Introduction

In the real world Boggle is traditionally played with lettered dice, pen and paper. The aim of the games being to find as many different words as possible in a randomly generated grid of letters. Here the program generates and displays the grid and players enter as many of the hidden words as they can find.

Contents

Words are entered by left clicking on the letters in turn, or by typing on the keyboard. Letters may be used any number of times, but only once per word. The sequence of letters in a word must be from touching squares. Unless it is at the edge of the grid each square touches eight others: left, right, up, down and four diagonals.

Boggle Example

Boggle Example

A screenshot from boggle showing a newly started game. At the top of the window is a Toolbar and a clock. Below this is the randomly generated grid. Here shading is being used to indicate the number of words originating from each square. Not surprisingly there are none starting on the letter 'X'. Below the grid is an entry box, here containing the letter 'S' as the player has just left-clicked on the 'S' at the top left of the grid. Correct completed words are automatically transfered to the scrolling list underneath. Click to see an animation showing the first few words being found in this grid. Notice the shading of the letter 'T' fading as the words are entered. The delay between images is 2 seconds.

Please refer to the screenshot. The program has created a random grid and the player has started to enter a word starting with the letter 'S'. As the letters are entered they appear in the entry box just under the grid. When words are completed and the program has checked that they are in it's dictionary they are moved to the scrolling list directly below.

Using the Menu the player can select the type of game to play (against the clock, or find all); whether or not the squares should be shaded to indicate the numbers of words that originate from them; the input mode (mouse or keyboard); the time limit for a game against the clock; the minimum word length (3,4,5 or 6); the grid size (4,5 or 6 squares a side); whether or not to allow cross-over words. All these values can be saved using "Save settings" so that when the game is restarted they will be set automatically.

Summary

The program starts by displaying a randomly selected grid. Find the words hidden in the grid. Define words by left clicking on the letters (in order). Right click to finish a word, middle click to undo a letter. Alternatively enter the words using the keyboard. Letters can only be used once per word and must be selected from touching squares. Words of sufficient length that are in the program's dictionary will be transferred to the scrolling list. Play is either against the clock or tries to find all words and see how long it takes. Results show the number of words the player found, the number remaining and the percentage the player found. The optional colour coding shows how many words can be found starting from each square, white meaning none. The colour fades as the words are found.

At the top of the display is a Toolbar. The jigsaw piece button at the left is a menu which has options for choosing the game type, selecting shading, choosing the input mode, the maximum game duration, crossover, minimum word length, and grid size. To the right of the puzzle icon is the boggle icon used to start a new game, and a sad smiley used to show the solution. Right again is a clock which ticks every 5 seconds.

Making Words

Letters may be used any number of times, but only once per word. The sequence of letters in a word must be from touching grid elements (squares). Unless it is at the edge of the grid each square touches eight other squares: left, right, up, down and four diagonals.

If the cross over option is used, finding all the words is much more difficult. In this mode additional words can be made by exiting the outer edges of the grid to enter squares on the opposite side. Please see the adjacent figures for an example.

Cross Over

Cross Over

Cross over mode showing the path of the word "COLT" with dots: black at the cell exit points, green at entry points.


                       N GTN G
                         ---
                       R|OLR|O
                       C|HFC|H
                       N|GTN|G
                         ---
                       R OLR O

How the cells are wrapped around in cross over mode in the adjacent screenshot. Notice that to make "CO" not only has the "C" wrapped around, but it has jumped a row. The "LT" link is more obvious.

Dictionary

The program uses a built-in dictionary representing the Collins Scrabble Word List 2012, which contains 270,163 words. It was downloaded from the zyzzyva site. Within the program the dictionary is represented as Directed Acyclic Graph.