Good idea for a variant?

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Marc Meakin
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Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:43 pm

How about a variant where you have 10 letters, and you choose your best 9.(rejecting one letter in a Goatdown stylee)
This could be adapted so you can choose the best 9 for your opponent in a handicap contest.
Which most of us might need to beat the likes of Kirk.

Good idea?
Last edited by Marc Meakin on Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:44 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:How about a variant where you have 10 letters, and you choose your best 9.(rejecting one letter in a Goatdown stylee)
This could be adapted so you can choose the best 9 for your opponent in a handicap contest.
Which most of us might need to beat the likes of Kirk.

Good idea?
Why would you choose the best 9 for your opponent?

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Marc Meakin
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:46 pm

Jon Corby wrote:
Marc Meakin wrote:How about a variant where you have 10 letters, and you choose your best 9.(rejecting one letter in a Goatdown stylee)
This could be adapted so you can choose the best 9 for your opponent in a handicap contest.
Which most of us might need to beat the likes of Kirk.

Good idea?
Why would you choose the best 9 for your opponent?
Best from your perspective.
Maybe Worst would have been better.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:54 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:
Marc Meakin wrote:How about a variant where you have 10 letters, and you choose your best 9.(rejecting one letter in a Goatdown stylee)
This could be adapted so you can choose the best 9 for your opponent in a handicap contest.
Which most of us might need to beat the likes of Kirk.

Good idea?
Why would you choose the best 9 for your opponent?
Best from your perspective.
Maybe Worst would have been better.
Oh yeah, gotcha.

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Ian Dent
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Ian Dent » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:22 pm

How about a variant where you pick every letter yourself.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Matt Morrison » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:37 pm

Ian Dent wrote:How about a variant where you pick every letter yourself.
This sounds like you are taking the piss, but, assuming you're not, I guess you mean one player picks the consonant/vowel ratio for all letters rounds, and picks all 3 numbers game formats?

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Ian Dent » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:50 pm

No Matt, I mean you actually select each letter and number and target.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by James Robinson » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:56 pm

Ian Dent wrote:No Matt, I mean you actually select each letter and number and target.
How would the conundrum work then :?:
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Ian Dent » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:03 pm

That would still be normal.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:05 pm

Ian Dent wrote:No Matt, I mean you actually select each letter and number and target.
My old VB game has this mode. I play along with the show everyday like this, so I get the maxes for every round AS IT HAPPENS. Well I don't, because I don't watch the show until much later in the evening, but you get the idea.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:37 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:How about a variant where you have 10 letters, and you choose your best 9.(rejecting one letter in a Goatdown stylee)
This could be adapted so you can choose the best 9 for your opponent in a handicap contest.
Which most of us might need to beat the likes of Kirk.

Good idea?
I can sort of see this working. I don't like the idea of different selections for the two players (far too much database jiggerypokery) but I can see the idea of rejecting one of the 10. Maybe we should play some games in real life/over MSN before deciding whether it's fun enough to implement.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Niall Seymour » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:21 pm

How about a variant where if both players declare a different word of the same length the more obscure word scores? Or alternatively both score but the more obscure word gets an extra bonus point or something.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:29 pm

Niall Seymour wrote:How about a variant where if both players declare a different word of the same length the more obscure word scores? Or alternatively both score but the more obscure word gets an extra bonus point or something.
Obscure based on what?

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Niall Seymour » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:35 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Niall Seymour wrote:How about a variant where if both players declare a different word of the same length the more obscure word scores? Or alternatively both score but the more obscure word gets an extra bonus point or something.
Obscure based on what?
The obscurity rating in Lexplorer?

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:35 pm

Niall Seymour wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:
Niall Seymour wrote:How about a variant where if both players declare a different word of the same length the more obscure word scores? Or alternatively both score but the more obscure word gets an extra bonus point or something.
Obscure based on what?
The obscurity rating in Lexplorer?
Not a good idea. The Lexplorer obscurity ratings are incredibly approximate and dubious.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Ryan Taylor » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:02 pm

A variant where every letter picked can also be the letter above or below in the alphabet. Too complicated? Or just pathetic?

