Kotsuku is a Word Game Tucked into a Sudoku Grid

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Kotsuku™ is a new word game from On The Spot Games™. Kotsuku has a Sudoku-like appearance, but unlike Sudoku it is played competitively between two people. The game's publisher has plans to make it a staple for word game lovers young and old. The game has a MSRP of $9.99 and is available online and through specialty retailers throughout the US.

At a glance the new card game Kotsuku from On The Spot Games will remind you of Sudoku thanks to its grid layout and its Japanese sounding name. As play begins, Scrabble® and Tic Tac Toe might come to mind. However, once you and your playing partner have impulsively ripped through 10 games in a row, you will realize that there is a lot more to this simple little game than meets the eye.

Origin of Kotsuku

"We wanted to create a name for our grid game that had a familiar sound, but was distinct from Sudoku. After all, Kotsuku is a word game for two players, not a numbers puzzle for one." said Rob Mathewson, Big Picture Guy for On The Spot Games. "Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the origin of the name Sudoku, so we chose to use a similar method to derive the name for our game.

According to Wikipedia, the name Sudoku was extracted from the Japanese phrase Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru, which can be translated as "the numbers must occur only once." Mathewson used a similar approach for creating the name Kotsuku, which is derived from "Kotoba wo tsukuru," the Japanese translation for "make a word".

How to Play

Kotsuku game cards have standard 5 x 5 grids on the front side and deluxe grids of various shapes on back. Cards are preprinted with a few "seed" letters that are randomly placed around each grid. Players match wits and vocabularies as they take turns writing letters in the grids using an included dry-erase pen.

To win the game a player must complete a word of three letters or more. Winning words may be written in any direction, frontward or backwards. Each letter may be used only once per game. This sounds simple enough, but once play begins you quickly realize that you must simultaneously play offense and defense in order to be successful. An incorrectly placed letter, especially if it is a vowel, may spell instant victory for your opponent.

Appealing Play

Kotsuku will appeal to puzzlers and gamers alike. Those who enjoy Scrabble®, crossword puzzles and other such word based contests will enjoy the challenge of constructing a word from a jumbled mess of letters. By contrast, left-brainers who enjoy Sudoku, chess and other strategic games will appreciate the flow of the game and the positional challenges that arise after each new letter is placed in the grid.

What's Next?

On The Spot Games is encouraging schools to use the game to improve spelling and handwriting skills by offering free Kotsuku tournament kits through its website (http://www.funonthespot.com.) On The Spot Games has a plan to offer Kotsuku in many forms in the future including a cell phone version that allows players to trade grids back and forth between handsets and a magnet game for your refrigerator at home. Mathewson predicts that before too long, parents and kids will be sketching out Kotsuku grids for spontaneous play just as they have done with Tic Tac Toe and Hangman for ages.

"The beauty of this game lies in its simplicity." Says Mathewson. "A new player can start a game within minutes of opening the box, yet the game gets better with each successive play. An accomplished Kotsuku player is akin to a chess master whom can plan several moves in advance."

Kotsuku from On The Spot Games has a suggested retail price of $9.99. The game is available from specialty retailers throughout the US. Consumers may also purchase it online through the On The Spot Games website, toysrus.com and participating etailers.

Founded in 2001, On The Spot Games is based in Seattle, WA, the birthplace of some of the most popular board and card games in the US. The company focuses on simple, sociable fun and offers a pledge of "Guaranteed Fun" for all of its games. The company received a Dr. Toy's Best Children's Vacation Product 2005 Award and the Seal of Excellence for the 2004 Creative Toy Awards by Creative Child Magazine for its debut product DidYa Know. For more information about On The Spot Games, visit the website http://www.funonthespot.com/media.html. You may read Rob Mathewson's blog at http://fun-on-the-spot.blogspot.com


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