Wordvoyance Manual

Table of Contents

Introduction

WARNING: This game is under active development and is considered in a "beta" state. You may encounter bugs. While it is never fun to have a game ruined by a glitch, the most helpful thing you can do for us and other players is to report any errors via our contact form.

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Welcome to Wordvoyance by Themis Games! Wordvoyance is a crossword-building game similar to Scrabble and Words With Friends. It has been carefully crafted to be playable by everyone, and it includes multiple accessibility considerations for people with blindness and other disabilities. For one, Wordvoyance is designed to fit your phone screen, allowing you to feel your way around the game board comfortably. Games of Wordvoyance have also been carefully balanced to be slightly shorter and more exciting than its peers. Perhaps most importantly, the game has been programmed from the ground up to support a multitude of screen readers.

Setting Up a Game

You must have a free Themis Games account to begin a game of Wordvoyance

Once you're logged in, create a new game with either a friend or a random opponent.

When you create a new game with a friend, you will be the first to play a word. Against a random opponent, you may have to check who goes first.

If you have email notifications turned on, you will receive an email the moment your opponent makes a move.

Rules Overview

Most rules that apply to Scrabble or Words With Friends also apply to Wordvoyance. If you have played those games before, you will be right at home. For everyone else, here's the rundown:

Score the most points by the end of the game to win.

Score points by forming words on the game board using letters from your tile rack. The first word played must touch the center board space. Each following word must form a crossword on the board.

You are awarded the number of points on each letter played, including those of any new crosswords formed as a result of your play.

Multipliers are added to your score when you play a word on a bonus space. These bonuses can multiply individual letters, or the entirety of your score for that play. Bonus spaces are consumed as they are used. The board's center tile is a "double word" bonus space.

There are restrictions to the kinds of words you may play. Proper nouns and bespoke acronyms are disallowed. Compound words that require a hyphen are disallowed.

When all available tiles have been consumed, the game ends when a player empties his tile rack or when no words can be formed. Additionally, the game will end if a player passes his turn four times in a row.

Differences from other crossword games

There is no flat score bonus for using all of your rack tiles in a single play.

Remaining letter tiles at the end of a game neither add nor subtract from your score.

Games can result in a tie.

Further information on valid words

Wordvoyance uses the NASPA Word List 2020 (NWL20) dictionary to determine the validity of words. As such, the game's internal dictionary is the final arbiter of whether a word can be played at any time.

Additionally, the word list is presented complete and as-is. We trust that you, as a player of good stature, play words that are appropriate for your audience. What may be fine between your close friends may be offensive to a stranger. We are not responsible for a player's bad behavior. At the same time, Themis Games reserves the right to ban players that abuse this trust.

NASPA governs club and tournament Scrabble play in Canada and the United States. We are pleased to have the privilege of using their word list for Wordvoyance.

NASPA Word List 2020 Edition © NASPA 2020. The copy included in this app is licensed for personal use. You may not use it for any commercial purposes.

Image: NASPA GAMES. Making words, building friendships.

Tile Distribution and Scores

Letter Count Score
A81
B24
C23
D32
E81
F24
G23
H23
I61
J18
K15
L22
M24
N22
O61
P24
Q18
R31
S51
T31
U32
V25
W24
X18
Y14
Z18
Wild20

Notes on General Accessibility

Wordvoyance attempts the impossible task of being accessible to everyone. Accessibility is still a growing field of study, and each person's hardware setup and software environment is unique. Please read through the interaction models that pertain most to your situation, as the game may deviate from standard web browsing where necessary. Then, if you would like us to support your specific environment, please send us a polite message via our contact form with as many details about your setup as possible.

Please pay special attention to our recommendations for each interaction model. We do our best to adhere to accessibility standards, but many hardware manufacturers differ from the standards or omit features entirely. Wherever we find these incompatibilities, we will list them below and offer workarounds should they exist.

Interaction Models

Wordvoyance supports multiple ways to interact with the game, from the tried-and-true drag and drop gameplay you're used to from other games of its kind, to touch, swipe, and keyboard navigation that meshes with your choice of accessiblity systems.

Drag and Drop Interaction Model

Wordvoyance can be played just like other crossword games of its kind. Drag and drop tiles from the tile rack onto the board.

You may also drag tiles along the rack to rearrange them.

You may still use the cursor and single taps to play the game in addition to using Drag and Drop. Try it! It can sometimes be the faster method of input.

