The Wordtris Options Screen contains all the options you need
to play Wordtris. Choose options from the Options Screen by
moving the onscreen arrow with the Tab, arrow keys, or mouse.
Shift-Tab moves the arrow backward through the buttons. When
the arrow is positioned over the option you want, press Enter
or click the mouse button to select that option.
The area on the right side of the Options Screen shows you
Select a Game Mode
Press Enter or click the mouse on the Game Mode option. We
suggest that you start with a single player game to get a
feel for Wordtris before you try the other game modes.
Playing and scoring in a single player game is explained in
the "Scoring" section later in this manual. The other game
modes are explained in their own chapters.
Select a Difficulty Mode
Wordtris has four difficulty modes. The modes and their
differences are listed in the following table. Move the
arrow over the difficulty area, press ENTER, and select
novice for you first Wordtris Game.
The extra time for positioning letter blocks in CHILDREN'S
mode allows our younger players a chance to play Wordtris.
CHILDREN'S mode is identical to NOVICE mode except for the
slower letter drop rates.
DIFFICULTY Child/Novice Advanced Expert
Min. letters for 3 for levels A-E 4
a word 3 4 for levels F-J
Min. letters for 5 6 7
a Magic Word
Pause Doesn't Hide Well Hides Well Hides Well
Scoring x1 x2 x3
Select a Level
There are ten levels, and at the higher levels, the blocks
fall into the well at a faster rate and the game may require
more letters before it will accept a word. Since this is
your first game, choose level A if its is not already
Select a Time Limit
Move the arrow over the TIME control and select a time limit
for your first game. UNLIMITED lets you play until your well
fills to the top with letter blocks or until you decide to
end the game. Choosing anything other than UNLIMITED lets
you play for that number of minutes. The time appears on the
game screen directly beneath the well. When the timer
reaches 00:00, the game ends regardless of that game's
This option, when turned on, removes duplicate words from the
well. Of course, you only earn a score the first time you
form the word. If it is turned off, then repeated words are
not removed from the well, which is obviously much more
Select a Control Method
If you select Competitive or Cooperative game, then the
CONTROL 2 option will also be available for the second
player. Choose KEYBOARD, MOUSE, or JOYSTICK depending on
which device you are using the play Wordtris.
Start the Game
Wordtris starts on the level you selected, but the default
level is A. There are 10 levels total, A through J, with
each level becoming harder. The higher the level the faster
the blocks fall. The scene on the right shows you the
minimum number of letters required to create a word on that
level and the last five words you have created in that game.
The bottom of the right-hand screen shows the last repeated
word and how many times the word has been repeated.
The lower portion of the well is filled with water. Letter
blocks fall randomly from the top of the well and float on
the water. If a block lands on top of a floating block, the
lower blocks is pushed beneath the water. When the blocks
reach the bottom of the well, they begin stacking above the
water line unless you manage to form words, at which time toe
blocks forming the word(s) disappear from the well and you
earn a score.
Use arrow keys
Drop letter with down arrow, 0, 2, or spacebar
Control 1 for Competitive and Cooperative
Use arrow keys
Drop letter with down arrow, 0, or 2
Control 2 for Competitive and Cooperative
left use j or s
right use l or f
drop letter M, C, or Spacebar
In Single Player, Tournament, and Head-to-Head games, some
blocks that drop into the well are labelled with a question
mark. These blocks are blank blocks to which you can assign
whichever letter you need by typing it on the keyboard. You
can even turn the blank block into an eraser if you press the
Backspace key. The resulting letter (or eraser), however is
worth zero points. Also, if you do not press a letter fast
enough, the blank block will change to a random letter.
Another special block. This blocks looks like a gum eraser
and wipes out the first letter that it drops on.
This allows you change various options and perform other
activities while the game is in progress. Press ESC to show
the menu bar.
Menu Bar Options
About Wordtris Credit screen
Quit to DOS Ctrl-Q
Player 1 Game control
Player 2 Game control
Advance to next level Ctrl-L
Show next letter Ctrl-N
All sound Ctrl-S
Hide words list Ctrl-W
Change letter set
Erase high scores
You score by creating words with combinations of the letters
that fall into the well. Abbreviated words, hyphenated
words, foreign words, and proper nouns are not accepted.
Each letter block is worth a certain number of points
depending upon the letter it represents. You can form words
horizontally or vertically, and they can overlap each other--
in this respect, Wordtris operates like a crossword puzzle.
Your total score is the sum of all the words found in the
well. Word scores are calculated by adding the values of all
the letters in the word, multiplying that sum by the number
of letters in the word, and then multiplying that number by
the game level.
Letter Points Letter Points Letter Points
A 1 J 8 S 1
B 4 K 4 T 1
C 3 l 1 U 1
D 2 M 4 V 5
E 1 N 1 W 4
F 4 O 1 X 8
G 2 P 3 Y 4
H 4 Q 10 Z 10
I 1 R 1 ? 0
Bonus blocks are special-colored letter blocks that double
the word score--if you can make the bonus black form a word
as it lands. If the bonus block does not form a word
immediately, it changes to a normal letter block.
