Original word games by David Parlett  
Marx & Johnson


A deductive word game for 2

Parachute down
  Quizl is a word-gaming equivalent of Battleships. (As also is Phrase Maze.)  
You each take a separate sheet of paper and draw a grid of 5 x 5 = 25 squares. Number the columns from 0 to 4 across the top and the rows from 5 to 9 down the left-hand side. Now you can identify every square by quoting its grid reference. For example, the centre square is "72". This is your main grid. You also need a similarly numbered separate grid to record the results from your opponent's main grid.

Next, think of a secret password consisting of five different letters and enter it from left to right in any row, or from top to bottom in any column. This leaves 20 blank squares, which you now fill up with 20 of the 21 unused letters. It doesn't matter which letter you leave out, but you must make sure that -

  • No letter appears more than once, and
  • No other row or column contains a genuine five-letter word.

For example, here's a grid with the password PSALM occupying column 4:

  0 1 2 3 4
5 T Q U F P
6 W Z V E S
7 O G B R A
8 C H I N L
9 K Y X D M

You'll be amazed to learn that the aim of the game is to cleverly deduce your opponent's password before they are lucky enough to guess yours.

You each in turn call out a grid reference and your opponent tells you what letter, if any, occupies that square. For example, "72" calls for the letter in the central square, and in the specimen above returns the letter B.

When you think you know your opponent's word, you must wait for your next turn and announce what you think it is instead of hitting another square.

  • If you're right, you score 1 point for each square you have not yet hit (that is, 25 minus the number of letters you have hit), and your opponent continues play alone.
  • If not, you must wait for your next turn before hitting another square or calling another word.
You both carry your scores forward to the next game in the set, and the set ends when one player reaches a total of 25 points (or any other previously agreed target).

Special rules
Here are two more special rules:

  • If you accidentally uncover your opponent's password by hitting all five letters without having announced it in advance, you score nothing, and your opponent continues play alone. (The aim of the game is to deduce the hidden word, not to trip over it.)
  • If you accidentally put two five-letter passwords in your own grid (whether because you were careless about fitting the unused letters in, or because you didn't realise that a particular combination of letters made a valid word), there is no special penalty, except that your opponent wins by correctly announcing either of them.

The fun and challenge of this game lies in filling up the 20 irrelevant squares with letters in such a way as to form combinations that look as if they might form a word when only one or two of them are visible. For example, a player attacking row 6 in the sample grid might easily be misled into guessing a false password WAVES.

It can also be misleading, and is quite legitimate, to incorporate genuine words of less than five letters, such as CHIN, FERN, TWO and BRA in the sample grid. Note, too, the nice but unreal word TWOCK in column 0. (Lewis Carroll might have defined it as a snack eaten at around two o'clock.)

Solitaire Quizl on line
If you like the sound of this game and want to try it out, and if you can run Java applets, you can click here to play the solitaire version.
  	Validated HTML 4.01 Approved for children by Internet Content Rating Association © by David Parlett renewed January 2012  
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