Cursor Interaction Model

Unique to Wordvoyance is the ability to set a cursor on the game board. This allows you to place rack tiles on the board quickly.

Move your focus point in any direction using the arrow keys, swipes, or directly with a mouse or tap.

Activate anything at your focus point using a tap, mouse click, or the Enter or Space keys.

Activate a board space to set the cursor pointing right. Activate again to point the cursor downward.

With the cursor set on a blank space, activate a rack tile to place it at the cursor. The cursor will advance in your chosen direction, skipping over any existing tiles on the board.

You may reclaim a placed tile before it is played by activating it again.

Keyboard Controls and Shortcuts

Keyboards are fully supported, even without accessibility features enabled.

Arrow Keys: Move the focus point. The focus point will move one space or element at a time. You can also move between sections, such as from the game board to the tile rack.

Shift + Arrow Keys: When on the game board, jump the focus point to the middle or the nearest edge.

Alphabet Keys A through Z, and Period (.) or Question Mark (?): Immediately places the corresponding letter tile from your rack, if you have one, onto the board at your cursor. The Period and Question Mark keys activate blank tiles.

Space or Enter: Activates anything under your focus point. Activate a board space to set your cursor, and again to change direction. With the cursor set on a blank space, activate a Rack Tile to place it at your cursor. The cursor will advance in your chosen direction, skipping over any existing tiles on the board. Activate a placed Rack Tile to return it to the rack. You can also activate buttons and status elements in the game's user interface.

Control + Enter: Immediately confirms any dialogs on screen, if they can be confirmed. This shortcut will also activate the Play or Pass button while in gameplay.

Tab: Quickly navigate between sections in order: Game Status, Game Board, Tile Rack, and Action Buttons.

Escape or Backspace: Close modal windows, such as the Play Word pop-up. On the game board, Backspace reclaims tiles behind your cursor.

Home / End, and Page Up / Page Down: Immediately focus the top or bottom-most navigable element, such as menu items.

iOS VoiceOver Controls

VoiceOver support is identical to that of Android TalkBack.

With VoiceOver enabled, you can drag your finger along the game board and tile rack to have your current position read back to you, as well as any tiles or bonuses at your focus point.

Activate anything at your focus point with a double-tap.

Activate a board space to set a cursor pointing right. Activate again to point the cursor downward.

With the cursor set on a blank space, activate a rack tile to place it at the cursor. The cursor will advance in your chosen direction, skipping over any existing tiles on the board.

You may reclaim a placed tile before it is played by activating it again.

Compatibility note: VoiceOver will read changes to your focus point before it reads announcements. This is a feature of VoiceOver and cannot be changed.

Compatibility note: It is recommended to set your Rotor to "Vertical Navigation." This option is not enabled by default in iOS. This will allow you to navigate one space at a time with a swipe in any direction.

Compatibility note: The VoiceOver Rotor on iOS differs from the one in MacOS. At this time, a bug in Safari makes the Rotor unable to see the game's authored Landmarks.

Android TalkBack Controls

TalkBack support is identical to that of iOS VoiceOver.

With TalkBack enabled, you can drag your finger along the game board and tile rack to have your current position read back to you, as well as any tiles or bonuses at your focus point.

Activate anything at your focus point with a double-tap.

Activate a board space to set a cursor pointing right. Activate again to point the cursor downward.

With the cursor set on a blank space, activate a rack tile to place it at the cursor. The cursor will advance in your chosen direction, skipping over any existing tiles on the board.

You may reclaim a placed tile before it is played by activating it again.

Compatibility note: TalkBack will read announcements before it reads changes to your focus point. This is a feature of TalkBack and cannot be changed.

MacOS VoiceOver Controls

With VoiceOver enabled, you can use your arrow keys to have your current position read back to you, as well as any tiles or bonuses at your focus point.

Activate anything at your focus point with a click, or the Enter or Space keys.

Activate a board space to set a cursor pointing right. Activate again to point the cursor downward.

With the cursor set on a blank space, activate a rack tile to place it at the cursor. The cursor will advance in your chosen direction, skipping over any existing tiles on the board.

You may reclaim a placed tile before it is played by activating it again.

Compatibility note: VoiceOver will read changes to your focus point before it reads announcements. This is a feature of VoiceOver and cannot be changed.

Compatibility note: The VoiceOver Rotor wasn't built with web applications in mind. Wordvoyance supports the Form Controls and Static Text jumplists, which may not enabled by default in MacOS. All other jumplists are auto-populated, and are not recommended.