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Michael Wallace » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:04 pm

Ryan Taylor wrote:A variant where every letter picked can also be the letter above or below in the alphabet. Too complicated? Or just pathetic?
I would imagine that this would make it way too easy to score a 9 in every round, given how many letters that would make available.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:16 pm

How about you choose the vowels and the computer chooses the consonants.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:18 pm

A lot of these ideas don't add anything much. I'd much rather add a variant like Omelette or Unlimited which turns the game on its head and requires completely new tactics or knowledge than YAKBV.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by D Eadie » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:54 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:A lot of these ideas don't add anything much.
Charlie's polite way of saying "these ideas are utter shit".

How about a 'max game' variant, whereby you're give a score to aim for in each round, almost like a golf hole. So if the computer says 8, it's telling you to find the max 8 in that particular round. Would lead to a lot of guessing maybe but if you know the length of the max sometimes it can be easier to find.

Or how about a 'green' variant, whereby you turn off your computer and play using the boardgame, pen and paper.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:58 pm

D Eadie wrote:How about a 'max game' variant, whereby you're give a score to aim for in each round, almost like a golf hole. So if the computer says 8, it's telling you to find the max 8 in that particular round. Would lead to a lot of guessing maybe but if you know the length of the max sometimes it can be easier to find.
I've thought about doing some kind of variant with "life lines", such as being given the first letter. I couldn't think of enough interesting life line ideas, but being told the max score for a round could also be one. I'm open to other suggestions.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Kirk Bevins » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:58 pm

D Eadie wrote: Or how about a 'green' variant, whereby you turn off your computer and play using the boardgame, pen and paper.
Wasting paper? That's not very green.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:01 pm

Kirk Bevins wrote:
D Eadie wrote: Or how about a 'green' variant, whereby you turn off your computer and play using the boardgame, pen and paper.
Wasting paper? That's not very green.
You write on used toilet paper.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:03 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
D Eadie wrote:How about a 'max game' variant, whereby you're give a score to aim for in each round, almost like a golf hole. So if the computer says 8, it's telling you to find the max 8 in that particular round. Would lead to a lot of guessing maybe but if you know the length of the max sometimes it can be easier to find.
I've thought about doing some kind of variant with "life lines", such as being given the first letter. I couldn't think of enough interesting life line ideas, but being told the max score for a round could also be one. I'm open to other suggestions.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Jon Corby » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:03 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Kirk Bevins wrote:
D Eadie wrote: Or how about a 'green' variant, whereby you turn off your computer and play using the boardgame, pen and paper.
Wasting paper? That's not very green.
You write on used toilet paper.
*Charlie's got SEAMAN on his paper joke*

:(

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:08 pm

Marc Meakin wrote: Extra time.
Finally a use for the left-hand side of the clock!

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by D Eadie » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:23 pm

Kirk Bevins wrote:
D Eadie wrote: Or how about a 'green' variant, whereby you turn off your computer and play using the boardgame, pen and paper.
Wasting paper? That's not very green.

Using paper isn't necessarily wasting it, unless of course it's a voting slip at the next general election.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Liam Tiernan » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:39 pm

How about a "Hangman" variant of some kind?

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:11 pm

Calendar Countdown variant.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Shaun Hegarty » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:51 pm

What about some sort of system where you get you 9 letters, but then you get 3 more in a separate box, but you can only choose one of them to use, or you can use one without penalty, but each one after it subtracts one point from your score.
I.E
PORTAVNED IIL
DAVENPORT - 9
PROVIDENTIAL -- 12-2=10

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Kirk Bevins » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:09 pm

Shaun Hegarty wrote:What about some sort of system where you get you 9 letters, but then you get 3 more in a separate box, but you can only choose one of them to use, or you can use one without penalty, but each one after it subtracts one point from your score.
I.E
PORTAVNED IIL
DAVENPORT - 9
PROVIDENTIAL -- 12-2=10
Poor scoring system IMO. To spot that 12 deserves so much more credit than 1 measly point.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Shaun Hegarty » Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:45 pm

Kirk Bevins wrote:
Shaun Hegarty wrote:What about some sort of system where you get you 9 letters, but then you get 3 more in a separate box, but you can only choose one of them to use, or you can use one without penalty, but each one after it subtracts one point from your score.
I.E
PORTAVNED IIL
DAVENPORT - 9
PROVIDENTIAL -- 12-2=10
Poor scoring system IMO. To spot that 12 deserves so much more credit than 1 measly point.
I guess that's fair enough, but you could still have your double points for the 12, so you'd get 20.

What about some blend of unlimited and hyper, i.e you have your 9, and then another 3 end ones that can be used as often as you wish.

