New English puzzle types, better themes for all languages

We have a very small studio – we are just a handful of team members – and we love continuous improvement. Wordament is coming close to its 2nd anniversary, and I can’t even tell you at this point how many times we’ve shipped! One of the ways that we ship is with new, carefully crafted puzzles that go live each week. In fact, we generate 10 days worth of new puzzles every 7 days, so that IF something goes wrong, we have 3 days to fix it without having to give up a whole weekend. After all, like you, we need to play too!

New English puzzle types

Today we are shipping a new batch of puzzles with some fun new “mix-ins.” A while back we introduced a “4th category of puzzles” – what we on the team lovingly refer to as “Potpourri puzzles” – like the High Value X, or X in the corners, or Long Word. Today we have three new varieties added in, and a new “5th category of puzzle”:

new-puzzle-types

  • Prefix – There’s one tile on the board that can only be used to START words. It cannot be used in the middle or end of words.
  • Either/Or – There’s a special tile, like V/U on the board. It can be used as either a V or a U. There will never be a case where it can be used as both within the same puzzle. For example, you won’t find an E / S tile where both E-A-T and S-A-T are playable.
  • Suffix – There’s one tile on the board that can only be used to END words. Like prefix, it can’t be used at the beginning or middle of words. Also, and you might find this frustrating – you can’t add anything after the suffix. So, if the suffix is –ING, you can make E-N-D-ING, but not E-N-D-ING-S.

Each new tile has a subtle, but special appearance on the board. The prefix tile ends with a hyphen, so “UN-” or “RE-”. The Either / Or tile has a slash: “J / K”. And the suffix tile begins with a hyphen, as in “-ED” or “-ING.”

We are also unveiling a new 5th category of puzzle, which for now appears every other set of five puzzles and introduces the “Speed Round”. For those that like to keep track, our puzzle progression is:

Normal – Potpourri – Digram – Normal / Speed – Theme

The Speed Round is an all out race where word count matters MUCH more than word score. Why? Because all words are worth exactly 10 points. If you look close, you’ll even notice that none of the tiles have values… just letters. So, in this round, 25 words = 250 points. No bonuses, no perks for finding a long word. Just go as fast as you can. We want to give special thanks to Wicketewok who suggested this puzzle during one of our many conversations about Wordament.

For now, we are running the Speed Round only every 10th puzzle. Based on feedback, we may run it more (every set of 5) or less (demote it to a Potpourri puzzle), but for now, we believe it is worth it’s own category.

Improved themes for all languages

This work item was less about the words and more about the way we generate themed puzzles. We hope that you find that the theme diversity is much better and that the hidden words include a better variety. All of our themes have hundreds of words, but not all of them run. This is a step towards getting much richer variation in the words that run. We have also made it so that EACH theme needs to run once before they repeat, so you will not see the Chickens theme running back-to-back, which has happened before.

Available in all versions: right now

The last thing is: no client update is required for these new features. They will just show up automatically. So, whether you have Windows Phone, Windows 8, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Web Beta, you have access to these cool new puzzles right now.

What are you waiting for… see you in the leaderboards!

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About Wordament

Wordament is a fun and addictive word game from You vs. the Internet, a Microsoft Studio.
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