Monday, January 7, 2008

In the zone...

Bogglific is getting more and more fun and addictive. The hardest part right now is making sure I don't get stuck in < 1450 games -- which hopefully will not be a problem once I break that ratings barrier (I speculate more on the creator's matchmaking UI decisions later).

I just finished a game where I cracked out 39 points in a timed match against several other opponents (the history feature is down right now so I can't recall the total number and their relative rankings). I figured it was time to reflect again on the flow of the matchmaking process and why it seems to work so well.

I generally start by pressing the "Join Regular Game" button. I don't want to play weird variants and I don't want to play with < 1400 players if I can avoid it (losses against them are costly and wins don't get as many points as beating higher rated players). Unfortunately (as I allude to above) I occasionally get dumped into a game with the "no players over 1450 allowed" rule. I quickly hit the "Leave" button so I can avoid these games. It's a shame that I can't set a preference to never be dropped in these games, but I can see why the designer wants to err on the side of games filling up quickly -- even if they aren't ideal in terms of matchmaking. Better to get me hooked on slightly too easy a matchup then have to wait around in a lobby only to be spanked by someone ranked much higher.

Once the room fills and someone clicks start (a great feature -- anyone can trigger game start which usually ends up optimizing for 3-6 player sessions) we get my second favorite screen (of course, the victory screen, seen above, is my fave). This one lists all the players with pictures (if they share their identifying info) and locations (damn them Brits with their SOWPODS dictionary). As well, there is a relative ratings descriptor: The player is rated "higher", "lower", or "about the same" as me. It's great to be able to size up the competition and provides an extra bit of excitement when I see that everyone has a higher rating than me.

Then the game starts and it's a fury of typing until the 3 minutes are up and the results are tabulated. I also love the quick "invite current players to a new game" feature.

FWIW: My winning list of words based on the board above. Note that I capitalize on the NP issue that I raised in a separate post (I don't get penalized for guessing a long word that is a word but not possible to play on the board) by playing both "theater(s)" and "theatre(s)". Cheez-i-licious.

  • ART (Dup)
  • ATE (Dup)
  • ERA
  • ETA (Dup)
  • HEAT
  • HEATS (NP)
  • HEM
  • HEW (Dup)
  • MAR
  • MARE (Dup)
  • MARES (Dup)
  • MARS
  • MATE (Dup)
  • MATES (Dup)
  • MOAT (Dup)
  • MOTE (Dup)
  • MOTES (Dup)
  • OAR (Dup)
  • OARS (Dup)
  • OAT (Dup)
  • RAT (Dup)
  • SEAT (Dup)
  • SEER (Dup)
  • SERE
  • TAE (Dup)
  • TAR (Dup)
  • TARE (Dup)
  • TARES (Dup)
  • TARS (Dup)
  • TEA (Dup)
  • TEAR (Dup)
  • TEARS (Dup)
  • THE (Dup)
  • THEM (Dup)
  • TOME (Dup)
  • WEAR (Dup)
  • WEARS (Dup)
  • WEE (Dup)
  • WEES (Dup)
  • WERE (Dup)
  • WOE (Dup)
  • WOES (Dup)

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