Rules for IRC WordORama

This document describes how to play WordORama using the IRC bot. The document also contains the current list of categories the IRC bot uses. Please suggest additional categories.

WordORama Game Rules

WordORama is a wordplay and trivia game. For each game, a board is randomly chosen containing five categories ("authors", "things you might find in a doctor's office", "video games") and five letters of the alphabet. This gives each player a 5x5 blank grid. The player's task is to fill as many slots as possible with words which begin with the appropriate letter and fit in the appropriate category.

Once the timer runs out, the answers are read for each category. If a player submitted a unique answer, he gets 10 points. An answer which was submitted by only two players receives 5 points, and an answer which was submitted by three or more players, or which the players determine did not fit the category, receives no points.

Playing WordORama on IRC

To begin the game, it is first necessary for someone to run the bot, and for everyone to congregate in the appropriate channel, which is #word.

Once the bot has been started, the game is roughly divided into three sections:

  1. Setup Phase: The categories are announced, and players select preferences and indicate that they are ready to start the timer.
  2. Answer Phase: The timer is running while players submit as many answers as they can.
  3. Reading Phase: The bot reads back the answers for each category, and the players correct its automated decisions about which answers were the same.

At the end of the game, the bot will announce the final scores.

Running the bot

Anyone with a keyfitz account can run the bot by running: WordORama
from the command line. The bot should indicate that it is logging into the correct irc server, and joining the channel #word. If anything goes wrong, tell Chaos, or go do something else if Chaos is not available.

Once the bot is running, all commands should be directed by private message to the bot, whose screenname is gm. The bot will not pay attention to anything which is said in the main channel.

Someone will need to start the game, by using the start command. The command needs to be called with the nicknames of all the players involved in the game, i.e.:

    /msg gm start chaos tom fred
if chaos, tom, and fred are playing.

Setup Phase

Once the game has started, the bot will generate the categories and announce them in the main channel. At this point, each player should read the categories and set any preferences he wants to set.

Currently, the only preference available involves timer messages. By default, the bot will send a message to each player notifying him when 2 minutes, 1 minute, and 30 seconds remain on the clock. Some players find these messages distracting. Use the command

    botmsg no
to tell the bot that you do not want to receive private timer messages. (Note that the messages are sent to the main channel regardless of this preference. Also note that this setting only deals with messages sent while the timer is running --- it has no effect on the nagging messages the bot will send you when it expects you to do things during other phases of the game.)

Once you have set your preferences and are sitting at your keyboard anxiously waiting to see the letters and start typing, use the command:

to tell the bot you are ready to proceed.

Answer Phase

At the beginning of this phase, the bot will randomly generate the set of letters, and announce them in the main channel. Then it will send a private message to each player containing his blank grid. Once the letters are announced, the players should immediately start answering.

There are two relevant commands in this phase --- answer and status. Since time is of the essence, these commands can and should be referenced by their one-letter shortcuts a and s.

The answer or a command is used to submit an answer. The five categories will be numbered on your grid, and you should use a two-character number/letter pair (in either order) to indicate which entry you are submitting. For instance, you might type:

    a 3k kiwi fruit
if the third category is "fruits and vegetables". Note that, if your answer is successfully submitted, the bot will not tell you anything. You will only get a bot response if an error occurred. You will get a status message telling you that you have changed your answer if you submit an answer for a square which already had an entry.

The status or s command can be used at any time to display your grid so far. Using status with a numerical argument, like s 3, will display only the category you request, getting you your response faster. In playtesting, we have noticed that people sometimes submit answers in the wrong places. The best way to correct for this is probably to look at your grid occasionally.

Reading Phase

During the reading phase, the bot will read each category, and, within each category, will read all the answers for a given letter at once, after which the players can manually adjust scores for that category.

The bot will select one player for each category to be the "round master". The job of the round master is to inform the bot of any scoring-relevant changes as it reads each letter in the category. (The round master rotates once per category so that no single player has to do extra work for the entire game.)

