JetPunk Daily Word Search - Follow-up

+19

Today we look at how JetPunk's newest minigame has performed over its first 3 weeks, and more importantly we're looking for feedback from the community on it.

Recap of JetPunk's Daily Word Search

In case you've been living under a rock for 3 weeks, let me recap on what this is all about.

JetPunk Daily Word Search

Three weeks ago we introduced a brand new minigame, this provided a word search puzzle that was the same for everybody. A new puzzle is available every single day, hand crafted by yours truly. Each day comes with a different theme, they are:

DayTheme
Monday"Easy Monday" - smaller grids, easier words, nothing backwards (may have a theme sometimes)
Tuesday"Countries Tuesday" - only countries of the world in the grid
Wednesday"Wordy Wednesday" - random words with no semantic theme
Thursday"Capitals Thursday" - only capitals of countries in the grid
Friday"Fresh Friday" - a brand new theme each friday, never repeated (within the past 6 months)
Saturday"Hidden Saturday" - countries in the grid, but no word list and no number of words to find, you have to click "Done?" when you think you've found them all
Sunday"Cryptic Sunday" - instead of words we provide clues to the words, in a twist of Crossword meets Word Search
Now, of course these themes are not necessarily set in stone. They are the ones I came up with when I first released this minigame, but they are subject to change based on your feedback - more on that later.

Now I'll show you an example:

The very first JetPunk Word Search

JetPunk Word Search #1

To many of you, this may be a rare sight! In fact, since the first is impossible to play again, I suspect many reading this would not have played this grid.

This is how we started, a simple grid with a list of words provided at the bottom. As mentioned above, the format is different for Saturday, whereby the list is not visible, and also for Sunday, where clues are provided instead of words.

Below are some examples of what other days of the week look like as well, I've also filled in some words so you can see how that looks. Personally, on the visual side, I think it's quite intuitive. You select words by either dragging from start to finish, or by clicking the start letter and clicking the end letter.

Below you can see puzzles #2, #5 and #6.

The first showcases how the dragging motion words, with some examples of the words present that day.

The second shows what Saturday's looks like, as you can see there is a green "Done?" button which indicates you need to submit your score when you think you've found all the words.

The last image shows how clues work on a Sunday, specifically that the clues provide a cryptic clue, the length of the word and also cross themselves out when you find the word.

JetPunk Daily Word Search #2
JetPunk Daily Word Search #5
JetPunk Daily Word Search #6

Word Search Stats

Now we've gone over the basics, let's take a look at the stats!

First and foremost, something unrelated to Word Search, but the prominent placing of the Dark Mode option on Word Search has resulted in Dark Mode usage doubling in the past month! This is measured by quizzes taken by day using Dark Mode, which is now up to 2.8% average.

Next, some quickfire stats!

  • All 21 word searches have been played over 45,000 times in total so far.
  • Currently, logged-in users represent 68.1% of all takes.
  • 84.2% of all takes were submitted before the end of the day.
  • Over 13,000 unique people have played a single word search.
  • So far 74 people have completed the word search every single day.
  • Over 2,000 people have played at least 7 word searches.
  • Last week 17,000 takes accrued, 570 people played all 7 word searches, and 7,000 people played at least 1.
  • The first person to complete the word search each day has been a different person every single day, except overtired, who has managed to be the first person twice!
  • The hardest word search so far was #13 (a Sunday) where only 61% of people completed the grid.
  • The most-taken word search so far was #15 with over 2,800 takes!

Alright that's probably enough quickfire stats for today.

The Current Themes

So, here's my thoughts on the current themes. So far, the unique themes have been quite varied, and I've been quite proud of them. So far we've had:

#4 - Red Things

#11 - Musical Instruments

#14 - Valentine's Day

#16 - 4 letter words

#18 - Outer Space

#21 - Palindromes

I have received very positive feedback from others that they enjoy these unique themes, as they switch it up and give something fresh for the user.

