Atomic Monks


I made this game in 2003 using Visual Basic, of all things. It was partly in response to those who claimed you "can't make a real game" in that language and that C/C++ was the only real way to do it. (Spoiler, I cheated a bit by creating a C++ library for analyzing the board for the sake of performance.) I wanted to prove them wrong. It was also a game I wanted to play, so I made it.

It was originally published through a now-defunct company named Game Thoughts. It also ended up bundled with a couple of eGames (also defunct) packages, such as WordMania. Maybe you're old enough to remember when those bundles were all over store shelves?

It's not just a board game. It's not just a word game. Sure, you get seven tiles. Sure there's a board to put them on so you can spell different words. But that's where the similarities to other word games ends. Play against the computer using one of three difficulty settings. There are bombs, traps, ambush tiles, poison and more. Spell one of more than fifty different special words and you'll make your opponent pay dearly. If you spell zap, for example, you will electrocute your opponent. Use the word slap, and the opponent gets pimp slapped and loses a turn. The end result is simple. First player to die loses. Now if that's not motivation to expand your vocabulary, we don't know what is! Game Thoughts

It had online leaderboards and instructions for making your own skins. The biggest "win" to me was when Sierra Games expressed an interest in publishing the game. Unfortunately their legal team was scared by the visual similarity to Scrabble and nixed the deal. One of their VPs called me personally to explain and to say they were really enjoying the game at the company.

Some screenshots are available on the next page.

One of the original banners for the game