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How to Play DoubleCross
Brandy redux
#1 Posted : Sunday, February 05, 2012 5:18:36 PM(UTC)
Brandy redux

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Joined: 10/15/2008(UTC)
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Location: Idaho

Since the rules for playing DoubleCross are not included in the Help file for Hoyle Puzzle & Board Games 2009, I thought it might be a good idea to post those rules here.


How the Game is Played

DoubleCross is a word game that can be played with one, two, or three other human or computer players. To add, remove, or change players, click DoubleCross Players on the Options menu.

In DoubleCross, you move tiles to the board to make complete or partial words. There are two ways to place a tile:

• Drag a tile from your rack to the board.
• Click a tile and then click the board.

When you move a tile to the board, before you place it, a box is drawn around the letters that will be evaluated. This helps you estimate whether your play will make a complete or partial word.

Rules for Placing Tiles

There are a few rules to be aware of when placing tiles:

1. The tile must extend from a stable tile. Stable tiles are tiles with a black background.

2. If a tile you place is not part of a complete or partial word, it will be destroyed, and your turn ends. A partial word is a word that can have letters added to it to make a complete word.

3. You have the ability to undo a move (pick tiles back up into your rack) if the tiles you placed did not complete a word and you didn’t place your tiles on a special space. Click Undo on the Actions menu to undo your most recent play.

Making Words

When you complete a word, a tile in the completed word becomes stable if all the words it is part of are completed.

When you complete a word, you get 1 point for each letter in the word you made. And, if any of your tiles were made stable when completing the word, you get the word’s full value for each tile that was made stable by that play. If the tiles are owned by someone else, that player gets the points. Therefore, you can get points during other players’ turns.

Word Scoring Example

In this play, the yellow player, Madeline, makes the word STEM by adding the tiles E and M to the red tiles S and T.

Madeline gets 12 points total: 4 points for making a four-letter word, and 4 points for each of her letters that was made stable (E and M).

However, the red player, Matthew also gets 4 points for this play, because his unstable tile S was made stable by Madeline’s play.

Playing on Special Spaces

There are several different types of special spaces on the game board. These spaces can give you bonus points, set off bombs (or add them to your bomb tray to use later), block certain spaces (so they can’t be played), or, in the case of the mystery spaces, do unpredictable things.

You play on a special space by placing a tile on it as you usually would, except for blocking spaces, which simply block off certain spaces on the board, so no one can play tiles on them.

For a special space to take effect, you must make a legal play on it. For example, if you don’t make at least a partial word when placing a tile on a bonus point space, you won’t get the bonus points.

For a description of each of the special spaces, see “Special spaces on the DoubleCross board” later in this chapter.

Ending Your Turn

Click the Pass button when you are done playing tiles.

To get new tiles instead of playing, click the New Letters button at the start of your turn; your turn is passed to the next player. You can get new tiles on your turn only if you have not played any tiles in that turn, but you can play a directional bomb at the start of your turn and still get new tiles.

When your turn ends, your rack is refilled with new tiles, and the other players play their turns.

Ending the Game

The game is over when there are no more tiles left (an indicator at the upper-left corner of the screen shows how many remain) and a player has no more tiles at the start of his or her turn.

In addition, the game ends if no one plays during his or her turn and the last passing player chooses to end the game.

At the end of the game, points are deducted for tiles in your hand and for unstable tiles on the board. The player with the most points wins the game!

DoubleCross Rules

The following rules apply in DoubleCross:

• A word is considered complete when it has at least three letters. You can change the game to require at least four letters for a complete word by changing the Minimum Word Size in the DoubleCross Settings dialog box.

• You can make a partial word even if it is not possible to ever complete the word (for example, if the word is built near the edge of the board or if other tiles are in the way).

• Letters aren’t made stable until after any special spaces they are placed on take effect. Therefore, playing on a colored bomb might destroy a tile before it has a chance to become stable.
• Two different partial words can extend in two opposite directions from the same stable letter. In the next example, both OAD and DUE are partial words (ROAD and DUET, for example), but OADUE is not a partial word.

• When either of the words are completed, tiles on the other side of the stable letter are destroyed if they are no longer included in any partial words. In the example below, making ROAD will destroy both unstable tiles on the other side, because they aren’t used in other words.

• If a tile is placed next to a series of letters, all letters up to the first stable letter (and all adjacent stable letters) are required to be part of a word, but letters on the other side do not need to be included. In the following example, although the blue T is placed next to a long string of letters, only TH is required to be a word or partial word; the letters A, T, and E are ignored.

• Even though not all adjacent letters are required to be a word or partial word, if a word is created, it is made stable. In the next example, only RTS is required to be a word or partial word. However, because DARTS is a complete word, it is made stable.