Then we get to the weekly themes, it is clear that the most popular (by takes) is Countries Tuesday, followed by Wordy Wednesday. Capitals Thursday and Easy Monday follow close behind those. However, takes are not necessarily the best indicator, as some have mentioned that they find midweek "boring" or "easy", despite my attempts to switch up the difficultly and the themes a bit. This is where I am looking for community feedback the most, whilst remembering that you, as a JetPunker, are "above average" when it comes to ability.

In fact, in the very early days of Word Search (on the easiest one we had) I had some users complain at me very vocally that Word Search was a waste of space because they were far too easy and completely boring.

What they didn't realise is that it was Easy Monday, it's in the name! Plus, they were a hardcore JetPunker and so likely found these puzzles much easier than the general public.

Anyway, for weekday puzzles, the suggestion I would be making is to change Capitals Thursday to simply "Geography Thursday", this allows for more general extrapolation, for example to use U.S. States, State Capitals, English Counties, Lakes, Rivers etc...

Now we get to the weekend. After ironing out the minor kinks in the first couple weeks, it seems many really enjoy the challenge of a Saturday, despite the stress it induces if you're not sure you've found them all. I was wondering if there's any appetite to change the behaviour here, I've already modified it so you now see where missing words were after you submit, but is that enough?

Finally that brings us to Sunday, which appears to be many people's favourite day of the week. The challenge of getting clues instead of words adds another dimension, especially when additional words are snuck into the grid, despite not being the answers to any clues!

Feedback, Suggestions, Improvements

Finally, this is where you come in!

Please let me know below of any feedback (good or bad), suggestions or improvements you have for Word Search. I will note though, there is no guarantee your suggestions will be implemented, but I will respond to anything serious with reasons why I think it should / should not be done.

Remember that, even if you have no suggestions, positive feedback is very welcome! Often people only mentions "problems" or "suggestions" and it skews the overall feedback because positive feedback is often unspoken.

Some suggestions which are impossible due to the way Word Search is set up right now, so please don't suggest them:

  • The ability to "replay" the current day's word search.
  • The ability to play previous day's word searches.
  • User-created word searches.
  • Live competitions.
  • A "timer" of any sorts, since we can't track time between sessions on the same word search.

Some suggestions which will not happen, not due to technical reasons:

  • Comments on the word search page.
+8
Level 71
Feb 21, 2022
Awesome! I love this new minigame, especially the harder ones. If possible, I'd love to see a possibility of hiding the words one has to guess cause that would make it more challenging. Cheers!
+2
Level 68
Feb 21, 2022
This is definitely a possibility to add some challenge for those who wish it. It would have to be an option though, not enforced (as that's already done by Saturday). And of course you'd expect some words "not to work" because they may not be in the given list. I'll see how this could be done.
+4
Level 66
Feb 21, 2022
If only I was one of those 74 people

Anyways, it was very interesting to see the data behind the new mini-game

+2
Level 68
Feb 21, 2022
I don't actually know who they are! I could probably find out, although a list of 74 would be very long... Perhaps when it gets below 10 I could make a blog on them
+1
Level 55
Feb 21, 2022
i tried to be one of those people, but its hard to remember to do them on the weekends since there isn't much making you bored and being forced to rely on JetPunk for entertainment lol. I have regrets but at least I managed to do 18/21 of them :)
+2
Level 73
Feb 22, 2022
I'm one of them :D

I have a whole folder in my bookmarks for daily games like wordle just so I wouldn't ever forget c:

+1
Level 59
Feb 21, 2022
How about the once a month voting for the theme thing (not trying to press it or anything, if you don’t like it that’s fine)
+3
Level 68
Feb 21, 2022
That's a good idea. Perhaps the first Friday of every month. I think this would work best by me suggesting 4 themes in a blog, and then people vote for them. Rather than custom entires which could get out of hand. Maybe also a promise that the other 3 themes will not be used in the near future? I'll have a think, could be quite a nice way to involve the community!
+1
Level 59
Feb 21, 2022
That’s what I meant, custom entries would be pretty chaotic and probably end up with a lot of ties.
+1
Level 59
Feb 21, 2022
You could suggest the themes in the Minigame Stats Chart - it would draw attention to charts as well!
+2
Level 41
Feb 21, 2022
I noticed that on most of the word searches, there was a word that went from the top-left corner to the bottom-right corner.
+1
Level 68
Feb 21, 2022
Yeah, so I always try to add a word of maximum length to the grid, and often doing diagonal ends up most beneficial for having lots of intersections
+7
Level 82
Feb 21, 2022
Sundays are probably my favourite. They're a great balance between not being given the exact words but also knowing when you're done.

