Word Dojo is a video game found on Megatouch touchscreen terminals in most bars. You score by forming words by chaining together neighboring letters that drop into the screen. The first round ends when time expires or you have used 75 letters or more to form words. The second round ends when time expires or you have used 99 letters or more to form words. And the third round is a bonus round with unlimited letters. In the bonus round there is also an ever-changing bonus letter that multiplies scores of words you form that include the letter.
- Concentrate on making 3-letter words. 3-letter words are the most efficient way to score, the easiest to see, and the fastest to type. Longer words don’t help very much except in a few special cases.
- At the end of the first two rounds, make sure your second-to-last word gets you to exactly 74 (or 98) letters. For example, in round one, you’ll get to 74 letters by using all 3-letter words except two 4-letter words. Watch the letter meter and get to 74 or 98 as quickly as possible. Then take your time to form the longest word possible (10, 11, or even 12 letters long). This will be your last word and will end your turn, but you can use a lot of left over time to find a huge word. The bonus time is not nearly as valuable as the score for the long word.
- In the first two rounds, set up prefixes and suffixes that will help make a long final word. For example, leave some INGs at one end of the screen or the other and try to use up difficult letters like F, K, Z, Q, V, W, J, and X so your final letters are easier. It’s also helpful to remove the two golden balls before the final word. This leaves more flexibility and adds to your score.
- In the bonus round, concentrate on making rapid-fire 3-letter words, as many as possible. Always try to remove as many of the golden blocker balls as possible. Don’t slow down to use the bonus letter, but if you can use it without hesitating, try to use it as much as possible. The bonus letter is best ignored when it is an unusual letter (like Q) because they appear so infrequently on the screen. But when it’s an N, T, R, S, and so on, you can use it to inflate your score quickly.
- In the first two rounds, the method of forming all short words, then one long word to end the round can actually be improved by very advanced players. The key is to form several words longer than 8-letters during the round, the more the better. 8-letters is the hot spot in the scoring algorithm where very long words really pay off. 5-7 letter words are not very helpful.
Below is the Word Dojo scoring algorithm (which is also common to Wordster). Following are some conclusions that can be drawn from this information.
Letter values (from help screen):
a=3 b=10 c=7 d=9 e=1 f=10 g=9 h=9 i=4 j=12 k=6 l=2 m=9 n=5 o=5 p=9 q=12 r=4 s=6 t=5 u=8 v=11 w=11 x=12 y=10 z=12
There are two variables used to calculate a word’s score.
n = the number of letters in the word (for ‘sunshine’ n=8)
s = the sum of all letter values in the word (for ‘sunshine’ s=6+8+5+6+9+4+5+1=44)
In round three, the bonus letter multiplier affects the individual letter score and therefore the value of s (for ‘sunshine’ if ‘s’ is the bonus letter with a multiplier of 5x, s=(6*5)+8+5+(6*5)+9+4+5+1=92)
The algorithm changes based on how many letters are in the word (or partially formed word):
1-letter, score = s
2-letter, score = (1000*n+20*s)
3-letter, score = 10*s*(n+0)+2*(1000*n+20*s)+1000
4-letter, score = 10*s*(n+0)+2*(1000*n+20*s)
5-letter, score = 10*s*(n+1)+2*(1000*n+20*s)
6-letter, score = 10*s*(n+2)+2*(1000*n+20*s)
7-letter, score = 10*s*(n+2)+2*(1000*n+20*s)+1*(1000+10*s)
8-letter, score = 10*s*(n+2)+2*(1000*n+20*s)+4*(1000+10*s)
9-letter, score = 10*s*(n+2)+2*(1000*n+20*s)+7*(1000+10*s)
10-letter, score = 10*s*(n+2)+2*(1000*n+20*s)+10*(1000+10*s)
11-letter, score = 10*s*(n+2)+2*(1000*n+20*s)+18*(1000+10*s)
12-letter, score = 10*s*(n+2)+2*(1000*n+20*s)+26*(1000+10*s)
After finding the score of a word using the formula above, there is one more adjustment to make. If the word is more than 2 letters long and s equals any of the following values: 5,6,17,30,31,32,57,58,59 subtract one from the score.
