Ok, you probably remember the earlier version of this game, even I admit that it was a bit impossible, while this one is definitely playable, you only need to fully understand its logic.
When I was a kid I played a board game, it's title was Master Mind, try googling it. In this game one player was setting up a "code' composed of 4 "pins" with different (or partially same) colours. The opponent had to guess in a certain amount of tries what is the code. When the second player was submitting his/her proposition, the "coding" player was "saying" whether the code was correct or not by using small black and white smaller "pins". One black "pin" meant that one "colour pin" was in correct position, while the white one meant that a "colour pin" is in fact in the code, but in a different position. And this is how this game is also working, obviously with some changes.
What I am missing here is the ability to "ask" the game with my own submitted words, not to be forced to choose between the clue words that sometimes aren't very helpful, at least not necessarily fit with the letters I would like to currently "ask" the game about. This is my only half-star drop for this game.
It would be also good to have a version of thinking-only game, without the time pressure, it would be good if you are planning to submit versions with longer words.
I must admit that this game can be a serious pain for people not so familiar with English language, few times even I was submitting words that I did not know what they mean, but the letters fit perfectly and the word was correct.
The game is also partially luck-based, since in the first choosing you can get a word with 4 letters in place as well as a word with only one letter in position or even none, with only 1-2 letters not in position. In this situation if you don't get/pick a good word from clue-words 2-4, you're rather screwed. This could be eliminated by my abovementioned proposition of allowing the player to directly "ask" the game about the words/letters.
There is one difference between this game and the Master Mind, sometimes it seems that after picking all the "clue words" there can be more than one answer possible. An example:
The base word was hoist with 4 letters in position.
I "asked" the game about some letters and all my logic thinking told me that the answer should be moist (there was no "m" in clue words, so it was impossible to determine whether this letter is in the word or to exclude it), while the game considered it as being incorrect and took some points from me.
Only one thing: the way in which the Doge's "hints" appear are completely unclear for me, I don't get it when they appear and what are they trying to tell me.
Whoa, that was long ;-)
Thank you for the good review. I also think Master Mind was a fantastic board game for teaching and building logical skill and am happy you see the connection.
This game requires both logic and vocabulary skills to reach the highest levels. Although many of the puzzles can be solved with either pure logic or brute lexical memory, the ideal is a combination of both. It is nearly impossible to recall words as pure letter combinations, and it is nearly impossible to remember every word you might need short term. The idea is to exercise brain circuits that actively produce words by engaging both logic and memory for optimal efficiency. Most people need to strengthen the logic skill. In your case, it seems you may benefit from more of the memory practice to solve at least some of the puzzles most quickly.
After briefly trying a rule change that would allow for a penalty free first attempt at the answer, I found that players did not respond well to the idea. It seems that it is better to leave the game simpler than to add such additional complication. With build 1080, the game again penalizes every wrong answer. Like many other memory games, you must play the odds best to win. If there is no instance of a single letter in any of the clues, then chances are it is not in the solution because the game screens every crossword clue to contain at least two correct letters with at least one in position. Nevertheless, there are no guarantees and luck does play an important role for the game.
I also experimented with starting the clock later in the game, with the second clue, but again ultimately decided against it because it too easily allowed for cheating using scrabble cheating tools. Furthermore, I again determined that the game is simpler, fairer and therefore better without such a change. The clock now starts with the selection of the first clue. However, because you know that each of three choices is pre-screened to contain a minimum number of letters you will need, you can (and should) take as long as you want (no time pressure) to think about likely target answer words based on the letters you see in the choices before starting the clock with the first clue.
The doge-hints are just a way of tracking / marking expired time (with some pre-credited puzzle points removed with each doge-hint) and are used for posting a few synonyms near the end of the countdown time to possibly jog your memory like a regular paper crossword game. Every time the dog periodically speaks (barks), the game takes back ten of sixty points advanced for the round. The doge-hints do not actually show (print) until after the player selects all the available crosswords. The first doge hints are intentionally broad and cryptic. The doge-hint "such do" for example, just indicates that the answer word is primarily a verb. The solution is obvious (revealed) with the last doge clue.
Players may currently use this game without time pressure by choosing when to end each round. Simply wait to select “show answer” to see the last doge clue until you really want to give up thinking about solving the puzzle by yourself to better practice and build your logic / memory skills with practice games.
I have found that if you let the user submit specific crosswords, every puzzle is normally too difficult to get started without using a significant number of guesses, and people immediately give up trying to keep track, therefore the current presentation has proven to work better.