Saturdays are also great but I find once a week is enough for all the double checking to make sure you've not missed anything! I wonder if giving the number of words (but not what they are) would be popular on that one? Curious how other people feel.

If not then perhaps if you implement Gassu's great suggestion of an option to hide the words on weekdays, then the quiz should finish when you've got them all vs having a done button. I'd definitely like that mode if available, and Saturday would still be unique. (I was thinking that the palindrome one in particular would have worked great as a hidden word round as you're searching for patterns as well as words!)

All are fun though and the variety of subjects and difficulties is great. I've definitely appreciated easy days as well as harder ones. Thanks for all your work making them!

+2
Level 55
Feb 21, 2022
The number of words would be immensely helpful!
+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
Thanks overtired!

The number of words being shown on Saturday I'd be reluctant to do, since then the whole concept of a "Done?" button is irrelevant, and such Saturday becomes much easier.

Glad you enjoy Sunday's though!

+3
Level 66
Feb 21, 2022
I'd personally would like to see different shapes, like Hexagonal or triangular cells/grids. Not sure how hard it would be to create, but it does add another difficulty to those that complain the word searches are too easy.
+3
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
Now that is a very interesting idea! It would require a lot of work (since everything currently assumes squares), but for a late-future idea it's an intriguing one. Thanks
+1
Level 55
Feb 21, 2022
I have sort of figured out a way to make a word search for a quiz, although some flaws. I'm not asking for user-created word searches, just permission to make it ig since you came up with the idea for ws in JetPunk in the first place lol
+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
Well there are already Word Search quizzes (made by me almost 5 years ago now), but they require typing in the answer. I don't see how you could replicate this behaviour, but if you want to try go ahead.
+1
Level 42
Feb 21, 2022
These are the reasons we love this site!

On the quickfire data: How many users have currently the biggest streak? Or JetPunk don’t have these data?

+2
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
I already said this: 74 users had completed all 21 word searches, thus all have the biggest streak of 21.
+1
Level 42
Feb 22, 2022
Oh
+1
Level 68
Feb 27, 2022
To add to this, currently (as of #26) 9 users have 100% on the score as well.
+2
Level 66
Feb 21, 2022
suggestions:

- use pictures as hints

- allow answers with overlapping letters, e.g. Somalia and Mali

- options to display the number of answers left (Saturday quiz is really hard)

- the leftover letters can form a word that is the final answer to the quiz

+2
Level 59
Feb 21, 2022
2 would be too confusing imo
+2
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
Pictures as hints is a very very good idea - perhaps I could look into making that a "day" of itself :)

Answers with overlapping letters are already possible, but I generally avoid them because they can cause confusion for people. However, these only account for "embedded" answers like Mali and Somalia. It would not allow things like Mali and Lima, since those kinds of overlaps are illegal in word searches.

An option to make Saturday easier might be interesting, but as I said to overtired above, I feel like that makes Saturday go from really hard to too easy (since now there's no risk in submitting early). If there's appetite to change Saturday's in general though, it's something we could look at.

The leftovers are not always possible to achieve. For example, #20 had no letter leftover, but #18 had like 15 letters left over, which then becomes too challenging to rearrange all those. I like to leave a hidden message in the leftovers (when I remember), but I think only as an afterthought

+6
Level 63
Feb 21, 2022
I've enjoyed the puzzles, and love the variety! Saturday is particularly fun with the absence of a word list. It's always fun to click the "Done" button, hoping that I've found everything. So far, so lucky! I actually don't look at the word list on any of the puzzles, for a personal challenge, though I've had to peek a couple of times when stuck at the end.