Compatibility note: It is recommended to use our built-in keyboard navigation instead of relying on VoiceOver Keys. VoiceOver Keys were designed to drill deep into the kinds of web element groupings that make up our user interface. At this time, Apple does not give developers control over this feature. If VoiceOver Key shortcuts cause you to lose your place, press tab or the arrow keys to return to the game's navigation tree, or use the Form Controls and Static Text jumplists from the VoiceOver Rotor.

Compatibility note: Quick Nav interferes with the game's built-in keyboard controls. We recommend keeping Quick Nav set to off (shortcut: press the left and right arrow keys at the same time).

MacOS Voice Control Controls

NOT IMPLEMENTED. Voice Control support is pending development. We need dedicated testers to help guide our development of this feature. Please contact us if you are willing to help.

NVDA Controls

With NVDA, you can use your arrow keys to have your current position read back to you, as well as any tiles or bonuses at your focus point.

Activate anything at your focus point with a click, or the Enter or Space keys.

Activate a board space to set a cursor pointing right. Activate again to point the cursor downward.

With the cursor set on a blank space, activate a rack tile to place it at the cursor. The cursor will advance in your chosen direction, skipping over any existing tiles on the board.

You may reclaim a placed tile before it is played by activating it again.

Compatibility note: NVDA does not currently read our element descriptions on mouse hover. We are looking into a fix. We recommend relying on keyboard navigation for the time being.

Compatibility note: The NVDA Elements List wasn't built with web applications in mind, and currently doesn't detect the game's authored landmarks. It is recommended to use our built-in keyboard navigation instead of relying on the Element List window.

JAWS Controls

With JAWS, you can use your arrow keys to have your current position read back to you, as well as any tiles or bonuses at your focus point.

Activate anything at your focus point with a click, or the Enter or Space keys.

Activate a board space to set a cursor pointing right. Activate again to point the cursor downward.

With the cursor set on a blank space, activate a rack tile to place it at the cursor. The cursor will advance in your chosen direction, skipping over any existing tiles on the board.

You may reclaim a placed tile before it is played by activating it again.

Compatibility note: By default, JAWS will read all punctuation. We use puntuation to guide other screen readers for increased clarity. While we look into a better way to handle this, we recommend reducing JAWS's verbosity.

Gamepad Controls

You can use a gamepad with Wordvoyance.

D-Pad Up, Down, Left, Right: Move the focus point. The focus point will move one space or element at a time. You can also move between sections, such as from the game board to the tile rack.

Bottom Face Button (A or Cross): Activates anything under your focus point. Activate a board space to set your cursor, and again to change direction. With the cursor set on a blank space, activate a Rack Tile to place it at your cursor. The cursor will advance in your chosen direction, skipping over any existing tiles on the board. Activate a placed Rack Tile to return it to the rack. You can also activate buttons and status elements in the game's user interface.

Left and Right Bumpers (L1 and R1): Quickly navigate between sections in order: Game Status, Game Board, Tile Rack, and Action Buttons.

Right Face Button (B or Circle): Close modal windows, such as the Play Word pop-up. On the game board, reclaims tiles behind your cursor.

Compatibility note: Wordvoyance supports any controllers that report the standard xinput or d-input button mapping. This includes Xbox controllers, and some Playstation controllers. Controllers that report non-standard mappings will be ignored.

Game Status Area Detail

You can always find the current game status at the top of the screen. On the top left and right corners, you'll find each player's score and information on whose turn it is. Beneath that is a readout of the last turn played, including the turn's word, position, and score. Screen readers will also remind you how relatively ahead or behind you are to your opponent's score. Activating the Game Status Area opens the Turn History Menu.

Turn History Menu Detail

The Turn History menu acts as a jump list for navigating the words played on the board in chronological order. The most recent play is at the bottom of the list, just above the Close button. Turn History entries reveal the word, location, and score for each turn.

Activate a Turn History entry to place your focus point at the beginning of the word played that turn, if there was one.

Rack Status Area Detail

Just above the tile rack is a secondary status area. By default, this shows how many tiles remain to be played. Focusing the Rack Status Area will also prompt screen readers to read your entire tile rack back to you. While you are composing words on the game board, this status line changes to inform you when the words are valid. Activating the Rack Status Area opens the Remaining Tiles Dialog (see further below).

