Gridword is a simple word making game. The player is presented with an on-screen keyboard with an empty grid above. The aim of the game is for the player to fill the grid with as many words, across and down, as they can by arranging a set of letters given by the program. The keyboard is shaded to indicate, for each letter, how many are available. Their total count matching the size of the grid.
When a letter is placed on the board the intensity of its shading is decreased, so that at the end of the game all the letters of the keyboard will be white, showing that they are all used up. Obviously the letter frequencies determine the possible boards.
Grids are awarded a score. This is worked out by adding the number of letters in the longest word in each row and column. Only words of length three or more are counted. The game has over 300 sets of letter frequencies, and a suggested solution grid for each.
The best way to get a feel for the mechanics of the game is to look at the Worked Example
The grids have sizes 4x4, 5x5 and 6x6 and the corresponding puzzle numbers are 0-34, 35-169 and 170-304.
Gridword Example Start
The start of a gridword game with shaded letters. Comparing the shading to a solution for this puzzle shown in the adjacent figure it can be seen that Q is not available, W occurs once, E six times, R twice, and so on.
Gridword Example End
The end of a gridword game with the grid complete and all shading used up. While the game is in progress the grid has a grey background, but as soon as the last letter is moved from the keyboard to the grid the program scans the rows and coloumns to produce grid shading as seen here. Squares not part of a word are left grey, those only in a word across or a word down are light orange, those in a word across and a word down are dark orange. The final score is shown at the top (40).
At the top of the display is a Toolbar. The jigsaw piece button at the left is a menu which has options for setting the font size, saving the setting and displaying the help screen. To the right of the puzzle icon is the game icon used to start a new game: left click selects a random puzzle number, right click, the next puzzle in the list. Right of this is a sad smiley which is used to show a possible solution. Right again is a box for entering puzzle numbers. Right again is the score and finally a clock which ticks every 5 seconds. Letters can be only entered using the on-screen keyboard.
To place a letter, first left-click on the desired position on the grid ( a dot will appear), and then left-click on the desired letter on the on-screen keyboard. To remove a letter or dot from the grid, right click on it. As words are added or subtracted the current score will be updated at the top.
When a new puzzle is selected the score of its suggested solution is displayed at the top and is a target for the player. It is removed when the player first clicks on the grid, to be replaced by the players score. If the player manages to match or exceed the target score the game will flash to congratulate.
A video to demonstrate placing letters in gridword. First the player selects puzzle number 4. They then effectively transfer letters from the on-screen keyboard to the grid by first placing a dot on the grid, then selecting a letter from the keyboard. Notice that the keyboard shading fades and eventually a word is produced on the grid and the score starts to increase. At one point the player puts in the word OTIS but the score does not change. A rethink leads to letters being removed and a scoring solution found. When the last letter is added to the grid the program recognises that the player has exceeded the suggested score and so flashes the time value.