Crosswords

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Jumbulaya

Jumbulaya is a word game with a number of interesting twists.  For most of the game, only horizonal words matter, and new words can be formed by forming anagrams, exchanging tiles, or adding new tiles.   The big twist is that forming a vertical word using one letter per row is the main game-ending condition.    Read the complete rules here.

Anagrams are a major mind-twister, and finding the game-ending "jumbulaya" can be very challenging.

Dictionary:  
Crosswords uses a dictionary derived from the open source program Collins Zyzzyva, which has roughly 280,000 words considered acceptable for scrabble.   A smaller, ordered set of roughly 38,000 words, is considered common enough for general use.

Robots:
  the robots are simple "hill climbing" robots, that find the best of immediately available words, but that is very  effective when armed with the complete dictionary.   Weaker bots restrict the vocabulary, but are still  challenging.    "Dumbot" uses approximately the 7,700 most common words, which is extremely effective in the opening stages of the game, but fades when longer words are required.

A Sad Note:  Jumbulaya is commercially extinct, but you can still find copies on ebay from time to time.  That's where I got mine.

jumbulaya

Links
Jumbulaya rankings at Boardspace
Jumbulaya win/loss database
Jumbulaya official rules
Jumbulaya at BoardGameGeek

The back story: 
In my early search for alternative word games, someone recommended this.  I bought it, played it, liked it, and it stayed with me. Then I starting adding word games to Boardspace...



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