Word Square

A spelling, math, and strategy game

Rules

Make a 5x5 square and a list of the letters in the alphabet. Take turns playing a letter into the square. Score by forming words.

Only words in the dictionary may be used. Proper names may not.

Make words forwards, backwards, up, down, or diagonally. They may only be formed in a straight line.

Score all words formed by playing a letter. Each word scores the square of it's length.
Example 1: Making a 3-letter word scores 9 points (3x3=9).
Example 2: Playing a letter that forms a 3-letter word backwards and a 4-letter word diagonally scores 9 points for the 3-letter word, 16 for the 4-letter one. You get 25 points for playing the letter (3x3 + 4x4 = 25).

The player with the most points when all letters are gone wins.

The 'I' and 'J' are played as the single letter 'IJ'. It may be used as either an 'I' or a 'J'. If used in two or more words, it may be an 'I' for one and a 'J' for another, always as an 'I', or always as a 'J'.

Easy game: Each player picks the letter they will use.
Challenge game: Another player picks the letter for you.
Random game: Write the letters on 25 cardboard squares and pick them at random from a hat or box.
Bible game: You may only play words and names from the Bible (any translation). This is much harder, so each player picks the letter they will use.
Bilingual game: You may use words from two languages. This is easier, so another player picks the letter for you. If a language uses diacritics (accent marks), the letter can be treated as if it did or did not have it. If used in two or more words, the letter may be treated as having a diacritic for some words and not having one for others.

Example game

This isn't an entire example game, but it has some snapshots from one.
 The starting setup for a Word Square game. There are 25 letters to match the 5x5 grid. Notice that 'IJ' is a single letter. The first letter has been played. It is the letter 'A'. It forms the word "A". The word is 1-letter long, so it scores 1 point (1x1=1). Notice that the 'A' is now marked out of the list of letters. Skipping ahead to the 3rd turn. The 'S' has just been played. This forms the word "AS". It is 2 letters long, so it scores 4 points (2x2=4). Skipping ahead to turn 8. The 'R' has just been played. This forms the word "ART" diagonally. It is 3 letters long, so it scores 9 points (3x3=9). The letter 'G' has just been played. It forms the word "GAS" forwards (9 points), the word "SAG" backwards (9 points), and the word "GO" down (4 points). The letter 'G' just scored someone 22 points (9+9+4=22). The letter 'W' has just been played. It forms the word "MOW" for 9 points.