23 Feb 2012

How to Win Words With Friends

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By Sarah Knight, Copywriter

My husband got me an iPhone for Christmas. While I am certainly not one of those people who can’t live without their phone, I recently became addicted to Words With Friends. If you’re not familiar with the game, it’s a lot like Scrabble only it enables you to play with your friends online.

Right now, I have six games in progress, two of which started almost two weeks ago. The beauty of the game is that you can play it at your own speed—and from anywhere. While I am constantly checking my phone to see if it is my turn (after I’m off the dgs clock, of course), some of my opponents choose to wait hours, even days, to take their turns, which drives me crazy.

However, my brother-in-law, Scott, who has become my nemesis at this game, seems to be just as addicted as I am. While I am running neck-and-neck with my other opponents on our first games against one another, Scott and I have already burned through four or five games—and as much as I hate to admit it, I have lost them all.

While Scott takes playful jabs at me for losing and says he is just kidding, I know deep down he is basking in the glory of beating me, especially since I am a writer. However, to my defense, just because I am a writer and a good speller does not mean I am an expert Words With Friends player.

I do realize, however, I lack strategy, and that is the real key to winning Words With Friends. For example, you might be able to piece together an impressive word, but if none of your high-point letters land on a premium “DW,” “DL” or “TL” square, then you probably won’t have much of an impact against your opponent.

I’ve done some online research and found there are a couple of strategies that might help me beat the pants off of Scott the next time we play.

An aggressive strategy involves the formation of long words as a way to get rid of your tiles as soon as possible. After all, both players share 90 tiles, so the more you use, the less your opponent has. However, this approach can be risky because it gives your opponent ample opportunity to take advantage of premium squares.

The more conservative way to play is to form both long and short words while paying attention to premium square proximity. Meaning, if you can form a long word that reaches a premium square, only then should you go for it. However, with longer words, you should make sure your word does not extend so far that it allows your opponent to branch off your word and reach a premium square. Also, with longer words, you want to try to avoid placing vowels next to a premium square because high-point tiles, such as X, come before or after a vowel in many words. And when it comes to shorter words, if you place enough of them, your opponent is more apt to branch out, putting you within striking distance of a premium square.

These are just some of the tactics I found to improve my game, but if you’re interested in learning more, I recommend visiting the OS X Reality web site. But in the end, if I still can’t beat my brother-in-law, at least I can say I am prettier and have more hair.

One Response to “How to Win Words With Friends”

  1. Amy Magan says:

    My name is Amy and I’m a WWF addict. And a HWF addict. And a Scramble W Friends fan, too. Would live to play sometime.

    I’ve found that WWF is as much about math as it is about words. Maybe that’s what makes your BIL good at it?

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