How to Play WOF (click here to get right to the actual game instructions)

     WOF is a word game, the object of which is to outscore your two opponents in a turn-based game of guessing letters in a word or multi-word phrase. A random element shakes things up by making some turns more valuable than others, and yet other turns worthless or even worse; will you have the combination of board dominance (via word knowledge) as well as sheer instinct that enables you to come out on top?

Of course, astute readers will have recognized this synopsis to be essentially the format of the game show Wheel of Fortune (r) and its translations. You may have already witnessed this practice, of upstart projects here at SourceForge effectively describing something popular in terms that make it seem a lot more alien than it really is, just because they want to steer clear of any chance of pulling the wrong string only to find out there's an 800-pound gorilla on the other end, wielding a trademark lawsuit. If not, then you have now.

So anyway, WOF (officially, the game name is in all uppercase but the letters don't stand for anything). It's played online, between 3 willing players, using Internet Relay Chat (IRC) as the medium. I personally see to games being hosted on four networks; if you don't already have an IRC-capable client, get one (I like XChat--click here for a Windows version) and then you're ready to connect to one of the following:

irc.surrealchat.net
irc.freenode.net
irc.globalgamers.net
In each of these three networks:

Even if you don't have a standalone IRC client and don't want to download one, the "Play Now!" link at the top of the page will let you take part in a game, using the first of the listed networks, from within the confines of your browser! Unfortunately, because of the way WOF works as of the current version (1.27.04), starting a game in one network immediately prevents games from taking place in the other networks served by the same client, and the users therein may have no way of knowing why. This behavior may be alleviated in a far-off future version, or at least I may rig up a system that lets me put an image here that tells if there's a game in progress or not. If you'd like to host your own WOF server, see the Game Hosts page.

Instructions

OUTSIDE THE GAME

!newgame - a request to start a game of WOF
!join - a declaration of interest to join a requested game
!unjoin - a deparature notice, removing your name from the list of interested players
!wofstats - view the all-time stats for a given player

DURING THE GAME

!audience - a declaration of interest to lighten up the atmosphere and allow spectators to talk

TOSSUP PUZZLES

WOF has support for tossup puzzles, where letters in random positions of the puzzle are filled in, one at a time. In the configuration on display, letters come at 5-second intervals; reducing the interval much further is likely to run into the IRC server's "excess flood" detector, or even create a significant amount of client-side lag. Anyway, once you've seen enough of the puzzle that you think you have the answer...

!solve - an attempt to solve a WOF puzzle

ROUNDS

The bulk of the game of WOF takes place in rounds. Depending on the game configuration, the first player to start a given round will depend on the most recent player who solved a toss-up correctly, or on random selection. During a player's turn, that player may call any of the following:

!solve - as above
!spin - a spin of the wheel
!buy - a call to buy a vowel
!letters - a check of the remaining letters
!puzzle - a glance at the puzzle
!score - a recap of everyone's total bank
!rscore - a recap of everyone's round score

DELINQUENCY STRIKES: Because the Internet is a limited means of long-distance communication, you can't really keep tabs on who's actively paying attention to the game and who's not. If someone's not paying attention (or possibly even if their connection gives out and they get disconnected from the server), there isn't really much I can do to force them to do so, but what I can do is move the game along without them. If you don't call any game-related actions for 2 minutes after the start of your turn, or 1 minute after you call a correct letter and get to continue your turn, you will receive a strike and forcefully lose your turn. No, we're not going to wait 15 more seconds for a free spin inquiry to time out even if you have one of those. If it happens a second time in the same game, you get disqualified, losing all your turns for the rest of the game even if you come back. So try to avoid that. Note that if you get disconnected and have to rejoin, you will receive a +v if the game is moderated, and you'll be informed that it's your turn upon entering if it is in fact such. That's probably a hint for you to get caught back up by using !puzzle and !letters.

PRIZE PUZZLES: WOF configurations can nominate one of a given number of rounds as a "Prize Puzzle". If and when the game gets to that round, it will be announced as such at the start of the round, and whoever solves the puzzle will score a prize worth a good chunk of WOF money, in addition to anything else they picked up in the round.

SUPPLEMENT PUZZLES: Some puzzles will have supplements, and can typically be recognized by categories such as "WHAT IS IT?" If you solve such a puzzle, you get a chance to earn $3,000 afterwards (or some other amount if the configuration is set up differently), simply by providing the answer to the question that the puzzle is alluding to. You get 20 seconds to provide your answer, and--at least for now--can make any number of guesses within that time. This behavior may change in a future update.

THE BELL/FINAL ROUND At some point in the game, the bell will ring. I have the current configuration set to ring no earlier than the start of round 4, no later than the start of round 6, and otherwise it rings at the first spin/buy/solve prompt that occurs at least 20 minutes after the game started, as long as there are any consonants left.

BONUS PUZZLE

Future Roadmap/Suggestions

Any other ideas? Send them to me!