Board game combines poker, Scrabble |

Board game combines poker, Scrabble

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

A Los Gatos software engineer wants South Lake Tahoe to come on board the world of fun words.

Peter Roizen has developed a game called WildWords, which he describes as a cross between Scrabble and poker. It’s sold at Toy Maniacs, Mountain Spirit bookstore, Sierra bookshop and Tahoe Country as well as 15 stores in the Bay Area. The first 500 boards hit the market almost two months ago.

His first production run of the game cost the designer $16 a unit. The game’s suggested retail price is $29.95.

The thought-provoking game resulted from an “aha” for Roizen at 5 a.m. – a brainstorm he shared with his brother, Roy, on e-mail.

Players use letters in a variety of patterns across the board to spell words, with the help of 12 wild tiles marked by asterisks.

“You can play any word in English,” he said. “But I find my vocabulary has gotten better since I’ve played it.”

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Although Roizen is from the Bay Area, he has been coming to Tahoe since he was 4. In 1950 his family bought a home in Zephyr Heights.

– E-mail Susan Wood at