I think it would be nice for there to be something which can allow some of the 12+ words, which have more than 9 different letters to be spotted. Maybe an omelette variant where you have to get a word that is closest to a random (within reason) specified length each round containing the letters.

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Another variant idea

Post by Matt Bayfield » Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:56 pm

Here's the beginnings of an idea I've had for a variant designed to help players increase their vocabulary and knowledge of obscure/unusual words. I'm not sure how well it would make for good gameplay, and I can see potential flaws, but I'll leave that for others to discuss here if they wish. If Charlie or anybody else thinks there‘s any mileage in this, then I‘m happy to help develop the details a bit further - or you can just run with it and do what you will.

Anyhow, in this variant - which I am provisionally calling Camera - players pick letters alternately in the letters games (as they would in the French show des Chiffres et des Lettres). However, rather than calling for a consonant or a vowel, the player picks an actual letter (as they would for the 9th letter in Goatdown). There are no restrictions on the number of vowels or consonants allowed in the selection. At the end of the 9 letters, the players make the longest word they can.

Now, the supposedly intriguing bit about picking an actual letter rather than a consonant or vowel, is that you can choose a letter either to help or hinder... and ideally, you want to pick a letter which will help you to build an obscure word(s) you know but that you think your opponent might not know. So a typical round might go:

Player 1 (P1) picks H
P2 picks I
P1 picks M
P2 picks P
P1 picks A
P2 picks S
P1 picks O
At this point, the players really start thinking about which letters they could add to form a word they would know but their opponent might not. So…
P2 picks C to give him at least 7 for CHAMOIS, which he hopes P1 doesn’t know
P1 now sees that a final N will give CHAMPIONS. However, he figures P2 might know that, so instead of picking N for a well-known 9, P1 picks S for a more obscure 8...

…and at the end of the round, P1 declares the (possibly) darrenical max ISOPACHS for 8 whilst P2 can’t better his 7 for CHAMOIS. P1 wins the round.

Scoring is Stepdown style, so P1 gets 10 points, P2 gets none. The main reasons for Stepdown scoring are so that you’re not penalised in absolute score for angling for a 7 rather than a 9; and so that you can’t benefit as much from spoiling a round with 5 Qs if you are ahead - the max word will still score 10. It also means the max score for a 15-rounder is 150 and there won’t be wild variation in scores between games where players are trying to out-obscure each other, and games where players have (pointlessly) agreed beforehand to spell out a 9 in each round!



In my opinion, the good/bad things about this variant:

(1) it is more likely to result in declarations of unusual darrenical 6s, 7s, 8s and 9s, which means we will increase our own vocabularies from our opponents’ words. Probably good.
(2) it rewards learning stems… particularly if you have a number of stems from a base of 3 or 4 letters (Dinos was telling me about several “KAI” stems he knows… he whipped me in a round with a brilliant word I’d never heard of which contained K, A, I). Not sure if that’s good or bad.
(3) you might be able to get good at this variant just by learning lots of stems from the same 4 or 5 letters and declaring those letters every time. This is somewhat similar to people who get very good at Unlimited just by learning a relatively small number of long repetitive words e.g. SENSELESSNESSES. Probably bad.
(4) if one player goes well ahead in a game, they might try to shut things down by picking 5 Qs with their letters, effectively reducing the round to who can make the longest word from a scramble of 4 letters (plus an optional Q). Could be frustrating, but Stepdown scoring minimises advantage from this.
(5) I haven’t worked out what to do with the numbers games. Probably just the same as e.g. Goatdown 15, where numbers play as normal.
(6) Not sure about conundrums either. If we’re looking for a twist, the conundrum could be revealed one letter at a time, each letter appearing after an increment of 1/18 of the total time for the round (so that in a 30s round, the 9 letters are all up by 15 s). You could buzz at any point while the letters are appearing, although after just 5 or 6 letters your chances of picking the right answer are slim, as unlike Omelette, there would likely be more than one solution using the first 5 or 6 letters. However, all this might be making things unnecessarily complicated. Anyone got any better ideas for Conundrums?


Incidentally, this variant is provisionally called “Camera” as it rewards knowledge of words which are “obscurer” (sic)…

All thoughts welcome. I won’t get offended if people think it’s a pony idea.

