When you hear or read about the Microsoft Corporation, what first comes to mind? Most if not all people will answer “computers” or “software” because that is the company is best known for. However, aside from computer stuff and software, Microsoft has also develops and publishes games (think the Xbox series!) and one of them is Wordament.
Introduction to Wordament
A portmanteau of “word” and “tournament,” this Microsoft game is basically a you-vs-the-Internet game. It is a word-finding tournament with games happening 24-7 and your main goal is to be the best word searcher! You can play even in the middle of a game, so you don’t have to worry about remembering a schedule. All players (more popularly called Wordamentalists) play on only one board online and compete to get the best score in real time. Every game is limited to two minutes and the player with the highest score after the given time limit is declared the winner.
Originally, the game was just a side project of two employees of Windows Live. Later on, it was acquired and published as a registered trademark by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released on April 1, 2011 and it can be played via Xbox for Windows Phone, Windows 8, and the web. In addition, on December 22, 2012, an iOS version was released, so Wordament can also be played on the iPhone and is available on the App Store for free.
How to play
One simple movement is required to play the game: swiping! You can form words that are at least 3 letters long by swiping letters in any direction: horizontally, vertically, diagonally, backwards, and forward. Use your finger to drag the letters to spell out words. As long as the adjacent letters you swipe form valid words, then you’re off to becoming a certified word searcher! As your finger passes each letter tile, it will be highlighted and the word you are spelling appears on top of the letter grid. This feature serves as your guide in word formation as well as viewing the letters. If the word you have built is valid, it will turn green once your finger is lifted off the grid. If the word is something you have already found, then it will turn yellow. Lastly, invalid or illegal words turn red.
Every new and valid word you build will increase your word count and of course, your score. Both are automatically updated. Generally, the longer a word you form, the higher your score will be.
There are 16 letter tiles on the 4×4 grid and each tile has a corresponding value. So aside from word length, the letters you use can also significantly affect your score. The point values of the letter tiles range from 1-12 points, depending on their frequency of use. For example, the most commonly used vowel is the letter E, so it is worth just a point, along with the letter I. The letters A and O are worth 2 points each, while the least commonly used vowel U is worth 5 points. On the other hand, some of the higher scoring consonants are W with 6 points, Z with 8 points, and Q with 10 points. Moreover, some tiles carry double letters like Ed, Er, Qu and Ra or the triple letter-tile MIS which is worth 12 points! Tiles with more than one letter can easily increase your score especially if you use them to build longer words. Other tiles contain “either/or” letters like I/V (worth 20 points!) meaning you can use the tile to spell out words that need either an I or a V.
Aside from the total value of the letters you use, multipliers also play a part in determining your final score. The multiplier bonus depends on how long a word is. Words with 4-5 letters are worth 1.5x more, while 6-7-letter words are doubled. For even longer words with at least 8 letters, the total word score is tripled! So as much as possible, form words that are at least four letters long to have more multipliers.
Wordament vs other word games
What makes Wordament different from other word games is the fact that it can be played at any time without the inconvenience of waiting for an opponent to play before you take another turn. There’s also no need to initiate game play because the game does it for you: continuous game play every two minutes or so. Moreover, other word search games have only one special tile, most particularly Qu, whereas in Wordament, there are more word building opportunities because of tiles that carry more than one letter and the either/or letter tiles. Ultimately, it is a unique word game that offers non-stop fun and competition.