Balda - General game info
Balda
2 players, 15-60 minutes, 8 years and older
Online since 2022-04-01
Developed byValdas Buńćinskas (Buchas)
Balda - Rules

Balda

Balda is a two player game in which players try to create long words. At the moment (2022-March-01) the game is played using English words.

Game Components

Originally the game is played using pen and paper only.

Setup

Players decide which board size will be used: small (5x5), medium (7x7) or large (9x9).

The starting word with the length equal to the board size is chosen randomly and each letter is written into every cell of the middle row.

Game Play

The player on turn takes the following actions:

1. Place a new letter

The player chooses an empty cell and places any letter there. The chosen cell must be horizontally or vertically (also diagonally if option "allow diagonal connections" is chosen when creating the game) adjacent to another cell containing letter.

2. Form a word and score points

The player starts with any letter on the board and then keeps joining horizontally or vertically (also diagonally if option "allow diagonal connections" is chosen when creating the game) adjacent letters until a desired word is formed. The player scores points equeal to the length of the new word.

For example:

Left image shows the situation before the first move. New letters can be placed into the green cells only. The first player places a new letter "T" and forms the word "TEA". The player scores 3 points.


The following rules must be met when forming the new word:

A) The new letter placed in step 1 must be used in the new word.

B) The letter of the board can be used only once. (No loops)

C) The new word must be not scored in the previous rounds or if there was identical word scored previously, then the new word should not share any letters with the old word. The starting word (see Setup) is considered scored, but no player receives points for it.

D) The new word must be from the list of possible words (see below).


In order to prevent the game from falling into a state where no legal word can be formed it is always allowed to score any newly placed single letter as a word (and gain 1 point).

List of words

The list of all possible words that can be scored was compiled from Wiktionary

Proper nouns (person names, location names, etc), were removed from the list of possible words. Abbreviations also were removed. Only infinitive form of verbs is used. A hyphen ("-") is omitted when compiling the words, so "e-mail", "baby-sitter" should be entered as "email", "babysitter".

There is a total of 484067 unique words that have a total of 680318 word definitions.

Game End

The game ends when all board cells are filled with letters. The player with the most points wins.

In case of a tie both players share the victory.

Settings

It is possible to choose which parts of language should be included into the list of possible words. Singular nouns are always included. Additionally players may choose to include verbs, adjectives (including adjective-satellites) and adverbs (WordNet dictionary forms clusters of adjectives, satellites having a more detailed meaning of other word. E.g. "wet" - adjective, "humid" - its satellite. This is for language learning purposes only.)

Note: Playing with adjectives might be advantegeous to the first player.
E.g. on 9x9 board the word "advertise" is chosen randomly. Then the first player can score "advertised" getting 10 points by adding "d" at the end.
E.g. on 7x7 board the word "auditor" is chosen randomly. Then the first player can score "auditory" getting 8 points by adding "y" at the end.

It is possible to "allow diagonal connections". This option allows letter to be connected also diagonally when creating the new word.

Hints for handling

Clicking the log highlights the corresponding action in violet.

When the word is scored its descriptions taken from dictionary are displayed in the log. This is a flavor text and can be ignored.

 
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