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Re: Another variant idea

Post by Simon Myers » Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:20 am

Matt Bayfield wrote:Here's the beginnings of an idea I've had...
I don't have the time to think about this in depth right now but an immediate thought to stop Q, Q, Q or always going K, A, I, etc is to have some limit on the numbers of each letter that can be played. For a 15-rounder you'll be playing a total of 50/49 (depending on "champion" or "challenger") letters. Each player could either have their own pool of letters to use (3 or more of each letter per player? more for common letters?) or - more tactical - a shared pool.

I like the idea in principle though; will think about it more later.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by JackHurst » Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:54 am

I really like Matts suggestion.
The idea of a pool of letters to pick from is good for stopping people going QXZVYJK crazy.
Perhaps another way to look at it would be to have the first X letters of the selections picked in the way you would normally pick letters in a standard game and then have the rest of the letters picked in the style matt suggested. Otherwise, I think it could be difficult to get a round going, and some letters on the board before you start hand picking would somewhat stamp out the option to go for premeditated obscure/specifically learned words every time.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:09 pm

As Countdown twisted the numbers round on todays show.
How about a numbers variant that picks random numbers from 1 to 49 called either Lottodown or Lotterydown.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:12 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:As Countdown twisted the numbers round on todays show.
How about a numbers variant that picks random numbers from 1 to 49 called either Lottodown or Lotterydown.
That's alright but I think I prefer the one Alec suggested where the large numbers can be anything from 20-100. Maybe you could even have six from the top! I'm not sure if that would be too ridiculous though. Maybe four from the top should still be the most you can ask for.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Kevin Davis » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:52 pm

Anyone remember the old TV show Catchword? Maybe a variant based on that. Players pick three consonants (and to make life interesting, one vowel) - words can be any length, but the word itself must use the letters IN ORDER.
Oh, cackwires!

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by James Robinson » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:17 pm

Kevin Davis wrote:Anyone remember the old TV show Catchword? Maybe a variant based on that. Players pick three consonants (and to make life interesting, one vowel) - words can be any length, but the word itself must use the letters IN ORDER.
That was a good show, I remember watching it as a kid. Didn't fully understand it being sub-10, but I quite enjoyed. I think Paul Coia was a very good host at it too.

They should bring it back, although judging by the quality of most things that have been back, it should probably stay in the vaults of TV history for now.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:03 pm

You could have a variant in which you choose the vowels.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Kai Laddiman » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:54 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:You could have a variant in which you choose the vowels.
I'd pick A, E, I, O, U.
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:39 pm

Kai Laddiman wrote:
Marc Meakin wrote:You could have a variant in which you choose the vowels.
I'd pick A, E, I, O, U.
Don't be fAcEtIOUs :)
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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Bradley Holland » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:40 pm

How about some multiplayer matches ?

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Bradley Holland » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:30 am

How about 'must win by 10', would lead to some epic conundrums.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Bob De Caux » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:55 pm

I've been mulling over a few variant ideas and think this one could work. Round 1 would be the same as a standard game, but in Round 2, your opponent's word must start with the final letter of the word you declared in Round 1 (and vice versa). You would then continue in this vein. Obviously you would need the two (or one if you used the same) end letters to be in the next selection. An invalid declaration from you would mean your opponent would have no restrictions in the next round. Maybe if it is impossible for you to play in one round, you could also have no restrictions in the next round.

I think it would introduce a new tactical element into the game (do you go for your best word or try to hamper your oppoent) and might enliven some otherwise flat selections.

Not really considered the numbers or conundrum yet. I think scoring could probably stay the same.

8-) or :oops: ?

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Liam Tiernan » Tue May 25, 2010 9:16 pm

How about a variant where only the vowels are unlimited. Only 7 letters are picked; Rd 1 3 consonants 4 vowels, Rd 2 4 consonants 3 vowels,Rd 3 5 consonants 2 vowels, Rd 4 numbers, and repeat for Rds 5-9 and 10-14. MIght be a good way of learning some of those awkward words with lots of vowels or the same vowel 3 or 4 times.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Ian Volante » Wed May 26, 2010 8:02 am

Bradley Holland wrote:How about some multiplayer matches ?
Yes, I've always liked the idea of three-way action. I beat both contestants in a series final in the early 90s under such a system. However, it would be a shit for Charlie to program I suspect.
Bradley Holland wrote:How about 'must win by 10', would lead to some epic conundrums.
Also yes, although how about making it by 11, not 10, therefore guaranteeing that tied matches have to have two conundrums minimum?
meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles

