WordStone Game
Tips and Tricks

WordStone Game Level 1
There are a number of excellent word games on the Internet, and WordStone is one of the best.  Several people have asked me how I manage to achieve such high scores, and as I cannot find a "Tips and Tricks" page on the Net, I have decided to produce one myself.

You can play WordStone at http://www.wordgames.com/wordstone.html and there are a number of other sites which host the game.  The application is also available on Facebook.

As with any other game, a certain amount of practice is necessary just to understand how to play WordStone and, perhaps more importantly, to decide whether you actually enjoy playing it.  I shall assume that you have already spent some time on the game, and that you like it and want to improve your scores.

You will have discovered that when you make words by moving the tiles around with the mouse, and press the spacebar to register them, the letters in the words disappear and you score points.  If you make words sufficiently fast, you progress to the next level.  If you don't, you get timed out by the tiles reaching the bottom of the playing area.

As you progress through the levels some of the tiles show up as "fixed".  You cannot move them, so you have to make a word including the fixed tile, blow it up with a mine, or scramble home by making enough words with the movable letters before the fixed tile reaches the bottom of the playing area.  You can register one word at a time, or two words, if one word runs across the screen and one word runs down the screen.  At the end of a round, as you complete the words that qualify you to go up to the next level, you can often make a third word, or even a fourth word.  In the diagram at the top of this page, the words "ref" and "flint" are highlighted, but I am about to press the space bar, (to register these words). and immediately afterwards, I shall quickly move the "v" I am already grasping to complete the words "guv" and "lav" which will also register "on the way out", (without the spacebar being pressed).  This is useful, especially when you reach a high level, as these extra words score towards the next level, giving you a good start.

In the early rounds, the tiles move down the screen slowly, so you can practise making high-scoring words, (those containing Z, Q, X etc.), but as the game gets faster it is usually better to concentrate on making any words that you can, in order to give you more time to complete the round.  It takes a lot of practice to find the right balance between achieving high-scoring words and ensuring that you clear the round.  Low-scoring words are just as good as high-scoring words if your aim is just to reach the next level.  By level 12, the tiles are coming down pretty quickly, but the game is cleverly designed so that you can often also make words pretty quickly.  The real killer is level 16.  You need to make words very fast indeed, without pause, and this takes a lot of practice.

Once you get to level 17, everything changes.  The first time I somehow, apparently by a miracle, managed to score fast enough to get through level 16 by a whisker, I thought the game had crashed!  The tiles came down alright, but then they stopped.  See a typical diagram below.

 Level 17
The good news is that you can take your time.  The tiles will not move down, unless you click on the bar on the left of screen when you are ready for them to move down a row.  The bad news is that there are more fixed (blue-grey) tiles, and some care is needed in dealing with these.  This is where skill, rather than speed becomes important.  WordStone seems to have a fairly comprehensive dictionary, though there are some words it will not accept, and there are other words that WordStone will accept that are not in Chambers dictionary.  Usually you can test whether WordStone accepts a group of letters as a word by seeing if it gets highlighted or not, but it is best to plan several words ahead.  It is usually best to use as few movable letters as possible to deal with a fixed tile.  The reason for this is that some movable tiles may well be needed as downward "scaffolding" later, for other movable tiles to make up a word with any fixed letter(s) that are near the bottom of the screen.  Use mines wisely, and never blow up movable letters at this stage!  Once you get through the fixed tiles, you again have an opportunity to make high-scoring words -see an example below from later in level 17.  You can also use mines to get rid of the low scoring letters, (though not so many that you have a shortage of vowels), and make room for you to move the tiles down in the hope of seeing some high scoring letters.  Also note the bonus words listed to the right of the playing area.  These are particularly useful in the later rounds when you have time to plan your plays.
late in level 17
Once aware of the need for care with the fixed tiles, levels 17 to 19 are relatively easy, but the way through the fixed tiles tends to become harder.  Sometimes the way forward is counterintuitive.  Especially if there is no obvious need to make any words downward (towards the bottom of the screen), the best move is to deliberately move the tiles down a row, so that you can see what comes next.  This may help you to find a route towards movable letters, even if it is unpromising to see another 5 or 6 fixed tiles appear.
By level 20, things are harder, though in the example below there are a couple of mines available.  In my opinion the best move here is to move the tiles down a row!  Using the available mine, or even taking out "war" and "ran" followed by "did" (at the top) would be premature.  So would blowing up the left-hand "L" and then using the "N" and the released "A" to make "iguana" in the third column.  If any of these moves are right, they will still be available after moving the tiles down one row.
level 20
The highest level I have managed to reach is level 25, (image below).  You can see that there is no legal move, nor will there any word-making move available at any stage.  Completely blocked out!  Have fun!  I do not expect my record of 5.3 million to be shattered for quite a while............