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Tsanderdog  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 3)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 2:00 PM


I have been playing the WordRounds and WordMatches for more than a year now, and am consistently impressed by the ultra-fast times in which folks are able to complete these things. Why, just the other day I saw some lightning-fingered individual post a score of 11 seconds and change. I have performed experiments, wherein I just pick random answers to see how fast I can possbily complete these things, and even when I do that, the fastest I have managed is about 15 seconds. (Of course, I Sploof on a laptop with one of these screwy touchpad deals, so maybe that has something to do with it)

Is there some secret to achieving such heroic times? Have I been employing some inferior method? Perhaps this is like asking a magician to reveal his tricks, but someone's gotta be able to give me some kind of pointer.

Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 3:09 PM

I'm not the best one to answer this question, as I am not one of the superfast, although I can usually finish in the top ten. The mechanics of your computer and the speed of your connection are definitely important, but I'm not tech-savvy enough to advise you on that. I do know that I would never be able to get a good time with a touchpad. Visual techniques are also important. On WRs I try to see the whole clue as a chunk without moving my eyes to the right. On WMs I have to move my eyes from the left where the words are to the right where the clues are; therefore, my times on WMs are always slower than on WRs, although my accuracy is higher. In both cases, you are looking for key words in the clue that you can quickly link to an answer rather than reading the clue and comprehending it in its entirety. Also, I expect that players who are really going for the top times "burn" a lot of rounds by ditching them without completing them because they can tell it's not going to be a fast round. I don't burn a lot of rounds because I'm gold not platinum and therefore only get ten tries. Hope this helps a little!

Geophile  (Level: 167.4 - Posts: 1545)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 5:16 PM

Siouxsie is right on. Because I am platinum, I ditch a lot of rounds and have no guilt at all about it. If you stop and think about a meaning of a word for even half a second you've pretty much lost that round. However, I'm still a plodder who occasionally gets a nut now and then...I'm long past the "I gotta' be numero uno" stage in my life. Sometimes you get lucky and get a fluke - it's nice when that happens but don't expect them! Scanning the question instead of actually reading it is another technique that helps but it takes lots of practice. The downside to that is you are hardly able to read anything else! I have to "set" my eyes on each sentence I read in a book because I'm used to scanning on WP's.

Since I began to play Sploofus two years ago, I have envisioned a 3-tiered system of playing WR's and WM's; novice, intermediate, and advanced for those speed demons. What does the membership think about this idea? I know many of you have expressed frustration at never being able to grab the top perch if ever so briefly...this might even out the playing field.

Whaddya think?

Geophile  (Level: 167.4 - Posts: 1545)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 5:19 PM

p.s. Your profile is a crack up!

Mindmonkey  (Level: 279.1 - Posts: 295)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 6:04 PM

Your machine is a huge part of this. I have three computers, a laptop, a home computer and a work computer. They play VERY differently and give very different times. That's just the luck of the draw. I've never quite figured out what makes one work better than the other.

The other thing that I noticed since, this month I decided to play the two games regularly, is that the database is (relatively) small and new terms aren't being added. Therefore, even with a few hundred rounds (easily done in a month), I am seeing the same words and definitions over and over again. I can see that somebody who does this regularly for months and even years could get pretty good at anticipating the correct word and even anticipating the correct position where the answer lies.

Tsanderdog  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 3)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 6:19 PM

I concur with Geophile that these games would be more enjoyable if they were divided into some sort of tiered system; few of us can run with the big dogs who dominate the word games, and I think that this discourages a lot of people from playing.

Even something as simple as awarding more points to people who finish in the top 20 or 25 would provide more incentive to play. I don't think more than 50-60 people play each round, and the difference between last place and 11th place is only a handful of points, so if you can't crack the top ten, there's no point in expending a great amount of effort...unless you want to prove your knowledge of chrysthaline ions and arcane verbiage and the like.

Also, thank you very much to Siouxsie and Mindmonkey for your advice, and a preemptive thanks to all who shall contribute hereafter.

Heidi  (Level: 36.2 - Posts: 694)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 6:59 PM

I think you have a good idea, Geophile. I play regularly with no real thought of ever winning-just enjoy words and definitions. Would indeed enjoy getting more points added.

Koota  (Level: 187.9 - Posts: 2114)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 8:04 PM

If you're working with a laptop and a pad, you're at a huge disadvantage. Using a mouse with a wheel will speed you up significantly.