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Nudgedown

Post by Matt Bayfield » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:32 am

Whilst pounding training miles out at the gym, I had an idea for a new variant. It incorporates basic Countdown gameplay with the kind of Mental Agility puzzles you get in “the cube” on the Krypton Factor. Because the gameplay has parallels with the reels on a fruit machine, I'm calling this Nudgedown. There are some bits that need refinement, but this is the basic idea:

Letters games

A player picks his 9 letters as per the Standard variant. He must then form the longest word possible only from letters that are adjacent in the alphabet to the letters in the selection. (It may help you to imagine each letter in the selection as one of the letters A through Z on a big reel, and having to nudge each reel one space up or down.) He is not allowed to use any of the letters exactly as they appear in the selection - they must be nudged one exactly space, or not used at all in the declared word. The reels wrap around so that A can be nudged to Z, and Z to A.

For example, if the selection is N D P O T O V E S, then the player can declare the 9-letter word COUNTDOWN. This is because nudging of each of the letters by one position in the alphabet (up or down) can give O C O N U N W D T, a scramble of COUNTDOWN.

A potential spanner with this variant is that we want to ensure that there are always sufficient letters which can be nudged into vowels; otherwise some rounds will yield very low maxes, or even no word at all. This problem can be fixed in a number of possible ways, two of which are:

(a) changing the letters distribution so that when you pick a consonant, it is much more likely to be Z or B, D or F, H or J, N or P, T or V, i.e. letters adjacent to vowels. You might also juggle the whole distribution of letters appearing in a Nudgedown selection to make their likelihood of appearance equal to the mean of the likelihood of appearances of the adjacent letters in a Standard distribution.

(b) perhaps better than option (a): when you pick a vowel, it gives you Z or B, D or F, H or J, N or P, T or V, i.e. letters adjacent to vowels. When you pick a consonant, you can get any letter, including A E I O U, as all 26 English letters can be nudged one space to give a consonant. This might seem confusing, but it will ensure that you get sufficient vowels available to form words.


Other potential spanners:

It might be heavily CPU intensive to find the longest words available.

In German and Spanish and other languages with accented characters, it must be made clear which order you put the accented letters into the alphabet. Not quite sure how this is done.

The gameplay becomes easier if you write the selection down on paper, with the letters which can be nudged to above and below the letters selected. This somewhat contradicts a philosophy of apterous that you shouldn’t have to write down selections.


Numbers games

A player picks his 6 numbers, large or small, as Standard. The target is generated as Standard. The player must solve the numbers game using numbers which are nudged one away from the numbers in the selection. Again, the reels of numbers wrap around, so, e.g. a 1 in the selection can be used as 10 or 2, a 2 in the selection can be used as 1 or 3, a 3 in the selection as 2 or 4, and so on. For the large numbers, a 25 can be used as a 100 or 50, a 50 as 25 or 75, a 75 as 50 or 100, and a 100 as 75 or 25.

The solution can be typed into the box.

Problem:

To solve the numbers using the mouse would require a modification to the apterous interface. The numbers one nudge up and one nudge down from the actual numbers would need to be displayed and clickable, only one of each being able to be used per number in the selection. Alternatively, “nudge up” and “nudge down” buttons would need to be added.


Conundrum

You could generate a unique Conundrum where each letter had to be nudged one space.

Problem: such a conundrum would be pretty damn impossible to solve, I would imagine.

Maybe we need another idea here.



So there you have it. Anyone think any of the above sounds interesting? I’m not offended if everyone thinks it’s rubbish or impractical.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Matt Morrison » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:37 pm

Interesting, without a doubt. But the thought of playing it bewilders the shit out of me. In my opinion it'd be too much thinking just to work out what letters you can use and thus the balance would tip away from the pure wordery side of it.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:21 pm

Definitely interesting though.

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Re: Nudgedown

Post by Ryan Taylor » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:24 pm

Matt Bayfield wrote:Whilst pounding training miles out at the gym, I had an idea for a new variant. It incorporates basic Countdown gameplay with the kind of Mental Agility puzzles you get in “the cube” on the Krypton Factor. Because the gameplay has parallels with the reels on a fruit machine, I'm calling this Nudgedown. There are some bits that need refinement, but this is the basic idea:

Letters games

A player picks his 9 letters as per the Standard variant. He must then form the longest word possible only from letters that are adjacent in the alphabet to the letters in the selection. (It may help you to imagine each letter in the selection as one of the letters A through Z on a big reel, and having to nudge each reel one space up or down.) He is not allowed to use any of the letters exactly as they appear in the selection - they must be nudged one exactly space, or not used at all in the declared word. The reels wrap around so that A can be nudged to Z, and Z to A.

