Category: iPhone Word Games
Playing word puzzles like crosswords is a good way to keep your brain sharp and improve your vocabulary. In addition, you can play many of them against your family or friends, which is a good way to bond with them. One of the classic and most played word puzzles is Scrabble which has spawned similar games including the fun crossword game Lexulous.
History of Lexulous
Lexulous was formerly called Scrabulous, a game developed and run by an Indian company of the same name under the supervision of the brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla. The brothers, having won a lot of Scrabble tournaments, felt that the classic game should have a site where it can be played for free.
At first, the site the brothers created was called BingoBinge in 2005. On July 5, 2006, the site was renamed Scrabulous which then became a popular Facebook application in 2007. However, in 2008, because of some lawsuits involving copyright infringements particularly because of its resemblance to Scrabble, the game was removed from Facebook and the Scrabulous site was also taken down. Later on, the Delhi High Court granted the company to reinstate the game online, but under a different name. Hence, on September 27, 2008, the new website was launched with the name Lexulous and, in January 2009, the game also returned to Facebook. It has an average of at least half a million Facebook users per month.
How to play
First, you need to choose what kind of game you’d like to play: online or offline. If you play it online, you can sign in with your Facebook account, your email, or even your phone contacts. Using your Facebook account to play the game means your opponents will be your friends. If you use your email, you will be asked for a username and password and Lexulous will create an account for you. If you play the game offline, you will be presented with three options: play against your device (the AI), yourself (solitaire), or against an opponent (play and pass). If you choose the latter two, you will be asked to choose the dictionary you prefer: US or UK English, French, or Italian.
Whichever mode you pick, the first player (usually you go first), needs to begin forming a word that will include the star in the center of the board. Depending on your location or the version of the game you’re playing, you can have either 7 or 8 letter tiles. On the game’s website, players outside Canada and the US have 7 tiles. Words can be formed horizontally and vertically, and whether you are playing against an opponent or yourself, you take turns in making a move.
A total of 88 (including two blanks that can stand for any letter) tiles are available and with each move you make, fresh tiles will appear on your rack. To form a word, drag the letters on the grid, although this is usually necessary for just the first few letters of a word because once the game identifies the direction of your move, all you need to do is tap the remaining letters and they will automatically be included in the word you are forming. To submit your word, tap the play button.
If you can’t seem to find a word to form, you can either swap or pass. You can swap all of your tiles if you wish. Whether you swap or pass, a prompt will appear asking you if you’re sure about your decision or if you would like to cancel it. You can also check the validity of a word before playing it by doing a dictionary search. In addition, the remaining tiles of the game including their amount can be viewed, so you can make strategic moves.
The game ends when one player uses up all of his or her tiles and the one with the higher score wins. A game will also end if both players pass twice in a row.
Each letter tile has a corresponding point value which can be seen on the actual tile and the values range from 1 to 12 points. The total value of a word is determined by getting the sum of the letters’ point values.
Although longer words are helpful, sometimes, short but strategically formed words can also yield big points. There are special coloured squares on the board that can significantly increase your score especially when letters with high point values are placed on them. These either double or triple your word or letter score. The letters Q and Z are worth 12 points each, so if you are able to place them on a triple letter square, their value alone becomes 36 points!
When a game ends, you can earn additional points if you win against your opponent because the sum of his or her remaining tiles will be added to your total score.
Lexulous is a game that can greatly improve your Lexicon and its letter tiles have higher values compared to other word games. Not many word games can be played online and offline, and that makes this game more appealing. It also has plenty of options as to who your opponent will be, including yourself!
Puzzle solving is good way to sharpen one’s logical senses. There are many kinds of puzzles like jigsaw, Sodoku, a Rubik’s cube, crosswords, anagrams, and cryptograms. Nowadays, it is very easy to gain access to puzzles online, including the classic game Cryptogram. You can play it online or download it so you can easily access it on your Apple device.
What is a cryptogram?
A cryptogram is a puzzle that is composed of encrypted text and the words of the text are replaced with blanks or blank boxes with a letter or number under each one. To solve it, the original lettering must be restored. For example, A becomes P while B becomes V. So blanks above the letter A should be filled with a letter P and the blanks over B should be filled with the letter V.
Originally, cryptograms were used for military purposes and conveying personal secrets. They began to be used for entertainment purposes in the Middle Ages by monks who opted to play intellectual games in their spare time. It was also discovered that people who visited the king of Gwynedd in Wales were presented with cryptograms which could be completed by interchanging Latin and Greek letters. In the 13th century, an English monk came up with a book containing 7 cipher methods. In the 19th century, cryptograms were popularized thanks to Edgar Allan Poe who wrote a lot of magazine and newspaper articles about them.
The app Cryptogram was developed by Norman Basham and it was released by Apple in August of 2011. It is one of the top downloaded games for the iPad.
How to play
In Cryptogram, you need to solve encrypted quotes by figuring out the proper letter substitutions. Every letter stands for another unique letter. At the beginning of a game, you may be given a few letters as hints to help you decode the quote as quickly as you can. You can also tap the hint button to reveal more letters or you can start making guesses. However, guessing incorrectly results in adding more time to the clock, so it’s best to carefully decipher the message. The longer you play the game, the lengthier and the more difficult the puzzles become. To enter a letter, you can tap the blank you wish to fill and enter the letter you believe to be the equivalent of the one under the blank.
Making educated guesses is a must when playing Cryptogram. One thing you can consider is the frequency of the letters as well as word and letter combinations. A mnemonic you can memorize is ETAOIN SHRDLU. It may sound like nonsense but if you memorize this, you now have a close approximation of the twelve most frequently used letters. Try recognizing letter patterns in words, like for example one-letter words can either be an A or an I. The article “the” and the conjunction “and” can also be easily formed once you get the hang of things. Double letters like ll, ff, tt, ss, pp, rr, dd, nn, cc, oo, and ee are also helpful in deciphering the quote as well as words with apostrophes. Some other common words are “of,” “is,” “are,” “to,” “in,” “it,” and “can.” Moreover, it is also helpful to study the most common letters that end a word, such as D, E, N, R, S, T, and Y.
Due to constant updates, you can actually pick the puzzle difficulty of a Cryptogram game. You can choose from three: easy, medium, and hard. These levels were determined by hundreds of thousands of puzzle scores from players located in different parts of the world. If you’re a beginner, then it is advisable to start playing in easy mode and work your way up to the medium and hard levels. Challenging yourself to constantly improve your time record is fulfilling, so never give up!
The design of this game is like an old school typewriter. You can play over 800 puzzles and you can purchase more puzzle packs at only $0.99 cents each. The puzzle packs include Potpurri, Great Movie Lines, The Spirit of Asia, Simple Inspirations, and Wit, Wisdom, & Humour. If you’re really a hard core fan of the game, you can print, email, and share your puzzles and the quotes you decipher on Facebook! You can also review and replay your puzzles to improve your time.
Cryptogram is definitely a game that can keep your brain productive even during your spare time so make sure you have it on your iPad, iPhone, or iTouch!