I'm not convinced Jetpunkers are above average when it comes to solving wordfinds [knowing countries of the world? sure!] or that there's a 'general public' that finds them harder in contrast. That's not to say certain words aren't trickier to find than others, or that some can't find them quicker than others. But with a given list, the notion of 'ability' in wordfinds is questionable. Compare sudoku or crosswords, which require sophisticated logic or special knowledge.

These are musings, not complaints, and I'm not implying you change anything. The minigame is a great addition to the site. :-)

+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
Yes I should clarify by "difficulty" in this context I am referring to purely time taken and attention given. Someone who struggles to find words is often slower and thus likely to give up earlier. Given enough time and forcing them to do it, they would eventually find everything.

I disagree that there's no "ability" in word searches, because there's definitely "strategies" that you can use (and people generally don't think of doing) but also some people find it easier to visualise in their heads the words. I.e. those that find them difficult would struggle to "read" a word from the grid easily, since there's a lot of letters clumped together. (These are generally the same people who struggle with word scrambles from my experience).

You're right that they're not to the same caliber of Sudoku or Crossword though.

Glad you've enjoyed them so far!

+1
Level 68
Feb 21, 2022
I'm a great fan of Word Search! I have a question though. The 74 users you mentioned have scored perfect scores in all the word searches or not? If not, then I'm surely one of them. The last one (#21) was the fastest I could ever do and also the easiest!

My suggestions:

1. All-time stats like featured in other games and not just the recent stats.

2. A specific button which would show you the words you missed for Saturdays and Sundays on the next day.

That's all I can think. If my school hadn't started, I would surely have become the first user to complete at least one or two word searches of the day. :)

+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
You're correct, those 74 have completed all 21 word searches, but not necessarily gotten all the words. I'll have to do a bit more research into how many words people have found.

I can look into making a way to see all stats not just recent ones, this would be limited to the current user, not global ones though, due to speed issues.

Not sure on (2), we couldn't show previous days in entirety, because this has problems scoring wise. Currently, Saturday's show all the words you missed after you click "Done?".

+1
Level 68
Feb 27, 2022
To update, as of puzzle #26 9 users have a 100% score on the words found.
+4
Level 70
Feb 22, 2022
Future theme idea: California

Totally not biased and not playing favoritism here

+2
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
Surprised you didn't suggest Jefferson instead :)
+1
Level 60
Feb 22, 2022
How 'bout Tasmania?
+1
Level 75
Feb 22, 2022
I have tried to take every wordsearch, not sure if I have if I'm honest, but it is the first thing I usually do when I open the JetPunk page.( just done today's 22/2/22. and it seems I've done 20 so far, so missed a couple ah well)

First thing is check messages, then the wordsearch, then RUB etc.

The only issue I have is with the Saturday edition.

Not having the words or even the number of words is fine, however after I have clicked "Done" it would be good to see which, if any, words I have missed. I think you may have addressed this , so I will wait til this Saturday to see how it goes.

Great addition to the site btw !

+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
This should have been addressed last week, meaning the most recent Saturday should have seen this affect. However, there was a minor issue in the morning that prevented this from happening, so it may not have appeared for anybody who completed the word search early.

Glad you've enjoyed it though!

+2
Level 75
Feb 22, 2022
I managed to get them all last Saturday, thats probably why I didn't notice ;)
+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
I'll make it short: I love taking these grids every day and plan to do so for as long as possible.

My feedback:

1- I appreciate the variety of themes you offer us. Keep it up and it's perfect!

2- Instead of a Done button, Saturday grids could automatically end when all words are found or display the number of words left to find. I think both could work even though my heart goes to the 2nd possibility. That would make these grids a little easier and less stressful.

Would it be possible to know how many users have lost their strike because of these Saturdays grid?

3- Thank you for this amazing feature and congrats to the 74 peoples that have completed all the grids!

+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
To be clear: streaks are attempted puzzles not 100% puzzles. So if you don't find all the words one day, you do not lose your streak.

1) Thanks! I'm trying my best to provide variety

2) The issue is I think this just makes Saturday too easy, since if I add Gassu's suggestion above, then Saturday would become absolutely no different for many people. I would be interested to completely change Saturday's, but making them the same as other days is not what I'd like to do. I agree though that high-stress is not necessarily the emotion I want people to endure.

