This page will give some tips for some particularly tricky boards. If you want to try to figure them out for yourself, you should stop reading now and navigate away from this page. Otherwise, please scroll down to keep reading. The missions covered include:
- Mission 3-11
- Mission 6-17
- Mission 8-14
- Mission 9-7
- Mission 10-1
Mission 3-11 probably won't be too tricky until you revisit it in Hard difficulty since the score requirements are rather low in Normal difficulty. (Although the middle of Chapter 3 is where a lot of new players first get stuck if they're simply blowing through Story Mode missions without leveling up their bears. If this is you, a little bit of leveling up in Bear School should get you moving again.)
An important element for doing well on this board—and any board involving Sun/Moon tiles—is to reveal the letters of Sun/Moon tiles only when the Sun side is up. There's a 10-lifetime difference between a letter under a Sun tile versus a letter under a Moon tile, which is huge in terms of both Word Score points and avoiding rocks. In other words, if possible:
- On the first turn, use the top letter in the second column (the U in the screenshot above). If you're able to use it, then after submitting the word the Sun/Moon tiles will flip and the second column will have a letter adjacent to a Sun. Don't use too many of the other letters, because you'll need them to stall while waiting for Suns to appear.
- On the second turn, use the letter adjacent to the Sun. You'll be rewarded with a 12-lifetime letter! If you exposed any other tiles on this third row from the bottom, don't use them—they are adjacent to Moons and will give you 2-lifetime letters. If you're able to, make sure that at the end of this turn the remaining Sun/Moon tiles on the fourth row from the bottom will all have letters adjacent to them.
- On the third turn, use letters adjacent to all of the Sun tiles in the fourth row from the bottom. Avoid using any letters adjacent to Moon tiles.
- . . . And so on, optimizing for Suns and avoiding Moons and rocks.
6-17 is tricky not only because of letter starvation but because of the short timer and the Lock & Key tiles.
- The timer is what it is—you have to play very quickly and perhaps take bears whose powers give you more time.
- Regarding letter starvation, if I've counted correctly you can reveal the key after playing your ninth word. There are only 29 letters and blank spaces on the board until the Lock & Key are activated, so you're going to run out of letters if you average much more than 3 letters per word.
- So, I think the strategy is basically to spell very short words (so as to not run out of letters) while making progress in the direction of the Key on every turn if possible. As soon as you get to the Key, all of the Locks will become letters and you can play out the board normally without worrying about running out of letters. If you own them, Bears with the Tally Row, Tally Column, or Tally Neighbors powers may help you to use hard-to-use letters or letters that are about to become rocks.
- You could use a bear with a Summon power on the lower-right letter of the starting tiles. This will summon a letter tile above the Key, allowing you easily activate the Key whenever you choose.
This mission is going to be a lot of "firefighting" and "fire prevention" with regard to letters counting down to 0 and becoming rocks. The lightbulb tiles are the major problem here because they'll reveal a bunch of letters that all begin counting down toward 0. This is exacerbated by all of the skull tiles that reveal letters beginning with 1 lifetime.
In light of this, the following tips may help:
- Focus on using up all of the red tiles each turn so they don't become rocks.
- If you're able to, think one step ahead to which red tiles will show up on the next turn and try to ensure that a reasonable number will be red. I think 2 each turn might be a reasonable number to work with.
- Avoid revealing the key tile for as long as possible. As long as it's not revealed, the lock tiles don't count down.
- But make sure that you get to it eventually. You'll need the letters under the lock tiles to score well, plus the lock tiles will block your bears' growth.
- Likewise, avoid revealing the lightbulb tiles until most of the tiles they'll reveal have already been revealed. This will minimize the number of extra tiles they open up.
- Manage when you reveal skull tiles since you'll have to deal with them immediately. E.g., if you know that on the next turn three letters will become red, this is probably not the best time to reveal a skull tile and add a fourth red letter.
- Keep in mind that the skull tiles are adjacent to one another, so once you reveal one you're going to keep getting red letters in that area for the next few turns (assuming you're successfully using up your red letters as they appear).
- If you have to let a rock form, let it happen where it will minimally impact your Biggest Bear score. Usually that's on the edge of the board, but it may be somewhere else if you've already received a rock somewhere.
The following types of bears may be helpful (assuming those bears have good score bonuses):
- Bears that give hints. The hint might help you to use up a bunch of red tiles in a single turn.
- Bears that give letters more lifetime, giving you more time to deal with letters before they become rocks.
- Bears that can score tiles instantly, for those cases where you can't use a particular red letter.
Mission 9-7 is tricky in the early turns because there's a lot to keep track of.
- The ice tiles adjacent to the lightbulb have very short lifetimes, so at the beginning you need to make progress toward them on almost every turn or they'll become rocks before you can even play them. Note that you can get to the ice tiles left and right of the lightbulb one turn faster if you come up from directly below them as opposed to first going up the middle to the lightbulb.
- Unfortunately the other letters in the bottom section also have short lifetimes, so you can't neglect them either.
- As you're doing those things on the bottom, letter starvation is also a factor. Try to play around that—don't allow any rocks, but try to make short words so you don't run out of usable letters.
- Using the lightbulb tile will get you very close to the key. In this case, using the key early is probably good because doing so will reveal all the lock tiles and eliminate the letter starvation problem.
- Once you use the lightbulb, just try to play all the tiles and avoid rocks.
Mission 10-1 can feel cruel because you don't have a choice of which tiles to play on Turn 1, and you'll reveal only two letter tiles on Turn 2 which aren't guaranteed to spell a word—possibly getting starved out before you had any real agency.
- One option is to use a Summon power here. E.g., Anubis Bear's "Summon ING" power. If used on the H in the screenshot above before playing Turn 1, it would give you an ING on the board. You can then spell HE on Turn 1 and be guaranteed to have something to play on Turn 2—regardless of what new tile is revealed, you can always fall back on playing GI, IN, or GIN.
- I'm sure some players have just tried repeatedly until they got a spellable word on Turn 2. It will happen eventually. (Turn 1 is guaranteed to have a spellable word, so no worries there.)
- As of version 1.11.0, the lock on the upper row has been replaced by a letter tile. This should give you a bit more agency, although you should still be cautious about letter starvation during the first few turns.