Gobble, a word game


This is a game in which one or more players search a grid full of letters (and the “Qu” pair, which always occupies a single cell) for as many words as they can. It is also available commercially as a tabletop game, by certain other names (at least some of them trademarked).

Words are found in the grid by searching from each letter to each adjoining letter in any combination of the eight compass directions, bounded by the edge of the board (no wrapping around). For example, if the upper-left four squares spell out “S O/P T”, that spells SPOT (S, south to P, northeast to O, south again to T), POTS (P, northeast to O, south to T, northwest to S), POT, STOP (S, southeast to T, north to O, southwest to P), TOP, and TOPS. Words must be three or more letters and can't spell a proper noun, multi-word phrase, or hyphenated compound.

A letter can't be used more than once in the same word. For example, GLASS requires two adjacent S's, and if you only have two S's, you can't make GLASSES. You can, however, use each letter in as many different words as you like; for example, you could claim both GLASS and LASS.

Every board is uniquely identified by a four-word phrase, called a keyphrase, that can be entered into the form at the top to reproduce that board. You can send the keyphrase to other people to play that board for people who aren't in the same physical space as you to play with you.

When you play with other people, you're competing to find the most and longest words within a time limit. After time expires, the player who found the fewest words goes first, and reads off their list. Other players cross off those words from their own list by unchecking them. The player with the next highest number of words goes next, and reads off their words. Each player's score includes only the words found by that player alone, not by any others; you can achieve this either by having every player read off every word, or by having each player verbally acknowledge when they also have a word.

Scoring is by adding up the number of letters in each of your words. “Qu” is counted as two letters. In a 4-by-4 game, the minimum word length is three letters; in a 5-by-5 or 6-by-6, it's four letters. A word of minimum length is worth 1 point; a word with one more letter is 2 points; a word with two more letters is 3 points; and so on. Whosoever ends up with the most points wins.

PROTIP: Remember to look for plurals, past-tenses, adverbs, and other prefixed and suffixed forms!


This implementation is by Peter Hosey. Its home is https://boredzo.org/gobble/ .

It uses seedrandom.js by David Bau, under its MIT license.

The word list (used only for keyphrases, not for any sort of checking of player word discoveries) is based on EFF's “large” word list for random passphrases.