Game Settings & Options
- 'Avoid rare words'
All languages contain many rare and odd-looking words. Select this option if you want the computer to stick to the more common words, both when taking its own turn and when suggesting hints.
- 'Flexible vocabulary'
Not everyone agrees which words should be allowed, so this option lets you override the default vocabulary. If you try to play an unknown word, the computer will ask if you want to allow it anyway. You can also disallow words played by the computer (but not those played by another human). Banned and added words are cleared at the end of each game.
Obviously, if you can't resist deliberately cheating, don't enable this option.
- 'Instant spelling check'
If you select this option, the pop-up score bubble that appears as you place tiles on the board will turn red if there are any misspellings.
- 'Tile stacking'
This game mode lets you drop new tiles over old ones (e.g. change SCRAMBLE to SCRABBLE). The new letter must be different from the old one.
Allow yourself as many hints per game as you like. When you tap the 'hint' button, the computer will suggest a word you could play. How it displays depends on the type of hint you've selected on the Options menu:
- 'Position Only' - you are shown where to place tiles, but not which letters to use.
- 'Full Word' - you are shown the full word and your tiles are placed on the board.
- 'Position + Word' - you are shown where to place tiles (but not the actual letters), and then if you still need more help, given the option of viewing the full word (choosing both costs two hints).
Note: the computer won't always recommend the highest scoring word. Sometimes, it will suggest another word that is strategically better instead.
- 'Tile allocation'
This setting determines which tiles are drawn from the bank when a player's rack is re-filled:
- 'Random' (best for hardcore players) - tiles will be allocated entirely at random. This can be challenging as you will sometimes get lots of vowels or lots of consonants.
- 'Balanced' (recommended for average players) - the computer will try to issue a good mix of both vowels and consonants. However, it doesn't take your existing tiles into account, so you must still choose your words carefully to avoid accumulating too many letters of the same type.
- 'Helpful' (best for newbies) - the computer will help your luck by choosing a mix of letters that complement the tiles you already have. Your rack will have fewer duplicates, and a more consistent mix of vowels and consonants. When swapping, you will also be less likely to re-draw tiles with the same letters.
Whichever setting you choose, it will apply to both the human and the computer player.
For a little extra pressure, turn on the timer and set its length. When the timer expires, you are penalized 10 points and the timer restarts. To pause the timer, exit the board screen (e.g. by tapping the player scores).
- 'Penalize errors'
If you attempt to play a word that turns out to be invalid, and you've selected this option, the word's value will be subtracted from your score. You then re-take your turn.
Note: there's no point in selecting both this and the 'instant spelling check' option.
- 'Rack sorting'
This option determines the order in which tiles are arranged on your rack at the start of each turn. Many players find it helpful see identical letters grouped together alphabetically. It can also be helpful to see your tiles separated into vowels and consonants.
- 'Show opponent's tiles'
Turn this option off to hide the tiles on your opponent's rack. If two humans are competing, each player will be asked to confirm they are ready before their rack is revealed.
- 'Board style' versus 'Board layout'
A board's 'style' refers to its visual design (its 'look'). A board's 'layout' determines the size of the board and the arrangement of its bonus squares.
Each board style is matched to a unique combination of background and dashboard colours. If the default colours are not to your taste, you can choose your own by selecting 'OPTIONS' / 'Board style' / 'Edit'.
This option determines whether or not the board will expand for a close-up view when tiles are placed. If this option is disabled, you can still manually zoom the board in and out by double-tapping it (or on a touch screen, pinching it).
- 'Non-personalised ads'
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why isn't my word recognised?
A common mistake is trying to play names, such as for months, days of the week, countries, cities and brands. Almost any combination of letters could be the name for something or someone, so names are not allowed. If a word can only be spelled using a capital letter, you can't play it (German nouns excepted).
That said, if you want to be able to override the game's default word list and play whatever words you believe are valid, just select the 'flexible vocabulary' option.
- Why does the computer make up words?
It doesn't. All languages contain many rare and unlikely-looking words. If you don't recognise a word, try swiping along its length to see a definition. Also, if you want the computer to stick to the more common words, select the 'avoid rare words' option.
- Why does the computer get better tiles?
It doesn't. Tiles are allocated in exactly the same way for both human and computer players. The aim was to produce a fun game, not an unbeatable opponent, so giving the computer any unfair advantage would have been entirely counter-productive.
The computer can find every possible word on the board in a split second, and can easily use up awkward letters. That alone makes it stronger than any human player, so it has no need for any unfair trickery. In fact, only the top-level opponent uses the computer's full strength.
Part of the game's challenge is to 'manage your rack' by choosing words that use up the difficult and duplicate letters, and which leave you with a healthy mix of vowels and consonants. The computer is quite skilled at this, but you can improve your own strategy by following our Top Tips. Alternatively, just select the 'helpful' tile allocation option and your luck will magically improve.
- How can I shuffle my tiles?
Double-tap your rack.
- How do I resign?
Press the Android 'back' button or the Windows 'Esc' key. You'll be returned to the main menu where you can either start a new game, or resume the one you just left.
- How can I skip my turn?
Press the 'swap' button, then 'pass' without selecting any tiles.
- How can I make the game harder?
First, select a tougher opponent: from the main menu choose 'NEW GAME', then tap the 'Player 2' button until it shows the opponent you want.
If the game is still too easy, turn off the 'avoid rare words' option. This makes a big difference to the strength of the top computer players.
- How can I see word defintions?
Just swipe along any word on the board to view its dictionary definition. See here for more details.
- How many tiles are there?
It depends on the language and board size. The total number of remaining tiles is shown at the bottom of the screen. Tap this to see the totals for individual letters.
- How can I view in-game statistics?
Press the scores area in the bottom-left of the game screen.
