I’m not a competitive person. When I play a game, it’s usually for my own enjoyment and personal best. I don’t pay much attention to metrics like scores or the time it takes to finish or solve. I have Spider Solitaire and Mahjong on my phone and they’re my go to’s when I’m watching tv – they don’t take much attention and I can keep track of the plot as I listen.
I have two word games I play, though, that need undivided attention. One is new and one I’ve been playing for a while.
I discovered Wordscapes a few years ago. It’s a crossword puzzle with no clues and only 6 or 7 letters to work with. There’s a daily puzzle I play when I first open the app. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what most of the things on the opening screen are, don’t know what “brilliance” means or how the score in the upper right hand corner accumulates. Really, I just like the challenge of solving the puzzles. Sometimes, the words get a little repetitive, as you can imagine with only the small amount of letters you get to use, but I’m finding that the longer I play, I’m actually getting some puzzles that are announced as “hard” or “very hard” (but even those don’t seem overly difficult).
Because it’s a free app, there are lots of bright, noisy ads. I’ve gotten used to them—it’s the price you pay for “free”. Every day, you get to pick a “present” that can be tokens that add to the score, a rocket that can be used to spell out an entire word or a bullseye that can give you the letter in any square you chose. The rockets and bullseyes can also be bought, I think, but I don’t spend money on this.
I generally play this just before I go to bed. Sleep experts would probably say that’s a bad thing but it works for me.
The other game I’ve been playing for the past few weeks is Wordle. I’d heard of it but didn’t even have the urge to try it until my BFF, Zan, mentioned it. She’s the one who brought me to Schitt’s Creek, so I trust her taste 😊 And now, I’m addicted. Every morning, I wake up and decide which word I’ll try first.
Wordle started as a daily puzzle created by Josh Wardle and was acquired by the New York Times in January. Basically, you have to guess a five letter word and you only have six tries to figure it out. You enter the letters via a keyboard on the bottom of the app.
If your word contains a letter of the solution for that day, the letter will either turn yellow, which means the letter is in the word but not in that position, or green, meaning that letter is in the word in that exact position. Letters not in the word are greyed out. The keyboard also uses the color coding system, so you can see what letters are still available to try and that’s my biggest advantage playing. I understand there’s a letterboard like that for the players on Wheel of Fortune to refer to, as well. Very helpful!
Sometimes I actually use pen and paper to work out the solution. It’s really disconcerting when my first word is all grey. But then I start thinking about the remaining vowels and that’s my new starting point. On my first try, I hadn’t understood the color system and I didn’t realize that letters could be used twice, so it took me all six tries. Since then, I usually get it in four tries or less but once in a while it takes me five.
Since my business card proclaims me to be a Wordsmith, these games are right up my alley! Any other recommendations you’d like to share?
Current Reads and Watches
What I’m reading now (paper): Pale by Edward A. Farmer
What I’m reading now (Kindle): A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris
What I’m binge watching: Good Omens on Amazon Prime
Wordle graphic: theguardian.com
Keyboard graphic: Blog.ploeh.dk