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Introducing: Handsome, a Word Game Unlike Most Word Games

Posted by David Wiley on

Button Shy is proud to announce that the next game to hit Kickstarter in our Wallet Games series is Handsome, a 2-6 player game designed by T.C. Petty III (designer of VivaJava: The Coffee Game and Spires). Handsome is an elegant wordsmithing game where all players attempt to create a word using the common pool of five cards, any vowels, and the two cards in their personal hands. For those who grew up playing games like Scrabble or Boggle, you’ll find hints of familiarity here but with some clever twists that make Handsome worth looking into.


One of the first things you’ll notice about the gameplay for Handsome is there will be a pool of common letters that are changed (potentially) each round. Depending on the number of players in the game, this pool will be partially determined at random and partially by the players (the exception being at 5-6 players, with 5 being all determined by players and 6 all by random flips). These five cards are usable by all players as they attempt to construct their word for the round.


Vowels are notably absent from the deck of 18 cards, but are free to use as needed in order to construct whatever word you are working toward. Not only is this necessary from a card number standpoint to keep things at 18 cards, but also to prevent the chance of a round where one or more players lack any vowels to create a word. However, in spite of what you might expect, Y is not considered a vowel for Handsome and cannot be freely used.


In addition to the free vowels and the pool of five cards, each player will also have two cards in their hand which are usable for the creation of their word. However, no other player can use those cards in your hand, providing unique possibilities for every player at the table. Players are free to use these to their advantage, constructing a word that no one else could consider, or to ignore them completely and use just the common pool of letters.


Unlike most word games on the market, Handsome is not only about who can make the longest word. Yes, there are points that get awarded to the longest word in the round, but that is only one of four points available each round! There are three suits of cards in Handsome, and the player who used the most cards of each suit will also score a point. So making a 5-letter word using all flower suit cards is just as valuable as making a really long word that has a mix of all suits. Ties for majority in a suit score points to all tied players, unless the Tiebreaker card is being used by some but not all of those tied players. The game plays until a player scores 9 points, and whoever has the most points at the end of that round is the winner.


What is preventing a player later in the turn from copying a strong word already revealed? During the wordsmithing process, players will write their word for the round on a scratch piece of paper which gets revealed in turn. They also would reveal any necessary cards from their hand that were used to create that word. This helps make sure that everyone has done their own work in creating a word from the options that round. In addition, players may never recreate a word used in a previous round by any player. Should that be revealed to happen, the word is crossed out and that player scores no points for the round.


Handsome is launching on Kickstarter on March 26, 2019 and will be priced as low as $10 plus shipping and will come packaged in our standard vinyl wallet for maximum portability. Prepare your favorite wordsmithing tools for a word creation game coming to a wallet near you.

In the meantime, keep your eyes open for some additional articles that will appear in the coming weeks about Handsome and as well as more articles on our Board Game of the Month Club feature: Chain Mail.



  • Twin Stars: Adventure Series II - Almost done shipping Kickstarter then moving onto website pre-orders.
  • The Perfect Moment - Almost done shipping Kickstarter then moving onto website pre-orders.
  • The Maiden In The Forest - Shipping now
  • Why I Otter - Expected to start shipping in 2 weeks.
  • Anthelion: Conclave of Power - Expected to start shipping in April.
  • Antinomy - Expected to start shipping in May.


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