I love word games, always have. I didn't really think most people would share my interest in word games though - until Wordle took the world by storm in early 2022 however. Suddenly, literally everyone was playing a word game each day. When your your mum, your work colleagues and even your child's schoolfriends are all playing, there must be something to it. Suddenly it felt like doing a Word Games quiz book might be a worthwhile undertaking after all.
I knew straight away that this was going to be a rather different sort of book to the quiz books so far. Rather than a series of questions in each round, what I was looking at was more akin to puzzles, but I wanted it to work as an e-book too, so no wordsearches or crosswords that rely on filling in answers on the page.
As a starting point, I wanted to come up with some Wordle style puzzles, as they were clearly popular. Wordle was a changing puzzle though, responding to the words the player chooses. I needed something more static to go in a quiz book, so hit on the idea of constructing game grids part way through, when there was only one possible solution. To do this, I downloaded a dictionary word list, extracted all the five letter words, and did some Excel programming to be able to narrow down the options. It was a little cumbersome, but did the job. Since I started this back in February, there's been several books of Wordle puzzles, but at the time I hadn't seen any such static puzzles, but they seemed to work well.
What next? I've always been fascinated by Word Ladders, which were invented by Lewis Carroll (who called them Doublets) so wanted to include them in the book. The idea behind them is to start with a word, and by changing a letter at a time, end up with a specific end word of equal length (and usually thematically linked to the start word). Each word in the ladder must be a legitimate word. Take CAT & DOG. You can make a word ladder really easily by doing CAT - COT - DOT - DOG. The ones in the book are a bit longer and harder though.
Another type of word game I've always liked are Word Squares. This is where you have several words in a square, with the same word appearing both horizontally and vertically. An example will make it easier:
I wanted to make five letter word squares, and give five clues to enable players to work out the answers. I'd forgotten how tricky creating word squares are though - there was quite a bit of trial and error! Hopefully the results are fun and a little bit challenging!
This was only the start - I also included anagrams, cryptograms, link words, hidden word rounds and quite a lot more. While most types of question have a few different rounds, there's still a lot of variety.
Even more than usual, it was really important to undertake not just proof reading but user testing as we couldn't be sure quite how difficult some of the rounds would turn out to be. We got a few proof copies of the book, and distributed them to our testers. While there was some common threads in the feedback, everyone had different ideas on how to improve the book (along with picking up some errors - always useful) which was great. Hopefully the end product is enjoyable to our readers as it was for us creating it.
You can buy the book on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com, and or you can download our free sample of the book - this is a printable/downloadable PDF with nine different rounds to enjoy, well worth the price tag - FREE! Get the sample here.