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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

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Scrabble, without the board
Gagandeep Singh Sapra, Hindustan Times
October 07, 2013
First Published: 23:45 IST(7/10/2013)
Last Updated: 11:06 IST(9/10/2013)
Scramble

From the Greek to the geek, life has come a long way. Technology has changed the way in which we learn, remember and communicate. Now you don’t need to lug around game-boards on a holiday, nor a dictionary. All you need is your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. Load a game, and give your mind some exercise.

This week let us look at some ‘intellectual’ games built around words – available as apps.

Scrabble: [Android and iOS]
It works on both tablets and phones that run Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. There is no option for Microsoft Windows Phone users, but there is something called My Scrabble ( Rs. 150) if you are a Blackberry 10 OS user. You can play the game against a computer, or with a friend via Facebook.

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Language options include English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. There is even a built-in chat feature to talk to your opponent, and an exclusive teacher feature that uses the Collins dictionary to help you become a ‘master’ at the game. You can play as many as 50 games simultaneously.

In a physical group, you can also ‘pass and play’ --- where you pass the smart device to play the game against each other.

Scramble with Friends: [Android and iOS]
This is different from Scrabble in that the game gives you a 4X4 grid of jumbled letters, from which you have to make words. Go in any direction: left or right, up or down to form words, as long as the blocks are contiguous. Race against the clock, challenge friends on Facebook or other Scramble players across the globe.

You can play three 2-minute rounds against friends and see who does best. Here is a fast-paced game that finishes in 6 minutes.

Letris 2: [iOS and Android]
Letris is a mix of Tetris (remember the falling tiles you had to arrange into a line?) and letters. Here letters fall from the top and you have to slot them so that the fallen letters form a word. Every time a word is formed, the row moves down.

Options include a word matrix mode, in which you can take your time and make long words, and acronyms. The plain vanilla version of passing the levels keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The game has a multiplayer mode in which if you reject a letter, it is thrown to your opponent, making the game more engaging and fun. Language options are available as well, and more features via in-app purchases.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/10/Scrabble3.jpg

Starts With: [iOS Only]
This game is made in India, but has been set in the library of Alexandria, which has caught fire. You are the hero who’s going to save the day, and all you have to do is guess words, one by one. The first letter is shown, with a hint of what the word means.

You can get an additional hint by pressing a button. Starts With is not for people with weak English skills. Even at the ‘easy’ level you find yourself reaching for the hint button. There are various levels, from Zameen (earth) to Acharya (master).

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/10/Scrabble2.jpg

The game is very Indian, and the music may get a tad heavy. The graphics seem misplaced, as they show palm-leaf manuscripts in the supposedly Alexandrian setting. The free version is limited with just two levels, but the paid version has about 30,000 words and costs Rs. 55.


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