How I Scored A Million Points In SpellTower
June 10, 2012 7:28 AM   Subscribe

My father-in-law Jerry is great at word puzzles. Over the holidays, I showed him SpellTower on my iPad. By the time I took my iPad back at the end of the trip, he had already broken the SpellTower “Puzzle Mode” record on the Game Center leader board by almost 100,000 points. So I asked Jerry if he would share his strategy
posted by growabrain (17 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Some of the strategies there also work for Scrabble on iPad. I've been playing the CPU (set to hard, TWL) for about a month now, though, and the best I can manage is to win only about 15% of the time.
posted by anothermug at 7:45 AM on June 10, 2012

It seems the strategies would also work for this. (Don't ask, infrastructural limitations etc etc)
posted by infini at 8:18 AM on June 10, 2012

I love games like this, going to try it out (although Jerry has nothing to fear in the short term).
posted by arcticseal at 8:26 AM on June 10, 2012

He eventually reached precisely 2 million in Puzzle Mode and ended the game, was wondering recently if he'd post a score before getting wiped out by a glitch or system update.

I got hooked on it for a while, I'm still 23rd for Extreme Puzzle Mode but decided it was starting to rewire my brain a bit too much (the old Tetris Syndrome).
posted by malevolent at 8:31 AM on June 10, 2012

Does everyone here also start dreaming of dropping blocks and finding solutions when half asleep?
posted by infini at 8:32 AM on June 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yep, that's when I back away for a few days. Although there is always the possibility that if I push through I could be the next Kwisatz Haderach.
posted by arcticseal at 8:37 AM on June 10, 2012 [21 favorites]

You won't know for sure until the Gom Jabbar jabs out from your iPhone case on level 34.
posted by Aquaman at 9:11 AM on June 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

Suck my spice, dude.
posted by infini at 9:40 AM on June 10, 2012

"They tried and misspelled, all of them?"

"Oh, no. They tried and were wrongly autocorrected!"
posted by kmz at 9:53 AM on June 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

I play a fair amount of Boggle-style games, and his Boggle tip is sound. 'S'es are important too since most Boggle apps treat singular and plural words separately. He's suggestion about leaving 'S's if using them will wreck the board shape is a very good observation, since a lot of words use S's. It also helps to keep track of vowels; since nearly all words have a vowel, you can save time by not "traveling" those sections of the board so often with consecutive consonants so often.

"Travelling" is a search strategy, the process of checking letters in a section of the board for words. Like, you see "R-E." You then look around the E to find a word that finishes, like RED, REP, or continues the sequence, like RES could become REST.

A bad habit I have in Boggle-style games that I think limits my progress at them is that I tend to travel from the start of words going forward. In the example with RE, you could also continue it from the front: ARE. And of course RE is ER reversed, and I could search backwards from there, but I have trouble spelling words backwards. That's the kind of thing only practice can help with.
posted by JHarris at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2012

I am literally the king of Scramble and just heard about this game so I'm looking forward to testing my own strategies.
posted by phaedon at 1:47 PM on June 10, 2012

You guys should totally see Phaedon's crown. It's made of Boggle dice and UpWords tiles, and he has a scepter with a Scattergories die at the top.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:39 PM on June 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Instead, try to cultivate a shape in which the board is even, or better yet, shaped like an upside down U where the middle columns are higher than the sides. The reason for this is simple: the side rows are the hardest to clear because there are fewer possible words to make when you can connect to letters on just one side.

This makes total sense. I didn't think about this, and I let those side mountains pile up. Possibly because SpellTower looks like Tetris, and subconsciously, my mind still has that "keep the center clear!" habit.
posted by ignignokt at 3:07 PM on June 10, 2012

I'm the king of Boggle, there is none higher.
posted by nushustu at 8:22 PM on June 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am addicted to Metafilter. I am addicted to Spelltower. How high am I right now?!
posted by thinkpiece at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hm. I'm tempted to try this, but I don't think I need another addictive word game. I have been playing Wordament on my Windows Phone, and I totally dream about the board.
posted by jacalata at 2:25 PM on June 11, 2012

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