3) Thank you! :)

+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
I thought not finding 100% words would lose the streak... Whatever :D Glad you clarified that!
+2
Level 73
Feb 22, 2022
Stress is the part where the fun is at
+1
Level 63
Feb 22, 2022
For the Saturday puzzle, it could be fun to indicate the starting letters in the grid. They could be shaded, have a circle around them, or even be invisible! That way, you'd know a word (or words) starts at this letter, but you'd still have to figure out what it is. This wouldn't necessarily turn it from difficult into too easy, because multiple words could start from the same letter (like Chad and Costa Rica in today's puzzle), so there'd still be a risk in clicking the 'Done' button.
+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
I understand that the 2 suggestions I made just above would tend to make the grid too easy. Your idea at the same time gives clues without making the game as simple as those on other days of the week. It seems like an interesting compromise!
+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
I suppose the issue is this then reveals if there are any words left.

Unless, perhaps you have a list of starting letters that doesn't remove them as you go. Then you don't know if you've found all the Cs for example

+1
Level 63
Feb 22, 2022
Yes, that's what I was thinking. The initial letters would stay highlighted/circled throughout the solve. It would be a guide, but you wouldn't know for sure when the puzzle was complete.
+3
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
I like this idea the best for Saturdays so far. Maybe I'll trial it one Saturday to see what people think. It should be a fairly easy thing to trial and remove if people don't like it :)
+1
Level 71
Feb 22, 2022
The word searches have been awesome so far! As many people have been saying, Sunday has been my favorite too.

In terms of feedback, I agree that Tuesday could be a bit more diverse. We already have only countries on Hidden Saturday, and so it feels like the two days are themed pretty similarly. Expanding Tuesday to just general geography would be nice.

In terms of other possible puzzles, I think it would be cool to have hidden themes. For example, you could have things like "Fuji," "Sushi," "Yen," etc. as the words. The theme here would be "Japan" but you wouldn't explicitly say it's Japan--that would be an extra word hidden in the grid that you need to find. I think that would add a bit more of a puzzle element to it. I think that would especially work well if you want to theme some puzzles around specific countries (or as Flabber mentioned, states).

+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by the last part of hidden themes, could you elaborate?
+1
Level 71
Feb 22, 2022
Ok, going back to the Japan example, let's say there are 15 Japan-themed words that are all given in the area beneath the grid, the way it is every day (except Saturday). However, there are actually 16 words of interest hidden in the puzzle. The 16th word is the theme of the puzzle, which would be Japan. The puzzle's theme wouldn't be stated explicitly, but you would be able to figure it out based on the other 15 words. Finding the given words + the theme word allow you to complete the puzzle.

Does this make more sense now? If it's too confusing that's understandable, just thought it would be an interesting concept to potentially add.

+2
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
Oh! So like a mystery theme... where the theme itself is an answer, perhaps denoted by ??? in the word list. I like that! I'm not sure whether doing it weekly would be too much, but a one-off on a Friday for example could be a fun idea. Thanks :)
+1
Level 71
Feb 22, 2022
Yep, no problem! If you end up using this idea, I look forward to seeing it :)
+1
Level 71
Feb 22, 2022
I apologize if someone already commented about this or it actually is a feature and I haven't noticed, but it would be nice to be able to see all my stats or at least stats that go back further than 5 days.

That is all. Thanks for all your work and desire to get our feedback about this fun minigame!

+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
Already suggested, but good to know it's highly requested!
+1
Level 55
Feb 22, 2022
I think it is kind of annoying how all of the difficult word searches and most unique ones are on the weekends, when a lot of the time I am unable to do them.
+1
Level 68
Feb 22, 2022
This is because they were originally seen as risky, so I did them on weekends when less people are on JetPunk.

But also, I'd argue for the majority of people, they have more time on weekends, which works well for the current state of Saturday and Sunday

+1
Level 68
Mar 27, 2022
Do you plan to give us updated quickfire stats in a next blog entry? I wonder how this is all going after one more month :)
+1
Level 68
Mar 27, 2022
Yep. Sure do!