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You Should Play: Meet Capitals, your new favorite word game

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | July 13, 2015
These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.

I know this sounds a bit complicated, but it's really not. You'll get the hang of it!

You don't have to be a nerd: Scrabble-inspired games are often drawn out as players try to best (and impress) their buddies with the perfect 56-point (and totally obtuse) vocabulary word. But Capitals doesn't cater to the intellectual show-offs--to win this game, you'll need to have a decent vocab as well as a keen eye for strategy.

Capitals works on a turn-by-turn basis, but if you capture (or convert) your opponent's capital tile, you get an extra turn. And if you capture all of their remaining territory in that extra turn, you win the game. What this means is that the longest, most complicated word is not always the best word--in fact, it's often not.

There have been several turns in Capitals where I had plenty of letter tiles with which to make epic Scrabble words, but where my opponent's territory was only surrounded by three tiles. Sure, I could go the extra mile to impress...myself, I guess...and make some super-long word that included those three tiles. Or...I could just use those three tiles and wipe them off the face of the board, and win the game (this is what I chose to do). Likewise, I've played a few opponents who were clearly vocab-whizzes but had no sense for strategy and when faced with the opportunity to kill off my territory, they chose instead to make some no-doubt high-points Scrabble word (and they didn't win).

So Capitals evens the playing field a bit, and forces you to think outside the "I am very smart" box. It's not about showing off your large vocabulary is (although it is partly about this), it's about showing off how well you can think on your feet when you're battling for territory in a word game.

The perfect freemium balance: Capitals is free with in-app purchases. I know, I know--often this means that gameplay is extremely stilted unless you buy the extra options. But Capitals' free play is actually very reasonable: You get one life (which means you can start one new game) every hour, with a cap of three lives. You can have as many games going at a time as you like, but you can only start three new games every three hours (and trust me--this game is a time-suck, so NimbleBit is actually doing you a favor). You can increase that cap to five lives for $5, or you can go for unlimited lives for $10.

The game also gives you the option to customize your "Capital," that is, choose your color and your symbol. For $1, you can change your color to one other than the default red or blue, and you can switch your symbol from a rook to an alien, a football, or a bulldog (among many, many other icons). You can check out the customization options before you purchase by tapping Customize from the main screen.

You'll have plenty of fun with Capitals without spending a cent, but the premium add-ons are priced well and worth it if you want to take the next step.


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