ROWOWOR


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Rating: 4.2/5 (103 votes)
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ROWOWOR

ArtbegottiWhat words can you pull from a string of seven letters? For example, let's take ROWOWOR. At the beginning of the string is "row", which obviously means a set arranged in a linear fashion. In the middle is "wow", which is either an expression of surprise, or the act of impressing someone. At the end is "wor", which is of course, referring to the Wizard of Wor... Okay, that one's a stretch.

ROWOWORIn any case, you now have the basic gist behind Tonypa's new word game creation, ROWOWOR. Your goal is to rack up points by creating as many unique words as you can within a string of seven letters. Each level begins with two letters already set in the row for you. The next letter appears up top, and the next two letters in the queue are located below. Using your mouse, line up each letter in the place where you want to insert it, and click to place it there. If a word of three or more letters is formed, it turns green, and you'll receive points for it (if you don't break it apart before the end of the round). Remember that you can't change the order of the letters, so make all of your placements carefully. The round ends when you fill the row with seven letters. Your score for all your words is added up, and the board clears to make room for two new starting letters. If you failed to make any words, your game ends.

And in a nutshell, that's ROWOWOR. However, there's one more tricky rule: Each word can only be used once. Your list of words that you've used is recorded (but hidden), so while you might get away with using "eat" and "see" in one round, not only will you not get points for them the second time around, but they also won't help you advance to the next level. So instead of sticking to your safe and easy list of "Cat in the Hat" words, you've got to push for the more complex words (Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys?) in order to stay alive longer.

The reward for longer words drastically increases as well. While three-letter words are a measly 10 points, four-letter words are 25 points, and five-letter words jump up to 100 points. If six-letter words are worth a whopping 500 points, you can only imagine the tremendous boost your score will get if you can nail down a seven-letter word. Also, if you manage to include all seven letters in at least one word, you get a 150-point bonus.

Analysis: Once again, Tonypa delivers a clever puzzler in a simple-but-catchy style. In what could be considered his first word game (okay, there was White is Not Enough, but that was a word association game), you can still see his talent for spinning a simple idea to make a whole new challenge.

One concern with most word games is the quality of the dictionary, and the word list for ROWOWOR is quite adequate. You won't find a lot of obscure three-letter words that Scrabble experts memorize, or words that crossword puzzle makers use in emergencies, but just about all of the words you'd use on a normal basis can be found here. (Besides, who uses "cwm" in everyday conversation anyway?)

In terms of difficulty, the game is balanced so that any player can have a good run for their money, regardless of how many dictionaries they've memorized. The kicker that can still make or break a game is the random letter distribution. While the odds of getting a certain letter seem to run parallel to common letter distribution patterns like ETAOIN SHRDLU, you still run into the occasional round with Q, J, X, a few A's, and nothing else to help you out. That's just an element of luck you have to put up with, but most predicaments give you a fighting chance.

ROWOWOR might even serve as a deeper challenge for veteran wordsmiths. Most word games ask you to rearrange the given letters to make up a list of words, but here, your rearranging abilities are limited. There are always two (or more) letters that can't be flip-flopped, and you must work around this restriction by tweaking everything you've ever experienced in a word game. Anagrams are fun to play with, but anagrams with a ball and chain can become vicious. The three-letter words are an easy opt-out, but how long can you survive with them dwindling away?

Play ROWOWOR

29 Comments

I love the balance. Played through 115 words and 273 letters my first time.

I really like the fact that you cannot re-use words, because it forces you to dredge your mental dictionary for variety.

Also, it rarely is as hopeless as it seems. There always seems to be just one more three letter word left. I often had to purposefully get a single 3-letter word to "skip" a round, and then the next round would be often be easier.

Very fun!

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great game. one of tonypa's best yet imho. got just over 5k before i landed the letters IAJKOI. can anyone find anything with these letters? i could not.

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shingles July 13, 2009 10:09 PM

@bobbyd: Koi? As in the fish? Or maybe you already used it.

Also, this has to be my favorite Tonpya game so far! :D I love word games and this one is one of the best I've played so far.

Man, I got to 2.2k but then I made a bet with the letters SUAV that I'd get an E, and I was wrong. :(

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shingles July 13, 2009 10:12 PM

@bobbyd: Also, oak.

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@bobbyd

Oak- type of tree.

Oka- a Turkish liquid unit equal to 1.3 pints.

Jak- immense East Indian fruit resembling breadfruit.

Jiao- (') is a unit of currency in the People's Republic of China.
or-> Jiaon- (教) is also the Chinese word for "teaching" or "religion".

Jako- An African parrot very commonly kept as a cage bird.

those are all the combination's i can find using a scrambled word finder.

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"You can only imagine the tremendous boost", heh, heh. I take it they're simply not recognised at all?
[UNITIZE not recognised, sure; RAIMENT, um, I suppose; RAISINS (though singular RAISIN counts), what?]

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Here is a word I tried to use, but it wasn't in the dictionary. QAT. Perfect scrabble word.

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foo, are you saying game did not allow words UNITIZE, RAIMENT or RAISINS? These words are all included in the game so they should work.

Thanks everyone, it was more difficult to make word game then you might think.

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It's a good game for leisure.

Ther4e are, however, two things that it seriously lacks, IMHO. One is soime kind of undo option, the second is the availability of checking if the game's vocabulary contains a given word or not. Some have already complained about unaccepted words and I had some solutions that were not accepted. Fine, I accept, of course, that the game's vocabulary is not perfect - but it would be good to know it before you put the tile down - something you cannot undo.

