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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !
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|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2010)|
Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.
In simple terms, it is the use of out-of-game information or resources to affect one's in-game decisions.
The term metagame arose in mathematics as a descriptor for set interaction that governs subset interaction in certain cases. The term passed to military use and then to politics to describe actions or events that may have been originally thought of as outside the bounds of the situation in question, but that in fact play an important role in its outcome. For example, a specific military operation could be thought of as a game, with the political ramifications of that operation on the war in general as the metagame. Similarly, a specific political situation such as the passage of a law might be thought of as a game, with the metagame being the larger picture into which that law fits.
In this second example, a "game" might consist of the debate over passage of a law that does not have majority support. In the context of the game, the group supporting the law is going to lose. However, they may gain political capital simply from supporting the effort and forcing other individuals to oppose it, thus winning in the metagame of overall political conflict. Within the game context, it is unclear why effort would be expended on a losing struggle, but within the metagame context, the return on that effort becomes clear.
The term is also used to refer to a game with moves that consist of creating or modifying the rules of another game, the target or subject game, to maximize the utility of the resulting rule set. Thus, we could play a metagame of optimizing the rules of "chess-like" games to maximize the satisfaction of play, and perhaps arrive at the rules of standard chess as an optimum. This is related to mechanism design theory in which the metagame would be to create or make changes in the management rules or policy of an organization to maximize its effectiveness or profitability. Constitutional design can be seen as a metagame of assembling the provisions of a written constitution to optimize a balance of values such as justice, liberty, and security, with the constitution being the rules of the game of government that would result.
Within actual entertainment games, the term metagame is used to describe either a game system layered over the game system, to increase enjoyable complexity, or a game system by which game rules are created, such as Nomic. Nomic is a sophisticated and simple example of a metagame popular as a pastime among philosophers and mathematicians, but has also spread widely among other people as a recreational option. Some card games and board games allow dynamic rule changes depending on extraneous events, such as distinct states of weather or commercials on the television.
Another game-related use of Metagaming refers to operating on knowledge of the current strategic trends within a game. This usage is common in games that have large, organized play systems or tournament circuits and which feature customized decks of cards, sets of miniatures or other playing pieces for each player. Some examples of this kind of environment are tournament scenes for card games like Magic: The Gathering, or tabletop war-gaming such as Warhammer 40,000 or Flames of War.
Such metagaming could include compiling lists of what race or army choices are being used in a specific region or tournament scene, and tailoring your own army to fight the majority units, for example, knowing that Space Marine variant armies are the largest group of potential opponents, and modifying your own army with equipment which counters the strength of that majority force, or preys upon that majority group's weakness. By doing so, the player is metagaming, as they are attempting to improve their chances for victory by using information outside what will actually take place in a match.
Recently the term metagame has come to be misused by PC Gaming shoutcasters to describe an emergent methodology that is a subset of the basic strategy necessary to play the game at a high level. The definitions of this term are varied but can include "pre-game" theory, behavior prediction, or "ad hoc strategy" depending on the game being played. An example of this would be in StarCraft where a player's previous matches with the same opponent have given them insight into that player's playstyle and may cause them to make certain decisions which would otherwise seem inferior. Another example would be in the action RTS genre or Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne; where the metagame refers to the current playstyle and hero choices being favored by high level teams in recent competitive play.
In role-playing games, metagaming is a term often used to describe players' use of assumed characteristics of the game. In particular, metagaming often refers to having a character act on knowledge that only the player has access to (such as tricking a Medusa to stare at a mirror when the character has never even heard of Medusa and should not be aware of her petrifying stare). For instance, a player might adjust his character's actions if the player has some foreknowledge of the long-term intentions of the gamemaster, or, more commonly, the GM's tendency to have (or not to have) mercy on players whose characters do things that would cause them to fail at their objectives.