The FREE version only shows statistics for the current game. The PRO version also allows players to track their average performance across all the games they've played (first, create a named player, then select that player when starting a game).
- How can I change the language?
- How can I reduce battery-drain?
If you're using a mobile device, the screen is usually the biggest drain on the battery. With certain screen types (e.g. AMOLED), you may be able to significantly reduce power-usage by selecting one of the darker board styles, such as 'X-Ray'.
|Start Square / Double Word Bonus|
|Double Letter Bonus|
|Triple Letter Bonus|
|Double Word Bonus|
|Triple Word Bonus|
- At the start, all tiles are held in the 'Tile Bank'. Each tile is marked with a letter and its value, except for two blank tiles, which can represent any letter. Each player is randomly allocated 7 tiles from the Bank. One player is chosen at random to start the game.
- Players take turns to place their tiles on empty board squares to form new words. The tiles must be in a straight line without any empty squares between them. At least one of the new tiles must be on a start square or next to an existing tile.
- If 'Tile Stacking' is allowed, new tiles can also be placed on top of existing ones so long as they represent different letters.
- Words must be at least two letters long and can be formed either horizontally (left to right) or vertically (top to bottom), but not diagonally or backwards.
- Most words found in a standard dictionary are allowed (including inflections), except those requiring a capital letter, hyphen, apostrophe or full stop. See the Vocabulary section for details.
- If you attempt to play a word that turns out to be invalid, and you've enabled 'penalties', the word's value will be subtracted from your score. You then re-take your turn.
- Moves are scored by adding up the tile values for all the new words formed. If a tile is placed on an empty Double or Triple Letter Square then that tile's value is multiplied accordingly. Similarly, the scores for all words covering a Double or Triple Word Square are also multiplied.
- Players earn a 40 point 'bingo' bonus if they play 7 new tiles at once.
- After each turn, the player is allocated new tiles from the Bank.
- Instead of placing a word, a player can pass or swap tiles on their rack with random tiles from the Bank.
- The game ends when a player has used all their tiles and the Bank is also empty, or when both players have passed twice. Any tiles remaining on a player's rack are deducted from that player's score.
- The winner is the player with the highest score.
As there is no single authoritive guide to any language, it's inevitable that there will sometimes be disagreements over which words should be allowed. If you want to be able to override the game's default vocabulary and make your own decisions, select the 'flexible vocabulary' option.
All languages contain many obscure, archaic and unlikely looking words, which strong players love to exploit (e.g. 'aa' is a type of lava). If you don't think they should be allowed, don't play them. If you don't want the computer to play them either, select the 'avoid rare words' option.
Generally, words which can only be spelled with capital letters or punctuation marks are not allowed. This rules out names, acronyms and other words such as 'TV', 'Thursday', 'July', 'London', 'Pepsi', 'Sarah', 'ex-wife', and 'etc.'. Abbreviations are only allowed if they can be spelled without punctuation (e.g. 'phone').
That said, in some non-English languages, there is a growing trend to allow certain words that require capital letters, so long as they appear in the dictionary. As not everyone approves of this leniency, we've tried to keep such words to a minimum and have marked them as either 'rare' or to be played only by humans.
- German: nouns are allowed even though they require a capital letter.
- Spanish: you must use the special 'CH', 'LL' and 'RR' tiles rather than combining two separate tiles.
- Swedish: you can choose whether or not to allow inflections.
- Norwegian: this language has an exceptionally large number of words. The game's vocabulary can be considered complete for all words of up to six letters, but some longer words may be missing. Selecting the 'flexible vocabulary' option will allow you to play these unrecognised words.
The vocabulary does include some lewd, offensive and derogatory terms. Like it or not, these are a part of all languages. Where possible, these words have been isolated to prevent the computer from playing them, but you can still use them yourself if you want.
- The more tiles that pass through your rack, the more likely you are to get the really useful and higher scoring tiles. Play longer words!
- Try to play words that leave you with a roughly equal number of vowels (A,E,I,O,U) and consonants. If you have multiple copies of the same letter, use them up quickly. This may mean playing a lower-scoring word, but it will give you more opportunities in your next turn. ✽
- Don't give your blank tiles away too cheaply. Save them for high-scoring words. Likewise, in English, the S is particularly valuable as it can often be added to the end of one word, while forming a second word in the other direction.
- Don't just look for words on your rack. Instead, work backwards from any easy-to-reach bonus squares. Try to match the high value tiles on your rack with the double and triple letter squares. Forming two words off a bonus square (horizontally and vertically) lets you use the bonus twice.
- You should only swap as a last resort, when you have almost no usable tiles. Exchanging just a few tiles is risky because you may end up no better off. If you must swap, then exchange all, or most, of your tiles. If you do keep any tiles, hold on to an equal number of vowels and consonants. ✽
- Don't pass your turn if you can swap your tiles instead.
- At the end of the game, the value of any tiles left on your rack will be deducted from your score. Use up as many of your tiles as possible, but especially the higher-value ones.
✽ Less applicable if you're using the 'helpful' tile allocation option.
Need help running the game?
Please email us if you have any problems, questions or suggestions. Your feedback is always welcome.
If you're fluent in any of the game's non-English languages, let us know what you think of the game's vocabulary, good or bad. Perhaps you'd like to see the game's menus and prompts translated to your language too? See our language support page.
Why Go PRO?
If you enjoy CrossCraze, please show your appreciation by purchasing the full 'PRO' version. Your contribution will help fund further development and you'll get access to all these exclusive features:
- No ads
- 7 additional board styles
- 24 additional board layouts
- Supersized boards up to 21x21
- 'Tile Stacking' mode (place new tiles over old)
- Named players with ongoing statistics
- Pass-and-play with a friend
Support an independent developer!