Some of the superfast WR specialists swear by the Page Down key as well. Give it a whirl. Hit the "Enter" key instead of the "submit" button to shave off at least a second.

I agree that a 3-tier system would encourage more people to play.


Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 8:18 PM

Rather than a 3-tiered system, I think you should get bonus points for every 100% round you get. Then you can play for fun & bonus points (and the occasional bling) rather than worrying about speed.

Chyenn  (Level: 209.4 - Posts: 1332)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 8:22 PM

what's the strategy if you can only use your right hand and a mouse??

seriously tho', my speed has increased recently because i'm playing more. the words do repeat. and i often see words in word matches that were in word rounds.

i like the idea of different skill levels.

but in the meantime, i figure if i play the WR's and WM's every hour that i can, as long as i'm in the top fifty, that gives me 1000+ points per hour. every little bit helps.. plus i can challenge myself for a personal best time.

it's all good!!

Lucimoore  (Level: 192.2 - Posts: 1732)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 8:50 PM

What Lodi said!!

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 9:08 PM

And furthermore, I think the bonus points for every 100% would encourage people to upgrade their membership. Non-paying members can play 2x per hour. Gold members have the opportunity for ten 100% rounds. Platinum members can play as many rounds as they can fit in during the hour and really rack up the bonus points for every 100%. That would give the platinum members a significant opportunity for advantage over the other members. Why? Because they pay for it.

Missashlee  (Level: 125.6 - Posts: 543)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 9:35 PM

Eesus, I can't believe Justin would go for it.

Remember when the stupid bling began, and Justin assured all of Sploofus that he had an algorithm that would prevent Platinum members from fishing for nuggets and diamonds by using their unlimited tries? So, just because you pay more for Platinum does not mean you deserve more.

Ah, remember when:

So, leave the worms in the can.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 10:21 PM

Well its silly to try to entice people to pay more money for something without making it enticing.

I don't think you're giving Justin enough credit for being a shrewd businessman, as well as a programmer and designer.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Tue, 27th Nov '07 10:31 PM

Missashlee  (Level: 125.6 - Posts: 543)
Wed, 28th Nov '07 7:39 AM

LOL! I give Justin plenty of credit for innovation and entrepreneurship! That's why I went and stayed Platinum.

But the concept of letting Platinums with unlimited tries rack up bonus points for every 100% round doesn't seem to fit in the Sploofus personality of fun and friendly, IMHO.

The description of what to expect with 2.0 promises new and fun things for everybody!

Heidi  (Level: 36.2 - Posts: 694)
Wed, 28th Nov '07 8:13 AM

IT's fun, yes. But not only knowledge but super speed is rewarded (know that is a factor in the game) . Promises have been made and am sure will be kept, but really would like to see some advantage like tiers or bonus pts for being Platinum since the outset of Platinum. I do it to support the site but some "cudos" a new word i learned from you guys would be nice-Linda

Garrybl  (Level: 291.8 - Posts: 6772)
Wed, 28th Nov '07 1:20 PM

well kudos for using a new word.
Should earn you 'escudos' if they have not been replaced by Euros.
As for me; I cudos bin a contender..

Sundance1969  (Level: 140.5 - Posts: 74)
Thu, 29th Nov '07 3:15 PM

I played a lot of Word Rounds and Word Matches, and I have gotten top 3 only in the early hours of the morning, when the speedy people are (presumably) asleep.

And I have never NEVER received a nugget or diamond. Not once.

Don't get how I can, I have tried and tried.

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2011)
Thu, 29th Nov '07 7:21 PM

The first thing we need to do, prior to initiating a tiered system is BAN THE CHEATERS. We all know who they are....


Alaskan420  (Level: 69.0 - Posts: 191)
Thu, 29th Nov '07 11:06 PM

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Fri, 30th Nov '07 2:30 AM

Since the original question of the post is how to achieve those times, I'll try and tell you some of my strategy. My second month playing I took ten percent the whole month out of frustration since it was the same amount of points. Practice does help, the words do repeat, but I've never been able to achieve any decent times on a laptop. I always have to use a desktop to do it. Finger on the enter button and a mouse with a wheel to scroll with. As far as the words go, like smoke20 said in the newbies corner, achieving those times does seem to be about recognizing patterns. Don't read the question, scan the question for key words, then scan the word list for answers. Prefixes and suffixes help. If you scan the question and it's a question about a rock look for the word ending in -ite. A believer in something -ist, a theory -ism, a piece of equipment -meter. Some prefixes see the keyword blood look for hema- (or it's alternate spellings) or sangui-. The animals, archaic words, and mining questions are harder for me, and sometimes I have to eliminate, guess, or just practice to get those. I say scan the definition and word list, don't read, but it took me alot of practice to even be able to do that. I wouldn't play on a laptop though.