Action Button Area Detail

At the bottom of the play area, below the tile rack, you will find primary action buttons for the game. These include a button for playing the tiles you've placed on the board, as well as ways to quickly manipulate and navigate the game scene.

Play Button Ready Menu Detail

When you are ready to play the rack tiles you've placed on the board, activate the Play button. A dialog will present itself with the words you are about to play, as well as any words that are found to be invalid. To confirm your play, activate the Play button in this Ready Menu dialog.

If there are no tiles on the board, the Ready Button will instead allow you to pass your turn without playing a word.

Go-To Button Menu Detail

The Go-To Button presents a dialog with a list of buttons that act as shortcuts to different parts of the game scene. For instance, you can quickly set your focus on the board at the location of the last tile played. You can also access the Turn History from here, saving you a trip to the top of the screen.

Shuffle Button Detail

The Shuffle button randomizes the order of your rack tiles. This can help you visualize word possibilities from a new angle.

Recall Rack Tiles Button Detail

The Recall button will immediately return all rack tiles to your tile rack.

Swap Tiles Button Detail

The Swap button allows you to exchange your unwanted Rack Tiles for new ones. You may only swap tiles when it is your turn, and when there are tiles remaining in the bag. Swapping tiles consumes your turn.

More Actions Menu Detail

The More Actions button presents a dialog with a list of buttons for secondary game actions, as well as for customizing and controlling the game state.

Resign Button Detail

The Resign button ends the game early. The player who resigns loses the game.

Options Menu Detail

The Settings button presents a dialog with a list of buttons for customizing and controlling the game state.

Change Theme Mode Button Detail

Switches between light and dark themes.

High Contrast Mode Button Detail

Changes the appearance of the game board. Colors are brighter, and text is outlined. If your device's built-in high contrast mode doesn't sufficiently improve the legibility of the game, try turning this on alongside it. High Contrast Mode may be combined with both the light or dark themes.

Enable Sound Effects Button Detail

Wordvoyance plays audio by default to tell you when it's your turn, whether a word is valid, and when navigating by keyboard to clue you in to your current position on the screen. Toggle this option to disable such sound effects.

Enable Email Turn Notifications Button Detail

Any time an opponent makes a move, an email will be dispatched to inform you that it is your turn to play.

Instruction Manual Button Detail

Opens this instruction manual. Neat!

View Your Profile Button Detail

Opens your profile in a new tab. Profiles display stats such as games started and finished, and a player's win / loss record.

View Opponent's Profile Button Detail

Opens your opponent's profile in a new tab. Profiles display stats such as games started and finished, and a player's win / loss record.

Remaining Tiles Button Detail

Opens a dialog with a list of bag tiles in alphabetical order, showing the score and remaining count of each. You may type a letter into this dialog to jump to a given tile for quick read-back by screen readers.

Return to Main Menu Button Detail

Returns you to the Wordvoyance index page, where you can create or load games and manage your friends list.

Next Game Button Detail

Immediately loads your next active game. This button is disabled if you have no other games wherein it is your turn.

Wordvoyance as Part of Your Themis Games Account

You must have a free Themis Games account to play Wordvoyance. This allows you to play games against other players with their own accounts, as well as enabling our servers to save your progress. Wordvoyance is free-to-play while it remains in beta. Pricing and account details will be announced at a future date.

Browser Support

Different web browsers often work differently from one another. Because of this, you may encounter issues when playing on browsers we haven't tested for compatibility.

The following are browsers that we officially support:

If you encounter issues with any of these supported browsers, please let us know us via our contact page. We encourage feedback about other browsers as well, and we will author bugfixes within reason, though we may or may not choose to officially support anything else.

Browser-specific known issues:

Firefox: This browser does not relay text to braille displays while in-game for an unknown reason. If you develop with Firefox and can point us toward a solution, please contact us.

Credits and Contact Information

Wordvoyance is created by a small team of enthusiastic and dedicated developers. You may reach out to us via our contact form.

Ben Ritter - Game Designer

Tanner Plumb - Software Engineer

Austin Larson - Software Engineer

Special Thanks to Tony May for spurring us to action and providing detailed and thoughtful consultation, testing, feedback, and moral support.

Special Thanks to NASPA, for generously supplying their word list and definitions to Wordvoyance. NASPA Word List 2020 Edition © NASPA 2020. The copy included in this app is licensed for personal use. You may not use it for any commercial purposes.

Copyright 2021 Themis Games, all rights reserved.