DoubleCross scoring is described below. Note that plays made by other players can affect your score, and plays you make can give points to other players.

Action... Score...
Completing a word - - +1 point per letter in word
Stabilizing a tile in a word - - +full word score*
Playing on a colored bomb - - +8 points
Playing on your own colored bomb - - +16 points
Picking up a directional bomb** - - +2 points
Picking up a multi-directional bomb** - - +4 points
Having a letter blown up (by bombs or illegal plays) - - -4 points
Having tiles left in the rack at game end - - -4 points per tile
Having unstable tiles left on the board at game end - - -1 point per tile

*See the scoring example earlier in this chapter.
** You get points for directional bombs even if you don’t have any more room for them in your bomb tray.

Special Spaces on the DoubleCross Board

There are five types of special spaces that can be placed on the DoubleCross game board: bonus point spaces, mystery spaces, colored bombs, directional bombs, and blocking spaces. All of these spaces are optional and can be turned on and off in the DoubleCross game settings.

Bonus Point Spaces

Bonus point spaces give you bonus points when you play on them. Each space on the board starts out as +5 points.

When you play a tile on a bonus point space you immediately get the number of points shown on the space, and the value of each bonus point space remaining on the board is increased. (Bonus point spaces can be worth a lot of points near the end of the game!)

Mystery Spaces

Mystery spaces do unpredictable things. You never know what might happen when you land on a mystery space. The only way to find out is to try it!

Colored Bombs

Colored bombs are placed in the corners of the game board. There is at least one bomb of each player’s color in a game.

If you play on a colored bomb that is a different color than your own, all of the unstable tiles of the same color as the bomb are destroyed. In addition, any unstable orphaned tiles (tiles that are no longer connected to other letters) are destroyed, and the tiles’ owner or owners lose points for those tiles.

If you play on your own colored bomb, the bomb is considered defused and will not do anything; you will get points for defusing it, however.

Directional Bombs

A directional bomb can be placed on the board to destroy all unstable tiles in its path (indicated by its arrows). Tiles are destroyed regardless of color.

Directional bombs can be placed anywhere on the board, except on a blocking space.

There are three types of directional bombs:

The north-south bomb can be placed on a square of the board to destroy unstable tiles in the same column as that square.

The east-west bomb can be placed on a square of the board to destroy unstable tiles in the same row as that square.

The north-south-east-west (multi-directional) bomb can be placed on a square of the board to destroy unstable tiles in the same row and column as that square.

Directional bombs are different from bonus point spaces and colored bombs, because they don’t go off immediately. When you play on a directional bomb space, the bomb is moved to your rack, and you
get points for picking it up (4 points for a multi-directional bomb, 2 points for the other directional bombs.) If you already have two bombs, you don’t get any more bombs, but you still get points for playing on a bomb.

After a bomb destroys tiles, any orphaned tiles are destroyed, and points are deducted from the tiles’ owner or owners for each blown up tile.

Note on playing colored and directional bombs: Sometimes when tiles are destroyed, other tiles may be made stable. If the destruction of a tile causes another unstable tile to no longer be part of any partial words, it will become stable. The exception is when the tile is in the “line of fire” of the bomb’s explosion, in which case it will be destroyed even if the explosion of a previous tile would cause it to be made stable.

Note that the player who owns the tile will get appropriate points for the tile being made stable. Note, too, that it is possible to form a word by blowing up a tile. In this case, the player who placed the bomb gets the points for the word.

Blocking Spaces

Blocking spaces are spaces on the grid where no tiles can be placed. These spaces are dispersed randomly on the grid.

Strategies for DoubleCross

The key to doing well at DoubleCross is to make the longest possible words, using the fewest unstable tiles of your opponents (because using their tiles gives them points).

It’s also very important to get to the bonus point, mystery, and bomb spaces before your opponents do. Bonus point spaces are a great way to get points, and you don’t have to make a complete word to get the bonus points! Bombs, especially the colored ones, can devastate your opponents (and you).

Be sure to make as many complete words as possible when you play tiles, because unstable tiles can cost you points in the future.

The number of tiles remaining in the game is shown at the top of the screen. When the number of tiles is 30 or fewer, the game might end soon; try to play as many tiles to the board as possible (since unused tiles lose you points). Making complete words is best, but even partial words are helpful, because at the end of the game you lose more points for tiles in your hand than for unstable tiles on the board.

Notes on Playing Bombs

When playing on another player’s colored bomb, note that the bomb may orphan some of your unstable letters, destroying them. Know the consequences before playing on a colored bomb. When placing a directional bomb, maximize your opponent’s destruction, but minimize your own. Holding on to directional bombs until you need to clear tiles off the board can give you an important edge. Note that playing a directional bomb will cause remaining letters to stabilize if they make a complete word.
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