By Will Watts

Originally published in EUG #03

Wordscore is a computer version of the popular Channel 4 word game "Countdown".

For those who haven't seen the TV program, the rules are as follows: Two contestants take turns at choosing nine letters from two random packs of cards, one containing vowels, the other consonants. When the last of the nine letters has been chosen the clock is started and the contestants have 30 seconds to make the longest word possible from the letters available. The winner of the round is the one with the longest word, the number of letters it contains being added to their total score.

That's the basic game, but there's no reason why you should not change the rules! For example, the winner could be the person who can make the greatest number of words from the letters available within the time limit.

A room full of adults could all play as individuals or as teams. This is a good way of discovering who amongst your family and friends is a real word-wizard and who is an outrageous cheat! Be warned, keep a dictionary to hand at all times! ("SPLIDGE" indeed, Grandma!)

Even small children enjoy the challenge of finding words they know in a jumble of letters - although the very young may need a bit of help from an adult! There's no need to write the alphabet out umpteen times on squares of card or to shuffle them and no need to set a timer each time, the program does it all for you!