Frequently-Asked Questions about the Alpha Word Game System

If you have any questions about Alpha that this FAQ can't answer, please email them to Ron Hale-Evans.

What is the Alpha Word Game System?

Alpha is a comprehensive word game system (possibly the world's first), with integrated letter cards, tiles and dice. The current system (2.0) is based on Alpha Playing Cards, a card game system designed by Tim Schutz (tjgames.com) in 1995, and then self-published in 1997. They have won several awards.

What is a game system?

A game system is a set of components with which you can play multiple different games. A standard deck of 52 playing cards is a great example. You can play many different games with a deck of cards, including Poker, Rummy, Go Fish, Pinochle, Eleusis, and Crazy Eights.

For more information, please see the several articles written by Ron Hale-Evans about game systems. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

What are the components of the Alpha Word Game System?

A deck of AlphaPlayingCards, a set of AlphaTiles and a one or two sets of AlphaDice (each set of dice should be of a different color).

How do Alpha versions 1.0 and 2.0 differ?

  1. Alpha 2.0 contains tiles and dice, as well as cards.
  2. The version 2.0 cards have a three-by-three grid on their backs that make a grid like a chessboard when you lay them side-by-side.
  3. Every vowel card in version 2.0 now displays a blue star next to one of the vowels, indicating it's the default for that card. This makes it easier to play word games that must have only a single vowel on each piece, instead of the SemiWild? vowels that are part of Alpha. Both AlphaDice and AlphaTiles also display blue stars for default vowels.
  4. Alpha 2.0 is free.

Do you need a complete Alpha Word Game System to play games?

No! Alpha is really three game subsystems (cards, dice, and tiles) that can be played separately or combined. You can play multiple games with just a deck of AlphaPlayingCards, just a set of AlphaTiles, and just a set of AlphaDice. There are also games that combine cards, tiles, and dice in interesting ways. All of the Games listings tell you exactly what pieces you need to play.

Can I create my own games for the Alpha Word Game System?

Yes! If you feel the urge to create a game for Alpha, go for it. You do not need to ask permission. Once you decide your game is complete and playable, you can add it to this site for others to enjoy.

If you don't want to create your own game, that's OK too. Feel free to enjoy the games that have already been created.

Can I make my own copy of the Alpha Word Game System?

Yes! Anyone can make their own components for Alpha. There are free PDF files and instructions on how to use them on the Download page that you can use to make your own Alpha set. If you are feeling really creative, you can design your own graphics too. You can make as many copies as you like, and if you are in a entrepreneurial mood, you can sell them.

The Alpha Word Game System and its components are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, so please refer to that document if you have questions.

I don't want to make my own set. Can I just buy a copy?

Currently, only AlphaPlayingCards can be purchased as a commercial-grade deck, but we hope that soon all the components will be available commercially. When they are, we'll include a link to those sites.

If you are a game publishing company and are interested in becoming involved, please let us know so we can add you to this website as a source.

Who Created the Alpha Word Game System?

The Alpha Word Game System is a collaboration between Tim Schutz (tjgames.com) and Ron Hale-Evans. Specifically, Tim and Ron were responsible for the following aspects of Alpha 2.0:

Tim Schutz

Ron Hale-Evans