Friday, 20 April 2018

LTH Interactive Board Guide

Lucksack Tournament Helper

Interactive Board : Guide

 
 
This is the screen you will see when you open the Interactive Board.
 
Now, there are a lot of interactive elements in this app so let's take a look through.
 
The buttons at the top, from left to right do the following.
 
BACK (RED ARROW) : Returns back to the main menu, resetting the board in the process.
 
SAVE (BLUE DISC) : Allows you to save the current board position
 
LOAD (PINK DISC) : Displays the list of saved boards and allows you to load and delete.
 
FREE FORM : Switches the board to freeform mode. In freeform mode, you can just anyhow place tiles on the board.
 
BOARD EDITOR (BOARD AND PENCIL) : Opens up the board editor.
 
SETTINGS (GEAR) : Opens up the settings menu, same as all other apps.
 
START GAME : Starts a game, switching the board to game mode
 
TILE EDITOR (ABC AND PENCIL) : Opens up the tile editor
 
RULE EDITOR (RULE BOOK AND PENCIL) : Opens up the rule editor
 
ANALYSE : Generates a list of moves ranked by score and leave.
 
 
As for the buttons in the bottom panel,
 
PREVIOUS MOVE : Displays the previous move
 
NEXT MOVE : Displays the next move
 
PASS : Passes the turn
 
SWAP TILES : Initiates a tile exchange
 
RECALL : Recalls tiles back to the rack
 
SHUFFLE : Shuffles the rack
 
REVEAL : Reveals tiles on the rack
 
PLAY : Commits a move as the end of the turn.
 
Scroll to the right of the board to find the SCORESHEET.
 
Scroll to the south of the board to find the TILE TRACKER.
 
 

These are just the basic descriptions of the buttons, but let's run through how everything works as well.

 
PASS AND PLAY CASUAL
 
To just casually play a round, you don't really have to do anything at all. Just play normally.
 
1) Take tiles from your rack and place them onto the board. Once satisfied, hit the PLAY button to commit.
 
If the move is valid, the turn will pass over to your opponent. The rack will be HIDDEN, so as to prevent you from seeing your opponent's rack. You can safely pass over the phone and your opponent can hit the REVEAL button to continue with his/her turn.
 
Or if you like suspense, you can also tap on covered tiles to reveal them one by one while you repeatedly shout "Marlon".
 
2) To exchange, simply hit the SWAP TILES button. If an exchange is possible, the SWAP TILES button will darken.
 
Click on tiles to place a red mark on them. Click again to remove the mark.
 
Click on PLAY to commit the exchange, or SWAP TILES again to cancel the exchange.
 
3) Note that if you scroll down, you can see the TILE TRACKER. The total number of tiles left in the bag is displayed above the board, on the left side.
 
4) If you scroll right, you can see the scoresheet. But do note that the scoresheet records racks.
 
 
PASS AND PLAY COMPETITIVE
 
If you click on the START GAME button, you can basically play a proper game. The rules for the game can be configured in the RULE EDITOR, the most important of which would be time controls and the challenge rule.
 
So yes, this can be used to play a TIMED, CHALLENGE compatible game.
 
Most of the upper panel buttons will lock if a game is active, as will the scoresheet and tile tracker.
 
The START GAME button will change to a STOP GAME button if a game is active. Hit that to end the game.
 
 
 
A tile tracker is provided for use below the board. The number of tiles left in the bag is displayed next to the START GAME button. Its that little "86" in this picture.

BUILDING A GAME

 
 
You can find the scoresheet to the right of the board. The scoresheet will maintain the racks of both players, the moves played (including the grid) and keeps records of the state of the board at each turn. The light green hue indicates that this is the current move.
 
You can use the scoresheet to recreate a game from scratch.
 
To do so, you'll have to first flip the EDITABLE switch to "YES".
 
And then click on the first row twice.
 
 
Click it once and it will turn yellow, indicating that the indicated turn has been relayed to the board.
 