Linenlady  (Level: 159.1 - Posts: 306)
Fri, 30th Nov '07 3:25 AM

Ages ago, when the dinosaurs roamed the island, Eksimba, who is now Unknowncomic, posted a very comprehensive primer on those attributes that helped to achieve fast times. It's amazing to me how many things are different in the time since he wrote this; there was no Platinum then, for instance. I don't think you can achieve competitive times on a laptop though. Here they are:
Be ready when you start a round... No distractions... Place one finger on the keyboard's "enter" key while the other hand is poised ready on the optical wheel-mouse

- Scan the question quickly to look for key words, clues as to whether you're looking for a verb, noun, adjective, synonym/antonym, whatever... I rarely actually "read" the entire question.

- Scan the answers to find the correct word based on the clues in the question - sometimes it's another form of a keyword in the clue, but sometimes it's completely different

- Click as quickly as possible on the correct answer while immediately scrolling down just a touch (using the mouse wheel, of course). The quick scrolling brings the next question just up to eye level.

- Perform the same scan/click/scroll process for the next question, all the way down to the final question

- As soon as the final answer is chosen, use your non-mouse hand to press the enter key on the keyboard

- Repeat this process many, many times and the mechanics become almost automatic

Oh yeah, it also helps to have a relatively large vocabulary, know about conjugations, cognates, etymology, word roots (especially those from Greek and Latin), common prefixes and suffixes, etc.

To get a really phenomenal time (currently that means something under 20 seconds) you have to be able to do all of the above and also be blessed with a quick page load time, short and easy clues, short answers, and just a little bit of luck.

Stone  (Level: 35.0 - Posts: 259)
Fri, 30th Nov '07 3:29 AM

I also play on a laptop but I use a little mouse. The fastest time I have had is 22s and I may have been in the top 15. I blame my slower times on pain. I do have 2 nuggets and a blue thingy but I will often play my 10 allowed rounds looking for them. I also try late at night and have gotten a few second and third place finishes. It is disheartening to never win 1st place. A raspberry to all you fast fingered islanders!

Larefamiliaris  (Level: 135.2 - Posts: 877)
Fri, 30th Nov '07 5:09 AM

My strategy is slightly less complex.
I just wait for certain players to reach the top of the table and then beat them.
Sometimes I can hear them shrieking down through the ether.

Larefamiliaris  (Level: 135.2 - Posts: 877)
Fri, 30th Nov '07 5:11 AM

Oops! Forgot to add - Mmmwahahahahahahaha!

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Fri, 30th Nov '07 9:22 AM

Pure evil, he is.

Tsanderdog  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 3)
Tue, 4th Dec '07 7:16 AM

I just want to thank everyone who offered their advice on how to improve my speed at these word games. While I am still hampered by my laptop's touchpad, I have shaved about 10-15 seconds off of my average times, and have cracked the top ten (read: I was #10) a handful of times since I changed my technique. Thanks again!

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Tue, 4th Dec '07 7:34 AM

I do the same - finger on mouse/scroll - other finger on enter - being gold I have 10 opportunities.

Internet speed is also a factor - I live in the country and connect at only 26,4 - sometimes I can't get beyond 24 - I have an office in town for my business (yes, I play on company time but since it's my company - I only cheat myself lol) - but it's cable - and there is usually a 8-10 second difference - there is no doubt in my mind that being on 24,6 dial up causes major hang time - when I achieve 20-25 on my dial up I consider myself to have made it to number one even when slicko, rach, stoutyounglad and the like knock me off my pedestal.

Alaskan420  (Level: 69.0 - Posts: 191)
Tue, 4th Dec '07 11:54 AM

Forefinger of right hand on clicker,middle finger on scroll wheel.Left forefinger on enter button,otherwise I have enjoyed the ability to speedread since I was a little boy.This site helps me to hone that skill and increase my vocabulary.

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