Only in the mobile gaming sector could a developer not only come up with an idea as convoluted as combining betting on and racing horses with Scrabble, but turn that idea into what could be the next smash-hit social word game.

Mention Mobile's Word Derby turns tile-based word-assembly into a horse race. Up to four players take turns creating words from a similar set of tiles. The number of points scored in a round is added to each players' total, with scores represented by horses on a racetrack. The first player to reach 200 points crosses the finish line and wins the game.

It's more fun playing against strangers than friends, thanks to a gambling system that allows players to play for tickets. Tickets are in-game currency that can be used to purchase power-ups and more powerful jockeys. Mention wisely omitted this feature from friend-to-friend play, because friends are cheating jerks ruin the party for everybody else.

I laughed when I read the setup for Word Derby. It sounded ridiculous. The best ideas often do.

Word Derby — $.99 [iTunes]