For instance, if the letter "R" in "HARP" was a bonus letter,
then the base word score of 72 is doubled, increasing the
word score to 144.
ADDITIONAL SCORING VARIABLES
If you are playing with the REPEAT WORDS option turned off,
then the word score doubles again, increasing the value of
"HARP" to a whopping 288.
Next, if you are also playing w/o the SHOW NEXT LETTER
feature then Wordtris adds 25% to the word score, bringing it
Finally, playing at a difficulty mode higher than NOVICE or
CHILDREN'S also affects your Wordtris score. If you are
playing in ADVANCED mode, your word score will be multiplied
If you form the Magic Word (shown centered above the well)
then two things happen:
1. Your score total is increased by the word score for the
Magic Word, plus the word scores for any other words
formed, plus the letter value for every block in the
2. The well is cleared of all blocks.
Thus, continuing our example from above, if "HARP" also
happened to be the Magic Word, then the value for all other
words and letter blocks in the well would be added to the 360
points we have thus far tallied for the word "HARP." That
number would then be added to your total score.
But remember that longer words which contain the Magic Word
do not count. For example, "HARP" may be the Magic Word and
you have the letters HAR S set up in the well, if you drop a
P between R and S, Wordtris will not recognize "HARPS" as the
Magic Word of "Harp."
In Novice mode, the Magic Word length is five letters. The
Magic Word length in Advanced is six letters. Expert is
Advancing to the Next Level
There are ten levels. You go up a level based on the number
of words you have formed:
J NO LIMIT
The word total is cumulative, not obtained per level.
The game ends when:
1) The well fills to the top with blocks
2) Your game time limit, if any, expires
3) You press esc for the menu bar and abort game.
If you reach level J, the game continues at that level until
on of these three conditions is met.
1. Competitive Wordtris--you and another player play at the
same time, competing against each other for the best
2. Cooperative Wordtris--you and another player play at the
same time, working to get a high score.
3. Tournament Wordtris--you and up to three other players
play identical single player games, all competing for the
4. Head-to-Head Wordtris--you and another player on a
different computer play at the same time, competing
against each other for the best score.
You and another player compete for the better score while
fighting for words in the same well. Unlike single player
game, two letter block fall simultaneously into the well.
Player 1 controls the red letter blocks while Player 2
controls the blue letter blocks.
Each player controls the left, right, and downward motion of
their letter block. Each player selects their own control
device as described in "Select a Control Method" in the
"Playing Wordtris" section above.
Separate scores and word counts are maintained for each
player. The player whose block lands first and forms a word
gets the credit for the word. If both players land their
block at the same time and cause one or more words to form,
the word score is split between the players, odd scores are
round up to an even number.
At the end, the player w/ the fewer blocks gets the values of
the other player's remaining blocks added to his score. This
rule prevents a player from ending the game early in order to
maintain his lead and win the game.
If you want to word with a friend to achieve the best score
possible, then the Cooperative game is the one for you. This
is the same as Single Player version, except that two letter
blocks of different color drop. Both player share the same
score and word count.
You can compete with up to three of your friends to see who
can play the best game. Tournament players play the game on
their own; when one player is finished, the next player
steps up to bat. Each game follows the same sequence of
falling blocks so that each player plays exactly the same
game. A separate word count and score is kept for each
player. Each player's word count and score is shown during
All you need for head-to-head is tow registered copies of
Wordtris and either a null-modem serial cable, two Hayes-
compatible modems(each capable of at least 1200 baud
transmission speed), or a Novell-compatible are network.
The rules for Head-to-Head are virtually the same as the
rules for the other Wordtris game variations, with one major
exception: when one player forms a word of four or more
characters, one or more rocks bubble up from the bottom of
the opponent's well. Rocks are the same size as letter
blocks, and any letter blocks on the bottom of the well are
pushed upward by the rock(s). The number of rocks that
appear in your opponent's well is determined by the number of
letter blocks in the words you create.
The following table show the number of letter blocks it take
to generate rocks in your opponent's well depending on the
Rocks Novice A-E F-J Expert
1 4 4 5 5
2 5 5 6 6
3 6 6 7 7
4 7 7 8 8
5 8 8 9 9
6 9 9 10 10
7 10 10 11 11
8 11 11 12 12
9 12+ 12+ 13+ 13+
The table suggests that one can form words of 13 characters or
longer, but that is not the case. Wordtris words are limited
to nine characters, but in some cases you can form more than
one word at the same time, which means that you can score
more than nine letters at once.
You may also score 13 or more letters if your well contains
many blocks and you form the Magic Word. If you form the
Magic Word, then you well is cleared as usual (including
rocks) and your opponent receives the appropriate number of
rocks as shown in the table above.
The maximum number of rocks you can send or receive is one
row (9 rocks).
The Head-to-Head Setup menu lets you determine how the two
computers communicate with one another. You can select the
various options from the Head-to-Head Setup menu using the
mouse or the cursor keys, just as you select options from the
The following sections describe each element of the Head-to-
Head Setup menu.
