The "game over" conditions are if either of the following occurs:
- Time runs out. (Applies to Timed events only)
- The visible letters on the board cannot make any words.
Usually the latter condition occurs after you've explored most of the tiles on the board. But this can occur at any point in the game--even after playing only a single word! The game randomly generates letters, and unfortunately sometimes the randomness results in you getting tiles that quickly end the game.
In the screenshot above, the game has correctly ended. Note the following:
- The letters IIRR contain no playable words. That's why the game ended.
- There is still lots of time left on the clock.
- Most of the board is still unexplored.
We understand that it feels bad when a game ends "early" (i.e., there is lots of time left on the clock and/or lots of unexplored board). But our letter-generating algorithms don't cheat to intentionally give you "bad" letters that make the game end early, and they likewise (except for the possible exception noted below) don't cheat to intentionally give you "good" letters that prolong the game.
- Note: After Alphabear 2 had been out for a few months, we did consider changing its algorithm to intentionally give the player "good" letters during the first few turns, thereby reducing the likelihood of an early Game Over. I don't believe we ever did so, but if we did it or do so in the future it would be cheating in favor of the players to reduce this point of unhappiness. Cheating against the players and intentionally giving them "bad" letters to end the game early was never a consideration.
What can I do to avoid a game ending "early"?
(Note that these are not the best-performing strategies. But if all you care about is not ending the game early, then you can use these. The best approach is probably to use these when you're at high risk for the game ending early.)
- You can know for sure that the game won't end via unlucky letters on this turn if, prior to submitting a word, you can already see all the tiles you need for a next word.
- So, if I have 5 letters and am concerned that the game might end early, perhaps I'll plan to play a 3-letter word and then a 2-letter word, rather than playing a 4-letter word and hoping that the newly revealed letters work with my fifth letter.
- Before submitting your word, be cognizant of how many new letters you will be revealing. If it's too few, maybe you can spell a different word that will reveal more letters.
- New letter tiles are revealed when a tile next to them is played.
- Some board layouts are intentionally designed to force you to reveal new letter tiles quickly before you run out of playable words. The screenshot below is one example--you will soon become starved of letters unless you break through the Skull squares and begin revealing new letters in the middle of the board. On these boards, you should make an effort to reveal new letters quickly.
- Some letters work in more words than others. E.g., if I have a choice between leaving a single A on the board or a single U on the board and need to hope that the newly exposed letters will make a word with my A or U, I'd leave the A on the board because it's more likely to make a word with whatever new letters are revealed.