Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of the game?

To complete a route by solving as few word puzzles as possible.

What is a "word puzzle"?

A three letter clue that shows up on a license plate., e.g., the "PRY" in the license plate "PRY 153".

How do I solve a word puzzle?

By finding a word that contains all the puzzle's letters. They must appear in the exact same order, but they do not have to occur next to each other. e.g., "party" is a valid answer to the puzzle "PRY".

What words are considered valid puzzle answers?

Most dictionary words with 4 or more characters (excluding proper nouns and hyphenated words). If the puzzle is already a word, you must add at least one letter to form a valid answer.

How is the "Race" game different from the "Travel" game?

The Travel game is for a single player and does not impose any time limits. The Race game is a two-player game and you only have a fixed amount of time to find an answer to each puzzle. The goal of the Race game is to complete the route in fewer puzzles than your opponent.

What determines how many miles an answer is worth?

Each puzzle has many possible answers and each is assigned a "strength". The higher the strength of your answer, the more miles you earn.

How are the answer "strength" score determined?

Longer words are preferred over shorter words. Root words are preferred over inflected word forms such as plurals, past tenses, etc. For example, the word "root" is preferred over the words "roots", "rooted" or "rooting". Finally, if all else is equal, less frequently occurring words are preferred over more commonly occurring words. The answer strength is calculated by ranking all possible answers for the puzzle and ordering them. The best one is assigned a strength of 1.0, the least one is assigned 0.0 and with the others spread in between those values.

What about that "Skip" button?

The skip button allows you to exchange the current puzzle's letters without penalty. Every 50 miles, you will get another skip to use, but only up to the maximum of 3.

And those "Boost Mileage" buttons?

The boost mileage buttons allow you to travel further by applying a multiplier to your next answer. Be careful though, because if you get the puzzle wrong, it will also multiply the penalty. You will get a 2X boost every 25 incorrect answers. You may also find boosts as you travel if you encounter special license plates. However, you can only hold up to 3 boosts at a time.

Can I travel the same route twice?

Yes. You can try a route again to see if you can complete it with fewer puzzles. The puzzles you see in the route are random and they will change each time you travel the route.

Can I change the game's difficulty level?

Yes. The top navigation bar has a button that shows the current difficulty level. Click on the button to change the difficulty to easy, normal or hard.

What happens when I change the difficulty level?

Each difficulty level is completely separate. When you first switch, you will need to pick a new route to travel and all your stats will start at the beginning. Leader-boards will only reflect routes and stats for the level you are on. It may appear as if all previous data was lost, but it has not been. Just switch back to the other level to see them again. You can switch between levels at any time.

What if I disagree with a answer that was not accepted?

Use the "report" link next to the text of the response to provide us feedback. We will consider adding the word to our dictionary in the next release. You will get special recognition if your suggestions are accepted

I am in the middle of a trip, how can I change my destination?

There is a link labeled "Change" in the top right of the route status panel. This will discard the current trip and start a new trip from your current location.

What is my License Plate Collection?

Each time you successfully solve a puzzle, that license plate gets added to your collection.

Where can I find my License Plate Collection?

It is under the "Stats" section of the top menu bar choices. On mobile devices, you may need to reveal this menu using the top right menu control.

How many different license plates are there?

Each state has at least one license plate and many have a few variations. The total number may change over time as more plate variations are added. Some plate variations for a state are more common than others and you should see them based upon how common or rare they are.

What determines which license plates show up?

Your current (game) location. The state you are (virtually) in is the most likely to appear, though as you get nearer to other states, you will begin to see plates from those states more frequently too. Every once in a while, you may see a random plate from other states, roughly in proportion to that state's population.

How can I see the stats for other players?

You can click on the user's image in the leader-boards to see more details for that user.

Also, see the Plates Across America™ Blog for more in-depth articles about the game.