have locked 15 letters on the board. If she could use every remaining unlocked letter in one perfect word, she would still not be able to claim more than half the board.

Joes Instead of playing, oh, "cots" or some such and waiting for me to take the unclaimed "J", she uses it herself to end the game. Final score is 18-7, on the 73rd word.

The List

Then there were all the other words that I'd found along the way, but had not been the most strategically suitable words at any point. It was a very fertile grid, there were a lot more words waiting in the wings. This list is, of course, not likely to be even close to comprehensive. It's just what I'd found but not used when the game ended.