For example, if the selection is N D P O T O V E S, then the player can declare the 9-letter word COUNTDOWN. This is because nudging of each of the letters by one position in the alphabet (up or down) can give O C O N U N W D T, a scramble of COUNTDOWN.

A potential spanner with this variant is that we want to ensure that there are always sufficient letters which can be nudged into vowels; otherwise some rounds will yield very low maxes, or even no word at all. This problem can be fixed in a number of possible ways, two of which are:

(a) changing the letters distribution so that when you pick a consonant, it is much more likely to be Z or B, D or F, H or J, N or P, T or V, i.e. letters adjacent to vowels. You might also juggle the whole distribution of letters appearing in a Nudgedown selection to make their likelihood of appearance equal to the mean of the likelihood of appearances of the adjacent letters in a Standard distribution.

(b) perhaps better than option (a): when you pick a vowel, it gives you Z or B, D or F, H or J, N or P, T or V, i.e. letters adjacent to vowels. When you pick a consonant, you can get any letter, including A E I O U, as all 26 English letters can be nudged one space to give a consonant. This might seem confusing, but it will ensure that you get sufficient vowels available to form words.


Other potential spanners:

It might be heavily CPU intensive to find the longest words available.

In German and Spanish and other languages with accented characters, it must be made clear which order you put the accented letters into the alphabet. Not quite sure how this is done.

The gameplay becomes easier if you write the selection down on paper, with the letters which can be nudged to above and below the letters selected. This somewhat contradicts a philosophy of apterous that you shouldn’t have to write down selections.


Numbers games

A player picks his 6 numbers, large or small, as Standard. The target is generated as Standard. The player must solve the numbers game using numbers which are nudged one away from the numbers in the selection. Again, the reels of numbers wrap around, so, e.g. a 1 in the selection can be used as 10 or 2, a 2 in the selection can be used as 1 or 3, a 3 in the selection as 2 or 4, and so on. For the large numbers, a 25 can be used as a 100 or 50, a 50 as 25 or 75, a 75 as 50 or 100, and a 100 as 75 or 25.

The solution can be typed into the box.

Problem:

To solve the numbers using the mouse would require a modification to the apterous interface. The numbers one nudge up and one nudge down from the actual numbers would need to be displayed and clickable, only one of each being able to be used per number in the selection. Alternatively, “nudge up” and “nudge down” buttons would need to be added.


Conundrum

You could generate a unique Conundrum where each letter had to be nudged one space.

Problem: such a conundrum would be pretty damn impossible to solve, I would imagine.

Maybe we need another idea here.



So there you have it. Anyone think any of the above sounds interesting? I’m not offended if everyone thinks it’s rubbish or impractical.
YOU COPYING FUCK!
Ryan Taylor wrote:A variant where every letter picked can also be the letter above or below in the alphabet. Too complicated? Or just pathetic?

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Re: Nudgedown

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:43 pm

Ryan Taylor wrote:YOU COPYING FUCK!
Ryan Taylor wrote:A variant where every letter picked can also be the letter above or below in the alphabet. Too complicated? Or just pathetic?
Nah, you've got the word "also". This is completely different. :D

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:01 pm

You've clearly been on that treadmill for some time, Matt, and thanks for the proposal. I think it could be made to work in terms of interface etc, and the computational resources for finding maxes etc wouldn't be too onerous. It would be cool to try a few games via MSN or whatever and see how it goes.

In fact, your variant suggests to me a more general game where each tile shows a set of letters, and your word is made from one letter on each tile. Your variant is the case where the tiles are AC, BD, CE etc. This would certainly make for a stiff challenge, which is always nice.

My main resistance to it, in terms of actually implementing it, is that I'm mostly interested by variants which encourage exploration of any otherwise-neglected part of the lexicon, like Omelette and Unlimited. Otherwise we tend to see the same people dominating the ratings for every single variant again and again by raw word power, and (while there's nothing wrong with rewarding talent) those people are already well provided for by normal, goatdown, touchdown etc. Plus obviously it's just more interesting from a lexonerdery perspective to see new words being deployed.