Select the DIRECT if your computer is connected directly to
the serial port of your opponent's computer via a null-modem
serial cable. If you and your opponent are playing by modem,
then select MODEM.
If you're playing across a Novell network, then choose
NETWORK. If you are playing Wordtris head-to-head over a
Novell network, you do not need to select any of the
following options except MODE.
Chose COM 1 or COM 2 depending on which serial port you are
using for your modem or cable connection. Please note that
Wordtris does not support COM 3 or COM 4.
Select the baud rate you want to use from the choices
available in the Head-to-Head Setup menu. The baud rate is
the speed at which information will be transmitted between
the two computers during the game.
If you are connected to the other computer directly, you can
set the baud rate as high as 9600(a very fast rate and one we
recommend for direct connections). However, if the two
computers are communication via modems, the maximum baud rate
will be determined by the maximum capabilities of the two
modems. Please refer to your modem's user manual for more
information about its capabilities.
This determines whose computer will be the calling computer
and whose will be the answering Computer. Head-to-head
competition must always have one caller and one answerer.
The caller determines the difficulty, game level, time limit,
and whether REPEAT WORDS is turned on or off.
This setting is available only when playing over modems and
you are the caller. It determines whether the caller will
use Touch Tome or pulse dialing when calling the other
computer. Select either TONE or PULSE.
This setting is available only when playing over modems and
you are the caller. The calling player enters the phone
number of the answering player in the PHONE field. Hyphens
and parentheses are not necessary and will be ignored during
Select this option to leave the Head-to-Head Setup menu and
return to the Options Screen. Your settings are
automatically saved until you change them again.
Direct Connect and Modems
Once both players have selected OK from the Head-to-Head
Setup menu, each player must choose the START GAME option
from the Options Screen to begin the game.
In order to ensure that both players begin their game at the
same time, the computer loads in all the data before allowing
the game to start. The message "START HEAD-TO-HEAD!" will
appear on both screens to let both players know when to
If you are the caller, the program will say "Looking for
players-Please hold on." If there are any Wordtris players
waiting on the network, a dialog box will appear saying
"Select Opponent." Either select a player's name or select
"Exit" to cancel. If your Wordtris challenge is accepted,
the Head-to-Head game will begin.
If you are the answerer, you will see "Waiting to connect"
until you have been challenged. Once you see "You have been
challenged to Wordtris!" press 'Y' to accept or 'N' to
Playing Head-to-Head Wordtris
Once the game begins, you and your opponent can type messages
to each other by pressing Ctrl-T. When you are finished
"chatting," press ESC to return to the game.
When the letter blocks reach the top of one player's well,
both games end and the player with the higher score is the
winner. The Head-to-Head score screen appears at the end of
the Head-to-Head game. The score screen shows each player's
score, the highest level reached, and the number of words
formed. You can then either play another head-to-head game
You can customize the Wordtris dictionary to suit your own
taste by selecting ADD WORDS or DELETE WORDS from the
DICTIONARY menu. When adding words it must be a minimum or
three characters long or a maximum of nine characters long.
You'll get an error message if you try adding a word that is
already in either the main dictionary or the user dictionary.
You can only delete words that is in your custom dictionary,
in other words the words you added yourself.
Believe it or not, there are certain methods to the Wordtris
madness. Most importantly, know the difference between your
consonants and your vowels. Try to land them in a logical
sequence. For instance, there aren't too many words that
have a "B" and a "C" right next to each other, but you might
get a word if you leave a space between the two letters.
Likewise be careful about placing certain consonants on the
right side of the screen. You will have considerable
difficulty getting rid of a "J" that you land in the right-
most column since there are almost no words in the English
language that end in "J."
Also try to stay aware of common letter combinations suck as
"ST," "LY," "QU," "CK," "CH," and so on. Grouping suck
letters together can prove very useful in Wordtris. In
addition, planning letter combinations often lets you form
longer words, thus earning a higher score. Sometimes
Wordtris even helps you out by dropping the two letters in
Try to plan ahead. As you land the letters, try to remember
what letters you'll need to form certain words. This is
extremely helpful when you get the "?" block. If you have a
letter in mind, then you can quickly type it and us the
blank block to complete a word instead of having the blank
time out and convert to a random letter.
Don't forget to take advantage of the eraser. It will help
you eliminate any troublesome letters from the well. And, if
you desperately need an eraser, you can always turn a "?"
block into an eraser by pressing the Backspace Key.
Be careful about how you land your letters if you're trying
to build the Magic Word. For instance, suppose the Magic
Word is "PEACE." If you get a "P", an "E", and an "A" and
you land them in that order, then Wordtris will recognize the
word "PEA" and you'll have to start all over again. Likewise,
the word "PEACE" also contains the word "ACE." So the best
strategy fro a word like "PEACE" would be to land the blocks
in the following order, 'P'E' 'C'E, and then wait for an 'A'
to fall into the well.
Last, but not least, as a tip for our younger players, try
the CHILDREN'S mode. The slower speed gives you a fair
change in making words from the falling letters.
Thanks for Choosing USA/FLT!