Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
Daily Challenge
iOS App

First-time app players, PLEASE READ.

It is highly recommended that first-time app players select “Overview” and read the brief instructions before selecting “Play Game” on the app’s home page. Or click here to watch a quick video. Many players just start playing without any idea of the objective, and score zero points. So take a minute to read the “Overview” before playing. “Quit” and “X” will take you to the home page from whatever game mode you happen to be in. Click here for yet another quick video to help you understand what finding Common Ground is all about.

Can my children play Common Ground’s board game?

The recommended age group for the board game is 12 + because we feel that players need to have a reasonable amount of general knowledge to compete effectively. Younger persons who are fortunate enough to possess a wide array of information and facts are more than welcome to try it. Alternatively, the 50 category cards can be selectively edited to better suit younger players’ abilities, tailoring the game to areas they are more familiar with. Around here, we like to say that Common Ground is “For Bright Kids of All Ages!”

What suggestions are there for improving my scores?

When you first begin playing, you may find it difficult, but don’t feel intimidated. The best advice is to take baby steps. Pick the first two letters of the item given and try to think of words from the second category that begin with those letters. Gradually work your way across, two letters at a time, until you find a valid response. You can then repeat the process choosing groups of three letters-in-sequence. Sometimes, a word that simply rhymes with the item given will be an easily found response. Other times, a larger whole word my stand out. If you have ever tried solving a crossword puzzle, and needed one more letter, you may have mentally filled in each letter of the alphabet, in order, until something rang true. You can apply this same technique to pairs or triads of letters found in the word for the item given. More info can be found by clicking on the “How to Play” tab above. Good luck finding Common Ground!

I don’t understand the tweets with Something : Something :: Something : _____?

Sometimes we post a “TwittER TeasER” for the “Daily Challenge.” It always includes the first category, the first item in the first category, the second category, followed by a blank and a question mark. The format is always Category 1 : Item 1 :: Category 2 : _____? You can work on that one in your head, and if you know a good response, click on the link to take you to the actual puzzle to complete the rest of it. Here’s a example – Awards : GRAMMY :: Insects : ____? GRASSHOPPER would be a fine 3-point response – (GRA = 3).

Sometimes when I click on the daily challenge link attached to Facebook posts or Tweets, it takes me to the current puzzle instead of the intended one. Why?

Each day, via Twitter and Facebook, we let the world know that a new daily challenge has been posted, by offering a quip that refers to the categories presented. The link will always take you to the current daily challenge, regardless of when it was posted. However, you can click on the “Previous Puzzle Arrow” (pointing left, just below the scoring values) to work backwards through prior content, thus finding the appropriate puzzle. By the way, using the “Previous Puzzle Arrow” is a great way to catch up on any of the past two week’s worth of daily challenges that you may have missed.

Why do the scores necessary for “Good”, “Great”, and “Superb” vary from day to day?

Each “Daily Challenge” is painstakingly composed to provide five items that will generate five responses representing an optimum balance between: Most-widely-known AND 3-or-more-matching-letters-in-sequence. Often there are longer possible items that lead to longer responses, but they are rejected during the design process for being too obscure. We raise the bar just enough to provide a consistent level of challenge amid what we deem to exist within the realm of general knowledge. Accordingly, the optimum likely responses meeting this criteria dictate the scores indicated as necessary for the respective achievements.

Why are “same-whole-word” responses not allowed?

We consider that “Identical Ground” rather than “Common Ground.” The randomization of categories will, on occasion, offer two categories with substantial overlap, such as Girl Names and Women Authors. In a case such as that, responses would simply be too easily identical and present virtually no challenge. We want to keep the level of play as consistent as possible, always requiring the finding of matching letter sequences within a word or words, no matter what categories or items appear.

I can type meaningless answers that contain long strings of letters in sequence to obtain a high score. Why is this possible?

You can also write random letters in the grid of a crossword puzzle, then claim you solved it – but what is the point? You’re only kidding yourself. A database of acceptable answers to validate responses would be nice, but accommodating every legitimate response in the world would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Experts in certain fields have an extensive, specialized vocabulary. They might provide a valid response but not receive credit because it isn’t in the database. Therefore, letting players judge opponents’ responses is more appropriate and allows the game to accommodate all levels of knowledge and skill.

Where can I find answers to questions about each game mode in the mobile app?

Easy! Just tap the “?” at the bottom of the screen and scroll through the information provided.

How do I play against someone else using the mobile app?

You need to first use your Apple ID to log into Apple’s Game Center, which may be accessed directly, or through your device’s main settings, and then scrolling down to Apple’s Game Center. If you have already created an Apple Game Center ID, and are logged into Apple’s Game Center, return to the CG app and tap the gold bar labeled: “Head to Head” followed by the Apple Game Center icon found at the lower right of the screen.Otherwise, create a new Apple Game Center ID by entering your location, birthday and agreeing to the terms and conditions. From there you can upload a picture of yourself or any image you choose. This will be your on-screen identity–only visible when playing CG through Apple’s Game Center. You also can type any phrase you wish, to accompany your image. Either can be changed at any time. Once you’ve established your identity in Apple’s Game Center, return to the CG app and tap the gold bar labeled: “Head to Head” followed by the Apple Game Center icon found at the lower right of the screen. Then tap the “+” found at the upper right of the screen to begin inviting friends to play or select “auto-match” to begin a game with a random player. It’s that simple! As you play, Apple’s Game Center will track your scores and place you in the standings on the leaderboard that can be displayed by tapping “Leaders” at the bottom of the screen. See how you measure up against your friends, and let the competition begin!

What are the benefits of the 99-cent premium upgrade for the mobile app?

First, the pop-up ads will permanently disappear. Second, the number of categories expands from 10 to 75. This means you will now be served more than 5,600 possible category combinations! Couple that with 1 of 20 or more possible items presented in each category for more than 100,000 unique challenges!

I can’t download the app to my iPad?

We truly appreciate your interest in Common Ground. The app was developed/maximized for iPhone, (not iPad) but it will run on an iPad and it looks sensational on that platform! When you search for it in the App Store you must select “iPhone Only” for it to appear. At the top of the screen there is a tab just to the right of “Cancel” that says “iPad Only” tap that and you will see a drop down menu which allows you to select “iPhone Only” which enables apps that are “iPhone Only” to appear. Hope this helps, and we hope you enjoy playing Common Ground and will recommend it to your friends and family.

Can I change the game parameters?

Yes, each mode has various choices regarding the number of rounds and whether you prefer the categories to be randomized or the same throughout the game, but selections must be made before starting a new game. In “Head to Head” mode you will always be asked if you care to make changes. Pay attention to the number of rounds played in the previous game, as that will automatically become the new default. If you started a game with 5 rounds and the tiebreaker rounds brought the total to 6, then 6 becomes the new default. Other modes require the settings to be accessed by tapping the gear icon at the lower right corner of the screen, and setting the parameters before starting the game.

Why can’t I hear the mobile app sound effects?

Tap the “settings” button on the homepage. Be sure Sound Effects: is set to “ON”. In the “Pass and Play” mode, sound effects are only heard if timer is selected “ON” in the settings for that mode.

With the mobile app, is there a way to exclude certain categories from play?

Currently, no, however, special customized category packs are in development for future purchase. “Pop Culture” and “All About Sports” are two examples that are likely to be available soon.

Have additional questions? Email us!