The difficulty is that there's no obvious set of words that are currently inaccessible.i'd be interested to try the design approach of 1) identify a set of words that are rarely/never seen in existing variants 2) design a variant that is likely to yield those words.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:12 pm

You could have a variant where points are based on how often a word has been declared before (the less often the more points). This could be like normal Countdown in other respects or other tweaks could be made as well.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:17 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:You could have a variant where points are based on how often a word has been declared before (the less often the more points). This could be like normal Countdown in other respects or other tweaks could be made as well.
I like this idea. I think it would benefit from more tweaks, or it even more favours the players who know the obscure anagrams of common words etc.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Matt Bayfield » Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:11 pm

Thanks for the comments, gents - interesting to hear your views. Thanks also to Ryan for repeating his original idea, although any similarity with my suggestion was genuinely unintentional. (Then again, I would have read his post many months ago, so I suppose there's always the possibility I was subliminally influenced by daydreaming about Ryan when I was at the gym.) ;-) Essentially, the challenge of the Nudgedown variant, as I had intended it, is meant to be that it's some sort of headf***k, not being able to declare the letters on the screen.

Charlie: speaking as one of apterous's pencil-miners, I like your philosophy of trying to dig up the less offered words in the lexicons (e.g. I'm rather proud of my recent Omelette pencil for PICKAXING, an extremely low probabiliuty word in any other variant). As far as that goes, one reasonably unexplored part of the dictionary, which doesn't seem to be covered particularly by Unlimited or Omelette, seems to be vowel-heavy and consonant-heavy words. I'm not quite sure how these can best be "forced" to appear, although a variant where you pick 1, 2, 7 or 8 vowels would probably cover a few of the words. Then again, with so few vowel-heavy words in the lexicon, you could quickly become good at such a variant just by learning a limited subset of words (along the lines of the KINNIKINNIK, SENSELESSNESSES issue, only worse). So there might be limited playability.


Another idea which might encourage some blanks in the dictionary to be filled: how about Duckdown? In this variant, you pick (say) 12 letters, including (say) at least 4 vowels and 5 consonants. You must then make the longest word which contains NONE of the letters appearing on screen. Playtesting would determine whether 12 letters, or some other number, gives the best gameplay. Worryingly, this might end up similar to Unlimited, with SENSELESSNESSES appearing a lot. Hmm. But those Unlimited words might not always be the maxes any longer...

Oh, it's called Duckdown, because a duck is none in cricket.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Ryan Taylor » Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:34 pm

Matt Bayfield wrote:I was daydreaming about Ryan when I was at the gym.
It would be rude not to.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Charlie Reams » Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:08 pm

Good thoughts. How about (and riffing off an earlier suggestion) a variant where you pick consonants and can use any vowels you like? That would kick up a few crazies.

Duckdown is an amusing idea, i'd have to kick it about a bit first to see whether it degenerates as you suggest. A heavily biased letters distribution might prevent too much repetition.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Matt Bayfield » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:04 pm

For Duckdown, you might also need some upper limit on vowels, perhaps, say 6 max, to limit the number of times you end up having to make words without any of A, E, I, O or U.

For the variant where you pick consonants only, to add some skill, I think that would play better as a goaty variant, i.e. the player picking, chooses the final letter from any of A to Z. Obviously picking A E I O or U would be equivalent to wasting the 9th letter, a bit like picking a Q in many Goatdown rounds. Otherwise it removes the element of skill in choosing a selection, and apterous may as well pick the consonants for you.

Notes
(1) I suppose you could do the same thing with vowels, although this is perhaps more conducive to repetition, and can be exploited by those who learn the vowels in a few ultra-long words like DEINSTITUTIONALISATION, UNOSTENTATIOUSNESSES etc. This could be somewhat negated by having only 7 vowels picked.

(2) Conundrums in this variant would be minus all the vowels, e.g. DNTCNW could give COUNTDOWN as the solution (assuming no other 9 could be made from those 6 letters). Not sure if there's an equivalent type of game with Numbers, maybe picking 2, 3 or 4 small and then being able to use whichever large numbers you like (as long as no more than 6 numbers are used in total). Clearly this would always be easier than a normal numbers game, and tbh it would probably be less hassle to leave numbers games as per regular play.

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Re: Good idea for a variant?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:11 am

How about a variant where you make your best word (9 max) from say a 12 letter pick, but the twist is that discarded letters are then carried over to the next round, thus making play strategic.
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