Words With Friends

An iPhone Word Game Everyone is Playing

So what is Words With Friends exactly? For those few people on the planet who haven't heard about this word game, it is just like Scrabble except the board has a different layout, there are more bonus squares, some of the tiles have different values and ... oh yes ... you don't play it on a real board, or even via your computer.

Quick Quiz

How Many
Did You Know?

Flashcards like these are my favorite way to learn new words. There are quite a few programs and courses out there you can use to build your vocabulary this way, but if you want to know my absolute favorite Click Here.
Instead you use your iPhone, iTouch or iPad.

A Bit Of History

Words with Friends was designed by Paul and David Bettner and is sold by New Toy Inc. The game went on the market in 2009 and by the end of that year had 1.6 million daily active users and had been downloaded to over 6.5 million iPhones. Last month the downloads exceeded 10 million.

Part of the reason for the game's rapid growth is that this is not a solo game. So, players download this game and then get their friends to also download it so that they can play against one another. Of course if your friends don't like word games you can still play with random players and in fact one woman met her husband by hitting the random button.

When the game first came out, you had to manually type in all your friends name in order to play with them and the game could not be played on android systems. However, just this month February 2011 it went live on Android functions making it more popular than ever.

This is a game that can be played by almost anyone of any age young or old. However, you do need an iPhone and spelling and vocabulary skills are really a must for basic play.

The game is designed so that you can play on your own time schedule. Your opponent enters a word and notification is sent to you so that you know that you are up next. You can set your notifications to alert you every 5 minutes or every 12 hours or not at all. Because a game may take several days or even weeks to play you have the ability to play up to 20 minutes at one time.

How To Play

Words With Friends is an easy game to begin playing for anyone who has ever played Scrabble. Like Scrabble you start with 7 tiles and the first player must have part of their word on the star square. From then on each subsequent word played must share at least one tile with an existing word.

Each letter played has a point value and you score points according to the total point value of all the letters in the word or words you create. To make the game more interesting and challenging there are also special bonus squares on the board where you can get double and triple points on individual letters or whole words depending on the squares your letters cover.

The game ends when one player plays all of his letters and there are no more letters than can be drawn or when three turns pass with no points scored. The player with remaining tiles in his hand subtracts the points from his score and those points are added to his opponents score. Once the scores are tallied the player with the high score wins.

Tips for Play

There are various strategies that people use when playing this game. One strategy is to try and work yourself into a position where your tiles cover the bonus squares, especially those for double or triple word squares, although placing a Z or a Q on a triple letter square can increase your word score dramatically. However, be careful not to leave your opponent in a position to take advantage of the bonus scores.

Adding a simple S or even and ER to the end of high scoring words located near a bonus square can also increase your score dramatically, while giving your opponent less letters to be able to form a word off them.

On Popularity

Words With Friends is one of the most talked about games on the internet. You can become a fan on Twitter or Facebook and get all the updates, connect with friends and make new friends. In addition there are several articles giving tips on how to play as well as reviews.

There is even an unofficial fan site called WordsWithFriends.Net that has daily challenges and all kinds of tournament play for those who love the thrill of competition.

The really surprising thing is that as a spin off of the popular game Scrabble, you would think that Words With Friends would come out second best. But when it comes to downloadable iPhone games, Words With Friends has smoked the competition of original Scrabble. (Mainly because the game boots up in seconds and is faster paced which has contributed to its popularity.)

The Bettner boys knew what they were doing when they made a simpler, quicker version of the tried and true word games that has been around for generations.

While Words With Friends lacks some of the special features that the Scrabble game for phones has, it is this lack that streamlined the game and encouraged people to play.

Ironically, the popularity of Words With Friends has increased the sales of the "hard copy" Scrabble board game as people who enjoy playing over their phones find reconnecting with friends in person is also a great way to enjoy this type of word game.

It seems that Words With Friends has it all, fast paced actions, the ability to play with people next door or around the world and at least in one case even the ability to lead to romance. What more could anyone ask?

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