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Wordsearch, a new bingo game at tombola

Sue Dawson

What is Wordsearch?

Wordsearch is a new bingo game that was launched at tombola bingo on 10th July 2023.  Following in the footsteps of other tombola exclusive bingo games such as Morph, Wordsearch has NO numbers and no balls.  Instead, it’s based on a wildly popular word puzzle in which players must spot the hidden words in a grid of letters.

How to play Wordsearch

Like many other tombola specials, Wordsearch is a single ticket multi stake game ensuring that

  1. It works well on a mobile phone screen as there’s only one ticket occupying the limited space
  2. Everyone has an equal chance of winning

To buy in, all you need to do is select your preferred stake level – choose from 10p, 25p, 50p, £1 or £2 – and press confirm.  The prize amounts are adjusted automatically to be a multiple of your stake level. You’ll then see an 8×8 Wordsearch grid and above it, a list of 9 words you need to find, varying in length from 3 to 8 letters.  That’s your bingo card!  If your 9 words are marked off before anyone else’s, that’s a full house and you win.

tombola Wordsearch
The Ocean theme in play. Mackerel has just been called, but not marked on the grid yet. Can you spot it?

Wordsearch is equivalent to a 36 ball bingo game in that the 9 words you need to find are part of a set of 36 words that could potentially be called during the game.  The Wordsearch grid you get will only include your 9 words and what this means is that even if the 36 words were the same in every game, you’d almost certainly get a different grid every time.

In fact, the 36 words are NOT the same in every game, because Wordsearch has a staggering 20 different themes each of which has its own 36 words (along with a different background).  You don’t know which theme you’re going to get until the game starts!  Some of the themes are: Space, Football, Summer, Baking, Music, Safari, and City.  Whoever thought these up has done a lot of work to make them entertaining and relevant; for example, the Space theme includes the words “RedDwarf” and “Expanse” which are a nod to anyone who likes to watch sci-fi on TV.

There are two ways to enjoy Wordsearch.  With auto marking on (the default) you just watch the game unfold (and maybe join in the lively chat) as the words will be automatically highlighted for you.  With auto marking switched off (via the side menu), you get the added fun of searching for the words yourself; the game will still keep track of which of your words have been called and give you the win if your 9 words are called before anyone else’s even if you haven’t been able to keep up with the calls.

As well as the prize for full house, Wordsearch has a jackpot which goes to anyone who wins full house in 15 or fewer calls.  In the unlikely event of two players winning the jackpot in the same game, they don’t split it – each wins the full amount of 500x stake (£1000 for a £2 stake, £500 for a £1 stake, £250 for a 50p stake, £125 for a 25p stake or £50 for a 10p stake).

Like other tombola bingo games, Wordsearch will always have a Return to Player of more than 80% (excellent for a bingo game).

At the moment Wordsearch is INCREDIBLY busy and this should come as no surprise – it’s par for the course when tombola introduce a new game.  With hundreds of players in the room and only one prize per game, the chance of winning anything is small and some players may prefer to wait until things quieten down a bit before giving it a try (or at least play at a less busy time of day).  Nevertheless, during its first week players won a total of £436,052 in the course of more than 3000 games of Wordsearch.

Where to play Wordsearch

Wordsearch is an utterly unique bingo game and you won’t find it, or anything even vaguely like it, anywhere other than tombola!


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