I tried to use a valid English word and it said it wasn't found!
The English language is vast and ever-changing. Determining which combinations of letters form valid words and which do not is an impossible task. On the one hand, the Oxford English dictionary lists more then 200,000 words, many of which are considered obsolete, even by the dictionary itself. If we were to use even the non-obsolete words in a game like this, there would be so many books on the wizard's shelf in most cases that they would not fit on the screen. And few people playing would know what most of those words mean or would have ever used them. Even a dictionary for the popular game Scrabble would have placed many obscure words into our game, ones that only avid word game players could guess even though they never use the words in speech or writing.
To construct the books on the wizard's shelf, we combined several lists and dictionaries of the most commonly-used words. The list isn't perfect, but we tried to do the best we could. We used American spellings since we are American and the vast majority of Word Spell game players are as well. Nothing wrong with European, Canadian Australian or any other form of English. But we had to pick one.
If it helps, think of the game as an exercise in guessing which books the wizard has on his shelves. He doesn't have them all, just the ones he needs or likes. So if your favorite obscure English word isn't there -- well, I guess the wizard didn't have that one.
But it isn't fair! I almost had a high score but I wasted time choosing a word that wasn't there.
As far as scores go, keep in mind that it is a level playing field. All players see the same books on the shelf and have the same words available to choose from.
Why can't I pause the game?
You can. But only in the Standard, Practice Level and No Time Limit games, though it hardly matters in the latter. The reason you can't in the Compete game is that it makes it too easy to cheat. You could jot down the 6 letters and then pause while you think of new combinations.
The Compete game will also not pause when you switch away from the app. So if you get a phone call and answer it, the game keeps playing. That's unfortunate, but also true of other competitive games. I guess that's why basketball players don't carry mobile phones on them while the game is going on.
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