If you’re among the many whose NCAA brackets went bust pretty much from the get-go this year, hang tight – we’ve got some brackets you can still score with. Check out the next in our ongoing game variation mockup series, Spell 64, based on a tournament bracket format. As we’ve said before, these prototypes just paint a rough picture, so design and visual clarity are secondary to the general idea.

Bustin’ out

To keep things interesting, we’ve modified the tournament format a bit (otherwise there’d be no triangles, for instance, and low scores). We start with the normal 64 slots, advancing to 32, 16 and 8, but then culminate in just the final four. In terms of letter connections, each of the final four acts as a gateway between its “region” and each of the other three regions. A bit like airport hubs with regional spokes.


So connecting lines can cross at the center, though we still don’t allow circling back to use the same slot twice in the same word. The center slot is never in play for letter placement – the final four are centermost. As usual, words can be formed in any direction. In this case, inward from the “first round” slots or outward from the center, or both if going from one region to another.

I got spurs

Under this scheme, long words are harder to make because there are so many short spurs, made visible in the 2nd through 4th screenshots by the light-colored diagonal lines. Still, we managed decent point totals, even with the normal scoring system used here. Once again, built-in opponent Blu Yonder made impressive use in the first game of the letter V, and Y as well. You can see Blu’s results, with the blue top bar, after you finish a game by tapping the switch icon (top center right).

With shafafa on the side

To pad our official results, we concocted some extra confections with the leftovers. Enrich your faux-cabulary with our absolutely unofficial bunkum words and meanings. More beyond the score. Exhibition beside competition. A little decadent dessert after the main course. See the menu below.

Bracket game mockup 1 user screenshot

Pitsy: Unimportant; Trifling
Gristed: Ground out through perseverance.
Osters: Caribbean-style fried egg and plantain pancake fritters.
Pisote: In early airplanes, a mechanical lever for adjusting wings or control surfaces.

Bracket game mockup 1 Blu Yonder screenshot

Istey: Impetuous; Capricious; Mercurial; Idiosyncratic: She can be as istey as the open sea.
Vesto: A small pocket watch with a short chain.
Lerse: Sparing in use of words.
Yests: Minor past regrets that can’t be righted.

Bracket game mockup 2 user screenshot

Yediam: After travelling east across the International Dateline, a day spent for the second time.
Nedit: A piece of copy not in need of editing. Existence vehemently denied by most editors.
Haden: A sheltered cove or harbor offering protection from rough seas.
Ideam: An idea that evolves as it is bounced around members of a group, as in brainstorming.

Bracket game mockup 2 Blu Yonder screenshot

Mesta: A Southwestern US style of architecture characterized by open spaces, earthen construction, large stone slabs and unadorned wooden structure.
Enrest: To save the remainder of something unused for future use, as leftovers: Never underestimate the importance of enrest. Cold pizza for breakfast is definitely a thing.
Bersa: A loud slamming sound, as from a thick vault door. Figuratively, an occurrence that puts a resounding early end to an ambitious plan or opportunity, as an early round basketball bracket buster. See plang.
Itsa: A word qualifying as a dictionary entry through sufficient popular usage. Or through faux-cabulary definition: If you hear it often enough, itsa word.


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