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Crosswords

Crosswords is a word game in the spirit of Scrabble, on a unique grid and with some options that make it a different (and more interesting) game.  
  • The board is an octagon-diamond grid, where the octagons hold the letters, and randomly selected intermediate diamonds indicate letter or word bonuses.  
    • Bonuses not always in the same places, and can be used more than once.
    • Octagons instead of squares, allow diagonal words to be visualized..
Words can be restricted to the traditional horizontal and vertical directions, or diagonal words can be allowed.  If diagonal words are allowed, making dense crosswords becomes more challenging because there are more directions to match,  and the option to  allow other connected letters is useful.

The "Big crosswords" variant uses a larger board, and allows all the word play options by default.

Dictioary:  
Crosswords uses a dictionary derived from the open source program Collins Zyzzyva, which has roughly 280,000 words considered acceptable for scrabble.   A smaller, ordered set of roughly 38,000 words, is considered common enough for general use.

Robots:
  the robots are simple "hill climbing" robots, that just find the best of immediately available words, but that is extremely effective when armed with a complete dictionary.   Weaker bots restrict the vocabulary, but are still extremely challenging.  
sample game

Links
Crosswords rankings at Boardspace
Crosswords win/loss database
Crosswords official rules
Crosswords at BoardGameGeek

The back story: 
I've been thinking about word games for Boardspace for a while.  Here's the first result.



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