A Visio Countdown to Xmas

I presented a Visio deck of cards in a previous post ( see https://blog.bvisual.net/2014/12/03/a-visio-deck-of-cards/ ), and now I present a real game that can be played with Visio over the holiday season. Countdown is a British TV programme with word and number puzzles. It was the first programme to be aired on Channel 4, and 70 series have been broadcast since its debut on 2 November 1982. With over 6,000 episodes, Countdown is one of the longest-running game shows in the world, along with the original French version, Des chiffres et des lettres, which has been running on French television continuously since 1965. Read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countdown_%28game_show%29.


You can download this Visio 2013 document from http://1drv.ms/1xLsjVZ. There are no macros because I have restricted myself to using just ShapeSheet formulas. This example shows how a combination of List Containers and Items, along with ShapeSheet formulas can achieve a lot without resorting to any code. I am particularly pleased with being able to construct a word from the letters inside the Letter Rack, or to evaluate the arithmetic from the numbers and arithmetic characters in side the Number Rack.

A Countdown game normally consists of :

  • 10 Letter Rounds
  • 4 Number Rounds
  • A final Conundrum round

I have put instructions on each page on how to play each round, and links to a Countdown Clock web page to time yourself.

In the Letter Round, you drop 9 letter tiles, vowels and consonants, and then have 30 seconds to make as long a word as you can:


In the Number Round, dropping a new CECIL shape on the page creates a random 3 digit number. Then you need to get 6 number tiles (Large and Small).


You then have 30 seconds to work out how to get close to the target number by using arithmetic expressions with the numbers.


For the Conundrum round, I found a list of 9 letter words on the internet at http://www.becomeawordgameexpert.com/wordlists9.htm. They are intended for use with Scrabble, but I have chopped this list up into 8 parts because a Visio cell can can only hold 32k characters. There are 24,869 words in total, and the Conundrum shape picks one at random, which can then be put into the textbox on the Countdown Clock web page at http://www.interactiveclock.com/countdown-clock-and-word-jumble-resource.html.


You can solve Countdown word and number puzzles at http://incoherency.co.uk/countdown/


2 Responses to “A Visio Countdown to Xmas”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Mo's blog

Personal views on Dynamics 365 for Operations and Technical Architecture.

Chris Webb's BI Blog

Microsoft Analysis Services, MDX, DAX, Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI


Microsoft Office 365 Development, and more...


Automate, Accelerate, Accurate


Life with Visio and other Microsoft Toys!

Title (Required)

Windows Server Essentials Tips & Tricks

Nilsandrey's Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Things that Should be Easy

Every so often (too often in the IT industry) I encounter things that should have been very easy to do but turned out to be far too complicated. My favorite topics include SharePoint, .Net development, and software architecture, especially distributed systems.

Visio Guy

Shapes, Stencils, Drawings Templates, Tutorials, Tips & Developer Info for Microsoft Visio

Hannes's Virtual Earth

Tips & Tricks around Mapping and Cloud Computing

Pluralsight blog

be smart, be clear, be visual ...

%d bloggers like this: