Seven Sharps

Essential Guide to Words With Friends

Honestly, if you’ve never heard of the game Words With Friends, we might have trouble getting along.  I’m not sure about you but I love words and I love friends, therefore this brilliant variation of Scrabble tickles my fancy like no other.  I get really intense about this game and will probably be offended if you don’t know what I mean when I randomly shout out, “I hit the TW!” in the middle of a conversation.  So if you have an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone and you want to be intellectually stimulated on a daily basis, get busy playing Words With Friends or get busy being a square.  I think I’ve reached expert status with this game. I’m winning against six friends right now (no big deal!) so I’ve amassed a list of tips to help you slay at this game and avoid the embarrassment of getting creamed by your younger sister.

1.  Be defensive and offensive. I feel like I’m being Captain Obvious, but you would be surprised how many people blunder on this one.  Don’t be that person who plays defensively with two-letter words for the entire game!  Number one, you aren’t going to accumulate any points and number two, congratulations on boring your opponent to death.  Instead, you should maintain a healthy balance between defensive techniques (such as not leaving the triple word and double word spaces open for business) and offensive moves (such as going for the big points when the opportunity presents itself).

2.  Know your opponent. This is not so much for strategic purposes as it is for social etiquette.  Like, don’t ever play the word “SEX” against your eighty-two year old grandpa.  I don’t care if you’re hitting the triple word and the “X” is on the triple letter.  It makes for a mutually awkward experience and he’ll probably be a little creeped out by your indecency.  I’m sorry but in certain situations, you’re just going to have to treat this game like a cutesy G-rated movie.

3.  Memorize the game-clincher words. You need to know these.  It’s not even an option.  “QI”, “QAT”, “JO”, “XI”, “XU” and “ZA” are the life of this game and you shouldn’t be afraid to whip them out if you need a quick score boost.

4.  Don’t save letters. “Oh, I’m just going to save this ‘Z’ for later.”  Wrong.  As the game progresses and the board gets more cluttered, there are going to be less and less opportunities for you to use high-scoring letters.  Pretty soon there will be nowhere to play that “Z” and you’ll get points deducted from your final score because the letter never left your rack.

5.  Layer words horizontally and vertically. Think cakes!  Just as cakes are yummier when they’re layered, words are too.  Okay, maybe not literally, but what’s more delicious than bagging 78 points on one move?  This tip comes especially in handy when you’re cursed with all vowels or all consonants.

6.  If you’re losing by more than 200 points, just resign. It can only get worse, so spare the humiliation and throw in the cards before your opponent gets too haughty.  Take a deep breath, press “resign” and then press “re-match”.  The less time you waste losing, the more time you gain for winning.  Besides, you probably just got unlucky.

Oh, and one last thing: no matter how many times you try, “BFF” and “LOL” won’t ever count as words.  Ugh, get with the times, Words With Friends!  Even the Oxford English Dictionary says that they’re real!

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  • Laura C. Painter

    Yes! I love this game and couldn’t agree more with your tips. The only one I disagree with is number six. Resigning is always a cowardly move, no matter how bad you’re losing. Sticking with a crappy game helps you learn from your mistakes, and you can observe a superior opponent’s skills in the process.

  • Erin Bruner

    never resign! lose with dignity!! all the rest of the rules are so true, i giggled when i played toke against my stepmom. good think i know SHE knows the definition :)

  • Caitland Romer

    I have WP7 phone which doesn’t have Words with Friends, but I do, however, had 3 alternate versions on my phone, and I have no less than 12 games going at anytime. Two versions calculate the amount of points you will get before you the play the word, and one version will not calculate the points unless it is a valid word, which is extra helpful. In one version, you can actually play up to 3 people at once. Probably my favorite versions is Words by Post Free, which is available on all platforms. It ranks you as a player when finish a game (but not when you play friends) so you can actually see how skilled you are.

  • Lauren Nespoli

    I love Words with Friends and Hanging with Friends! I like your tips too! Although, I never resign by choice. My biggest problem is that I play on my iPod Touch because I have a BlackBerry for a phone, and I tend to listen to music on my iTunes rather than turn my iPod on, unless I’m on a long car trip or something, and then I forget to play the games and it automatically makes me resign after 15 days of being inactive…which reminds me I have a Hanging with Friends game going on right now that I haven’t checked in a while, so I should do that!

  • Julia Gazdag

    This reminds me:

    LOVE IT!

  • Caitland Romer

    My husband also suggested a new rule: Allow others (especially those not as supremely intelligent) to win occasionally or they won’t want to play you anymore… I wonder why husband could have possibly suggested this?

  • Jenny Lazo

    this game is amazing and addicting!! i got 110 points the other day when i made the word “jars” it was an amazing experience.

  • Sachi Hana Mitchem

    I played the word “whore” against my mom when she was beating me. I hope she didn’t read too much into that.

  • Chris Eastburn

    I will keep playing a superior opponent until I win! 10 losses and 1 victory is still success to me!
    Great Read!

  • Aileen Lonegan

    I once used slut against my boss’s wife. Then I felt the need to apologize even though she didn’t care at all. It also bothers me that she is not a native English speaker and repeatedly beats me! I feel like I should be better than her!

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