First, the bot will read any answers which were submitted for the current letter in the current category. If there were no answers submitted, the bot will immediately go on to the next letter. If there were any answers, the bot will report which answers it believes are identical (this is done by case-insensitive exact word match, so it will necessarily miss some things). The round master now has three commands available to him: same, invalid, and done.

The same command is used to indicate that two players had the same answer. For instance, suppose that chaos submitted "indifferent" and fred submitted "indifference". Then the round master will tell the bot:

    same chaos fred
(Note: this command is run with nicknames rather than answers just because they are shorter and easier to parse quickly. If tom also submitted "indifference", then tom's answer will automatically be affected by the above. However, if tom submitted "indifferency", then the round master will also need to run same chaos tom.)

The invalid command is used to indicate that a player's answer is invalid. It will affect all players who submitted that answer. For instance, if chaos submitted "plane", which is not a valid answer, then:

    invalid chaos
will cause the answer "plane" to be worth no points for anyone who submitted it.

The done command is used to indicate that there are no further changes to scoring for this round. The round master must submit this command for any round in which there were answers. After this, the bot will announce points scored during the round, and move on to the next letter or category.

At any time during the reading phase, you can run the command status round (or s r) to obtain the validity status of answers in the current category. This can be useful if you need to make a number of changes and lose track of what remains to be changed.

Note: all commands run by the round master are immediately reported to the channel. The round master position does not allow that player to cheat (at least not without being caught) --- it exists simply to make the game run faster by having only one player at a time responsible for communicating with the bot.

WordORama Categories

  Bodies of Water
  American Capitals
  American Cities
  Artists and Sculptors*
  Bible Characters
  Book Titles
  Cartoon Characters
  Characters in Mythology
  Cigarette and Cigar Brands
  Colleges and Universities
  Confections and Candies
  Diseases and Illnesses
  European Cities
  Clothing Brands',   
  Fairy Tale Titles
  Famous Structures
  Famous Vehicles (Individual)
  Famous Warriors*
  Famous Women in History
  Fictional Characters (Written Word)
  Foods and Condiments
  Foreign Countries
  Fruits and Vegetables
  Games (Board, Card, Parlour)
  Video Games
  Movie Titles
  Musical Composers
  Musical Instruments
  Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tale Characters
  Orchestra Leaders*
  Perfumes and Colognes
  Plays (Musical and Dramatic)
  World Leaders*
  Scientists and Inventors*
  Singers* (Male or Female)
  Song Titles
  Things Commonly Found in Bathroom
  Things Commonly Found in Bedroom
  Things Commonly Found in Kitchen
  Things Commonly Found in Living Room
  Things Commonly Found in Office
  Titles of T.V. Programs
  Transportation (Air, Land or Sea)
  Apparel (Male or Female)
  Things Commonly Found in a Car
  Holidays and Observances
  Measurement and Units
  "Things Commonly Found in Doctor's Office",
  Things Commonly Found in Garden
  Things Commonly Found in Amusement Park
  Fictional Characters (Film/TV)
  Sports Team
  Famous Animals*
  Things Commonly Found in Airport
  Soaps and Detergents
  Famous Streets
  Comic Strips
  Famous Criminals*
  Famous Judges*
  Directors (Film/TV)
  Sports Equipment
  Bands (Rock/Pop/Folk/ Rap/HipHop)
  Things Commonly Found in Casino
  Weather Words
  "Carpenter's Tools",
  Store Chains
  World Cities (non USA/Europe)
  Academic Disciplines
  Restaurant Chains
  Things made of Wood
  Mountains / Mtn. Ranges
  Ice Cream Flavors
  Things Commonly Found in a Garage
  Things Commonly Found in a Classroom
  Works of Visual Art
  Oscar Winners
  Things that can fly
  Fictional Places