Still, all in all, I like this one.

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Oh, one more thing: it was probably due to the fact that I only loosely read the review and the rules before starting the game (got used to the fact that Tonypa's games usually don't need much of preparation, bless him :D) and I realized in-game that I 1.) didn't know when the game would end 2.) words once used don't count for the second time. So, I restarted the game and checked what info it provides: it says nothing about when a game would end and that you cannot use a word more than once in one game. Sure, when you try to do so it says "used", or something to that effect, but it's not clear that you don't get the points, unless you check how your score builds up turn by turn. I guess these two things could be clarified at the startin screen of the game.

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ViciousChicken Author Profile Page July 14, 2009 1:04 PM

boo, it doesn't accept "muon". Fun game though.

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I LOVE this game! And I'm so proud, I got 9225 points (#6 on the board currently)

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This game is great, but it's just a shame about the vocabulary. Some less common words are allowed but many are not. It should really use a standard dictionary rather than an arbitrary word list.

There is also an unfortunate bias towards American English: many very common British English words are not accepted, such as LOO, NOB and OIK - any native speaker in the UK knows these words, but this game does not.

I was able to submit my (initially low) scores a couple of times, but then when I started getting the hang of the game, scoring highly, and the game ended, it just went to an advertisement or restarted, rather annoyingly.

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I got around 7000, but I also had a few things that were *definitely* words not show up, while "sox" actually got me through a level I though I'd died on. Sox?? seriously?

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Very fun game, but the dictionary is severely lacking. I was very excited to have my first seven-letter word be "ovation" (as in O felt like giving myself one when I clicked it in), but NO! Not a word, according to tonypa, although I did get ova, vat, and ion out of the deal.

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Good game, but also I was disappointed at some 7 letter words I made that were not in the dictionary (or its a bug). I'm still waiting to see how much it's worth.

Also found a small bug, in our favor, but it doesn't help much ... true you can't reuse a word, but you can use a word twice in the same rack eg ATEXATE will score "ate" twice (whoopie extra 10 points)

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Denita TwoDragons Author Profile Page July 14, 2009 10:24 PM

I really enjoyed this game, but I'm one of those folks who wishes the dictionary was a tad more fleshed out. Also, use of the Q can be really tricky, and has killed several of my games...

Definitely a strong foundation to work on, though, and a major slaughterer of time I should have spent washing dishes and laundry...LOL

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LOVE this game...eats up my time like nobody's business. Agree about the vocab, though; was so excited to spell "vitamin" only to have it not accepted. Bummer! Great concept, though, and highly addictive.

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@tonypa: Yeah, it wasn't recognising any of my seven-letter words. Not sure what the problem is.

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Thank you all, I have updated the game:

*it now has more instructions on title screen
*found a bug that sometimes did not recognise longer words (very sorry about that)
*increased dictionary from 28k words up to 52k words

If you still find missing words or other problems, please let me know.

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Zonypa,
thx for the quick reaction. I'll go and have another session now :)

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The game recognizes a lot more words now. In fact, I'm learning quite a few myself. :)

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Absolutely terrific. Thanks for adding more words to the dictionary, too. I'm having lots of fun with this.

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Gobsmacked Author Profile Page July 15, 2009 1:43 PM

Sorry, Tonypa. I tend to give up in disgust when "find a word" games deliver nothing but "Q", "Z", and no vowels.

I literally got ZZZQXAY (not neccessarily in that order) my first try. No words existed in that string at all. What the heck? Three Z's and only one vowel. Really.

The second time I got NUCLJYW. Are you kidding me?

The third time, I obviously made up for lost vowels: AUOIPDR. Oooh, if I'd gotten them in the right order (I didn't), I might have been able to get "Pad" and "Pud", or maybe "Rad" out of that. Greeeaaaat. What fun.

Whatever logic chooses the letters is BROKEN, man. Try again.

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Nice find and a time waster.
Scored 12595 before I entered all used words.

Thanks

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oh, enjoying this alot more now, it's recognizing everything! Qat saved me, as it has in many a scrabble game...
@Gobsmacked, I think you should try it a bit more. Sounds like insanely bad luck, since I've never had levels like that. Also, having only one 3 letter word for a set isn't a big deal since it just gives you another chance to get a clean one, the number of sets you go through doesn't matter.

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Great game but annoying when you have invested some time and get a combination of letters that can produce no words.

I think the game would be transformed if the set of seven letters was in fact a seven letter word with the letters supplied randomly but, of course, the two fixed letters presented in the correct order. This would reduce players dependence on strange three letter words and put more emphasis on figuring out the seven letter word. Nothing else would need to change.

Although I also think the scoring would be improved if it was as follows:

3 letter word = 1 point
4 letter word = 4 points
5 letter word = 9 points
6 letter word = 16 points
7 letter word = 25 points
Use all letters = 8 points

Finally, I do wonder how anyone could get a score of 308,943. They must have been presented with some wonderful letter combinations.

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unless i'm being blind (which is likely the case hah) ... when you get stuck and get game over, i'd like to see a "play again" button so i don't have to reload the game. if anyone knows where that button is, let me know! please?

love this game tonypa! :)

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How could so many seven-letter words be missing from the dictionary, and yet "awaiter" counts as one? I've never heard "awaiter" before, and yet it got me a 3000-point bonus for a 7-letter word (oh, did I get some heavy points on THAT round... await, wait, waiter, awaiter...)

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