Additional Conclusions Based on Scoring Algorithm
- Three-letter words receive a 1000 point bonus. This makes 3-letter words the most efficient way to score quickly. Also consider that 3-letter words will occur most frequently among any random arrangement of letters and are obviously the fastest to enter. So the strategy of forming only 3-letter words is supported. The only exceptions being (a) to get exactly 74 or 98 respectively with the second to last word in the first two rounds (b) to get the highest possible score for the last word in the first two rounds to capitalize on the ‘overshoot’ and of course (c) if a longer word is all you see, it certainly doesn’t pay to delay to find a 3-letter word.
- Longer words don’t benefit the lengthier data entry time until they are at least eight letters long when some added scoring power takes effect. However, 8-letter+ words are less commonly present, are difficult to see, and are more prone to typing errors. So any strategy that favors using long words is dubious – with the exception of the overshoot in the first two rounds.
- In the bonus round, bonus letter multipliers contribute to the base score of each occurrence of the letter in the word. Therefore, they do have a substantial effect on the word score when entered quickly while the multiplier is high. The total contribution for a bonus letter is more than the multiplier. For example if a word contains a letter ‘s’ and the ‘s’ is the bonus letter with a multiplier of 10x, the word score actually increases more than 54 points (10*6-6), but more like 50 times that much (for each occurrence of the bonus letter). So using the bonus letters in the third round can make a big difference in your score. But by ‘big’ I do not mean millions, maybe a couple hundred thousand.
- In round 3, high-scoring bonus letters like J, Q, X, Z could in theory provide the potential for huge scores. However, while these letters come up relatively often as bonus letter, you almost never see these letters ‘drop. The best prospects for high scores based on bonus letters in round three is simply to get common letters, maybe those with a middle value like (l, n, o, p, m, t, s, u, r), and enter lots of three letter words quickly using the bonus letter. This has been suggested by nearly everyone who gets very high scores. It also explains why you can happen on very high scores without even watching the bonus letter.As for 12-letter words… Based on the scoring algorithm, 12-letter words aren’t rewarded nearly well enough to compensate for the rarity and difficulty of finding them. 12-letter words will VERY rarely even appear on the screen, much less would be the chances of detecting them.
- You can manipulate the letters as they drop to ‘build’ long words. For example, you can encourage and preserve common prefixes and suffixes such as “ING” or “TION” and simultaneously exhaust letters that are less likely to contribute to long words. However, you have a limited number of letters to work with and you rarely even get the opportunity to build a 12-letter word. That said, ‘building’ one huge word to end the first two rounds is certainly the best strategy. It’s fairly easy to consistently end with a word of 8 to 10 letters, with an occasional 11 or 12. If you get the maximum score for rounds one and two, it would not add enough to inflate the overall score to the level of these super high scores that are achieved by cheating (lantern trick). I couldn’t find any credible evidence that there’s any valid ‘trick’ involving forming 12-letter words that would help to get huge scores (over 2M).
Scores of 1.2 million are very good. My personal high is just over 1.5 million and credible scores of as high as 1.6 to 1.8 million have been reported. Looking at the scoring algorithm in combination with letter frequencies, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious way to score legitimately above 2 million.
Update: The Lantern Trick has been fixed and no longer works in the newer versions. So it seems that all new scores are legitimate. No more three hour sessions on one quarter. No more phony claims of ridiculously high scores (over 25 million for example). If you have access to an older game (versions out before 2010 I believe), it might be fun to try to discover for yourself. Anyone claiming to get over 1.6 million or even scoring 12-letter words, I’d love to see video, including proof it’s the new version. It’s still unclear what the top players can score. Post a video on YouTube and I’ll include it on this page.
Btw, comments containing obscenities, rude language, or personal attacks on others will be deleted.