 
 
Click it again, and it will turn bright green, allowing the values inside to be edited.
 
Now you can proceed to edit the values on the column. Note that while a row is selected, The LOWER PANEL BUTTONS are locked out, except for the PLAY button.
 
You type in the rack, square/grid (Horizontal starts with number, vertical starts with letter) and move (score not necessary unless you need to add +5 for a challenge), and then hit the PLAY button to confirm your edits.
 
If everything is good to go, the move will be accepted and relayed to the board. Hit PLAY again to advance the turn.
 
Rinse and repeat until the full board is built.
 
Alternatively, you can just type in only the rack, hit PLAY and then make your move by placing tiles before hitting PLAY again.
 
AMENDING
 
A very real possiblity is making a mistake somewhere along the way and only realizing it a couple of turns later.
 
But not to worry, this app has your back.
 
You can actually click on any row and still make changes to it.
 
And here's the good part. As much as possible, the board will do what it can to preserve the moves that have been made after the affected move.
 
Obviously, there is a catch to that. The moves will only be preserved, if they remain legal given the change.
 
I know that sounds a bit confusing, so here's an example.
 
 
So here's a game where i cheated the first 3 racks to be low prob bingoes, and played out a few more turns.
 
And of course now i slowly realize..
 
"Wait. RETINAS isn't low prob..."
 
"I need to change that immediately... but so many moves have already been made.."
 
But like I said, the board has your back.
 
What i do next is to simply select the first row, edit the rack to LATINAS and edit the move to LATINAS... (It has to be in CAPS as lower case in the move is used to indicate a blank)
 
 
 
Like so and hit the PLAY button....
 
 
And voila! Problem solved. NOW, all the bingoes are low prob.
 
And as you can see, not even one of the other tiles were touched and everything is still good to go.
 
But as i mentioned previously.. there is still a catch to all this.
 
 
And there it is. If I try to change it to RATINES, the board is unfortunately destroyed because MALARIA will then make LE*, and that's not valid, so that move and all moves after it are erased.
 
So just make sure that whatever change you make is a legal change and things will still be fine.
 
Naturally, you can also just flip the VALIDITY CHECK in the scoresheet to "NO" and none of this will be a problem.
 
 
 
And the change that previously failed will now work.
Heck, with VALIDITY CHECK turned off, you can more or less do as you please. 90% of changes will be totally non destructive.
 
If you notice, i threw a blank into the RETINAS rack to make it better.
 
And that brings us to other reasons why edits can be destructive.
 
If you make an edit like the one above, and there was a move using 2 blanks,
that move will be destroyed because now you've already used up 1 blank to play RETINAS. Hence, that move using 2 blanks will no longer be possible and will be terminated.
 
However rest assured, the destructive potential of this will be low, especially if you are dealing with one pointer tiles. Usually only 1 or 2 moves will be lost towards the end.
 
Note that you can edit the score values in the scoresheet as well, in case RETINAS was challenged and needs 71 instead of 66.
 
If you leave it empty, the default score will be calculated and assigned.
 
Note also that if you scroll to the bottom of the scoresheet, you will also find additional rows, namely the TIME PENALTY, SCORE PENALTY and final score (which cannot be edited anyway)
 
ANALYSIS
 
A very simple analysis algorithm is included in this build Essentially, it will generate a list of all playable moves and rank them based on score and rack leave. Not quite all that good, but it serves its purpose.
 
You have to be careful though in the sense that blanks will slow the analyser down significantly.
 
 
If you analyse a move, a table will pop up in between the board and scoresheet. The move at the top ofthe list will also be automatically hauled onto the board. Note that this is still an experimental algorithm coded by a noob so do not expect the same results as Quackle
 
It will get better over time.
 
Use the buttons provided to flip through the pages of the move table or to hide it.
 
SETTINGS
 

 
In the settings page you can find the following options.
 
SEARCH 15s, 14s... 9s.
 
