Did you know that Magnetic Poetry was invented as a way to write song lyrics? Luckily, nobody ever seriously considered using them for this purpose (or did they?), and they've wound up as the poetic equivalent of doodling on scratch paper. For some people, though, idle word shuffling just doesn't cut it. You know who you are; you're the cutthroat competitor, the one who collected every bit of gold in N and will take on any comer who dare challenges you in Tetris. "What good is Magnetic Poetry if you can't be the best at it?" you might be saying.
Well, wonder no more, for Paul Preece and David Scott (AKA the Casual Collective) have just the thing: Farragomate! Compete against up to 9 other players to make the best sentence out of a given pool of words. To start, just enter your name and join, or create a game. Each game consists of 10 rounds. During a round there are two phases: sentence building and voting.
During the sentence building phase, click words to put them into the submission box and drag them to move them around. Try to make a complete sentence that fits the theme (if there is one) and makes some sort of sense. It's harder than it seems, because you have at most 80 seconds to look over the words, think of something to say and get them all in order before they are submitted.
After time is up, all players sentences are displayed (unmarked, so you don't know who submitted what), and you then vote for your favorite from among the other sentences. Each vote is worth 1 point, and the top vote getters each receive 5 points. Anyone who votes for the winner also gets 1 point. At the end of ten rounds, the player with the most accumulated points wins!
Farragomate was almost certainly created as a tribute to Psychobabble, a discontinued Popcap game built on essentially the same principle. Psychobabble fans who were disappointed when Popcap pulled their multiplayer games will absolutely find Farragomate to their liking, as there is little difference between the two.
Analysis: At its core, Farragomate is a party game, the sort of thing your family pulls out to ward off drowsiness after Christmas dinner. Now, it's quite difficult to successfully make a party-style game work over the internet; for one thing, the face-to-face contact and inside personal knowledge that makes such games as Taboo, Balderdash, and Apples to Apples fun just cannot be recreated on a computer screen. Farragomate also shares this shortcoming.
However, a game like Farragomate lends itself much more readily to a computer screen interface than to pencil and paper, and there are two features which can add a slight amount of personalization to the game. First, the players may vote on themes for the round. Second, the names of the players are always available as possible words to use in your sentences. Unfortunately, this second feature also provides a loophole to introduce potentially offensive words, even if you use the filtered wordsets.
A word of caution: juvenile humor abounds, so if innuendo and references to various bodily functions send your eyes rolling back into your head, you may find Farragomate underwhelming. Even the filtered word sets aren't exactly G-rated, hence our orange rating. But if you can get past that, Farragomate presents a unique challenge to both your left and right cranial lobes, and provides a fix for all you jonesing Psychobabble junkies.