Thursday, 29 January 2009

More Facebook Scramble graphs

Hi, after the other day's thrilling coverage of my successes with Facebook's Scramble game, I thought I'd play a bit more, get some more data and churn out a few more graphs.

Facebook Scramble stats 01

This graph neatly shows the spread of the highest possible scores when you're playing on 5x5 grids. So usually you can get a maximum of 1400 points and very occasionally you can get 2000 or so. I'm not going to rule out a 3000 point grid, but its very unlikely.

So with all these potential points up for grabs, how do I do?

Facebook Scramble stats 02

Looks like I most often get around 80 and 90 points, or less. But occasionally I'm on fire and beat 150. This is rare, but not impossible.

So how come I'm occasionally on fire? Do my neurons just click sometimes, or is it cos the board is a high scoring board, and I just do as well as usual? Lets have a look...

Facebook Scramble stats 03

Its kind of a normal distribution, I get around 8% of the highest score possible. Sometimes more, sometimes up to 12% of the total available, but never like 20% or 30%, that's crazy talk. Its more of a balanced spread with the percentages than it is with the actual scores.

My high score as it stands is 167, but going by these graphs, maybe if I got a good board worth 2000 points and I was on fire and got 12%, then the highest theoretical score I got get without cheating is 240.

Hmm, warm fuzzy feelings of success. I just have to keep playing and one day, my luck will turn.

Or will it?

Take a look at this graph of acheived score against highest possible score

Facebook Scramble stats 04

Look, Excel has put a trend line in for me, so I can see that for higher scoring boards I score generally higher. Thank you Excel. But really its more of just a random swarm of scores with no correlation to the highest possible. I don't generally get less than 60 points, but when I get a low score, that has little to do with the highest possible score, and likewise, my highest scores don't usually come on the highest scoring grids.

Here, this graph terrifies me:-

Facebook Scramble stats 05

As the highest possible score for a grid rises, the percentage of available points I get gets lower. Sure this graph is a bit of a random swarm of killer bees, but you can see it goes downwards. The highest percentages come with the low score grids and the lowest percentages come with the high score grids.

Maybe its not just chance that's causing me to be so crap compared to wimmin with large vocabularies. There was a wee nagging thing at the back of my head, maybe I'm not typing fast enough, I'm running out of time. That would kind of explain the last graph. If I'm just finding and typing words at a constant rate then the better percentages would come on lower scoring boards.

Am I actually just typing all of this with a rod taped to my forehead? It would explain so much.

Rightio, how does any of this help?

Well, it doesn't really apart from proving that the quality of the grid has little to do with my success, and that I'm like a ninja when it comes to Excel graphs, at the expense of being a bit autistic when it comes to scribbling down numbers.

Now where?

Well, you get more points for longer words.
3 letters - 1 point
4 letters - 2 points
5 letters - 4 points
6 letters - 6 points
7 letters - 9 points
8 letters - 12 points
11 letters - 24 points

'Retirements' for gods sake, 'retirements'. Its an efficiency thing. This we already knew, its just its hard to resist. You've got some easy three letterers, so you go for them, completely ignoring the fact that 'retirements' saves you two hundred an odd keypresses.

So my new strategy to slay the competition is to never do three or four letter words. Its an efficiency thing, and those little bastards are wasting your time and my time.

Its like trying to drum up immense traffic to this website by writing popular articles in the hope that google adverts will pay out a couple of pence, when what I could really do with is more modest traffic buying my Shag Times book that's for sale at the bottom of the page for a few quid.

Its a recession, its an efficiency thing.


  1. I obviously have way too much time on my hands that I not only care about a game like scramble but actually read and respond to you blog. Anyway, I am interested in your observations. I have found that I do not score better with the 5x5 board compared to the 4x4 board. My high score using the 4x4 is 183. I would be really interested to see what top scores are from all players. My theory is that while a computer playing the game would have a close correlation between its score and the size of the grid and the number of potential words on the grid, for a human player there are other factors. If a certain 5x5 board has a potential top score of 500 and a 4x4 board has the same, it is obviously easier for a human player to score a bigger percentage of the total on the 4x4, since there are fewer extraneous letters between the words. For a robot it would not make any difference. If the average potential score on 5x5 is say 500, then the average potential score on 4x4 should be 16/25 times that, i.e.,320. But, as I discussed, you can expect to find a bigger percentage of the 320 than of the 500. My experience is that I actually do better on the 4x4 than on the 5x5.

    What seems to make the most difference is if a given board has the letters s, e, r, and d next to each other. That way if you find a verb, say "walk," you can immediately make walk, walks, walked, and walker. If you have the letters ing in the same area of the board, then even better. Then if there are combinations such as str nearby, which act as a unit to form many words, that combined with the suffixes, allows really high scores. So my strategy is to look for boards that have both of these, together with a high potential score. If you just look for those boards, it is pretty easy to score over 100 points and even over 150. I would really like to know if there are people out there who have scored over 200 on the 4x4 board and, if so, what their strategy is.

  2. ok, so yes this is completely obscure and random, but I googled "Highest scramble facebook score" and your blog was one of the top results. I was wondering what the highest you've seen posted so far? I torched one 4x4 board for 303 points. Just wondering if anyone out there has topped it. Then again, you posted this three weeks ago. Who knows if you'll even see it.

  3. 303! that's incredible. i was excited when i set my new high score at 199 this week.. as david stated, i had all the good letters near each other - e, r, d, s, t... was typing out 6 letter words as fast as my hands could go and was still seeing words well after time had expired.

  4. I've seen a 5x5 board with a possible score of 3,500. Unfortunately it was overwhelming and I didn't do all that well on it (only 180 or so).

  5. I just got 606 on a 5x5 board. Top score on a 4x4 was 575. I type fast and know quite a few words from playing Scrabble, but both boards were obviously chock full of combinations like REROUTE, REROUTED, REROUTES, DOTERS, DOTER, DOTES, etc. I worked out I got 140 words in the 606. There are some better players out there, though - there are quite a few in the live rooms who leave me standing every time. I've heard of scores as high as 800.