These switches, when set to off, stop the analyser from considering words of that length. Meaning, the more of these you switch off, the faster the anaylser will perform.
 
IGNORE BINGOES ONCE BINGO FOUND, when switched to YES will stop the analyser once all bingoes have been found, allowing bingo racks to be quickly analysed. Especially effective for racks with blanks.
 
COMPRESS MOVE TABLE, when switched to YES will remove options that show the same word and have the same score but are in a different position. (Example, different potisionings at the start). This option has no impact on anlayser speed.
 
ALLOW 1 TILE DUMPS, when switched to no will remove the numberous array of options that involve dumping a single tile. Has a reasonabe impact on performance.
 
FREEFORM MODE
 
 
Freeform mode is as simple as it gets.
Just set the rack, move tiles onto the board. No rules, no restrictions.
If you only need to form a picture of a board, this is a faster way to do it as opposed to properly building a board.
 
If you switch freeform on, whatever board position you already had will be preserved.
If you switch freeform off, you will be prompted if you want to save as the board will reset afterwards.
 
 
BOARD EDITOR
 
 
The BOARD EDITOR supports squares from 2x to 5x, and you are free to use them to decorate the board to your heart's desire.
 
The SIZE option resizes the board, and SYMMETRY, if turned on, does what it needs to do.
 
You are able to save a list of board config files (type the file name at the top where it says "Type name here")
 
Clicking on APPLY will simply apply the changes to the board without saving anything, though when you reopen the board editor later, it will still reflect the changes you made.
 
LIST shows the list of config files that are available.
 
 
Three default files will already be provided for use. You can view them or click on the pink disk to load them in (applying them to the board).
 
The default files can neither be deleted or saved to, though additional files you save can be deleted or overwritten.
 
BACK will simply close the editor without doing anything.
 
TILE EDITOR
 
 
The tile editor allows you to change the tile distribution and the tile point values.
You can technically have a maximum of 25 of each tile and the maxmium score of a tile is also 25.
 
(IF THE DISTRIBUTION LOOKS WEIRD, JUST GO BACK TO THE LIST AND VIEW THE APPROPRIATE FILE)
 
RULE EDITOR
 



 
The rule editor has all the essentials.
 
You can set the rack length (5 - 9 supported), set the challenge penalty (5 points per word does the same as 5 points for now).
 
Enable tmed mode for your games as well as set the time penalty.
 
And apply various bonuses for using x number of tiles from your rack and forming at least one word or x length.
 
The handicap is a bonus added to the score at the end of the game.
 
The Ess penalty subtracts points from the score if an ess is used
 
The blank penalty subtracts points from the score if a blank is used. Basically, these are anti-lucksack measures.
 
Note : There is no default file for the rule editor. You are advised to create one with the default settings given at the start. This issue will be rectified when possible.
 
SAVING AND LOADING
 
 
Clicking on SAVE from the upper panel will bring out this pop up that simply allows you to save the present board state as a file. If you are currently using a saved board, that name will come pre-inserted into the input box.
 
 
Clicking on LOAD from the upper panel will bring out this pop up. You can see the list of saved files. Clicking on the blue icon will save the current board state into that file, no questions asked.
 
Clicking on the pink icon will load that save file.
 
Clicking on the red icon twice will delete the save file.

 
FREE VERSION
 
Note that the Interactive Board is a paid feature. However, a grace usage period of 30 minutes will be provided daily.
 
 
In the free version, the usage time remaining will be displayed next to the upper panel as shown above.
 
All the features discussed will still be usable, however
 
You will not be able to see the total number of tiles remaining,
 
and will only be able to save one of each file (meaning one saved board, one board config, one tile config and one rule config).
 
You can find the purchase in the main settings page,and purchasing the board will remove these restrictions. (Hmm.. Ok i should have put a button to purchase this in the board's settings page as well...)
 


Note this is the main settings page, accessible from the landing page.
 

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