Words With Friends Facebook Game Review
Facebook Game OverviewGame Genre: Board
The Good:Fun classic game, playable on most devices, very social
The Bad:Few features, add-ons not worth money, irritating ads
… Get points for connecting tile letters to form words… but it’s NOT the world-famous, patented, copyright-fortress-of-lawyer-protected board game that starts with an “S”..right? err.. umm….
ords With Friends is a delightful game where you place letter tiles on a board to create new words attached in a crossword puzzle-like formation. Sound familiar? Hmm.. I bet you’re thinking… “Of course, you must mean Hangman!”. Haha! Well, needless to say Words With Friends IS a clone of the powerhouse family board game that-shall-not-be-named!
And it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
I’ll admit my preference for playing Words With Friends is on my iPhone because it lends itself so perfectly to portable gaming. And therein lies the beauty of it. It’s not a time-wasting-sit-down-for-hours-at-a-time game to play. Once you make your move, you gotta wait for your opponent to make theres. That results in this game became excellent for rapid, quick, and work-environment game play when you may only have a second to log into your Facebook.
Words With… – OVERVIEW
There wasn’t much of a learning curve with Words With Friends, because like most people I’ve been playing Scra-… (almost got me! Oops!) since I was a child. “Words With Friends” by Zynga is an online, two-player clone game that can get quite competitive.
For those unfamiliar with the rules of Words With Friends or Scrabble, each player takes their turn laying down a word with the randomized letter blocks given out. The first player must have at least one letter on the centre “star” block. Words must either be placed horizontally (reading left to right) or vertically (top to bottom) – no diagonals. Each letter block has a certain value. Usually, the rarer the letter, the more valuable it is. The sum of the letter scores equals the word score. Like in Scrabble, it’s a worthwhile goal to try to get at least one tile on a Double Letter or Triple Letter score, which will just multiply the points for that particular letter (for example, V is normally 5, so the word “vote” would be 8, but if the V were on a double letter score, it would be worth 13).
Tiles can also land on a Double Word or Triple Word block, which multiplies the value of the whole. So if “vote” happened to fall with the “T” on a Triple Word block, it would be worth 24 points. When you submit your word, your friend on the other side of the ‘net will then take their turn submitting their own word. Like in the err.. original game, each new word must intersect a word on the board or connect to it horizontally or vertically.
This online flash game doesn’t really differ too much from the original game and, as a result, is low on features. But that’s part of what makes it so addictive. Unnecessary add-ons and multi-layered plot elements can over-complicate a classic gaming experience. One add-on in Words With Friends which does work is the chat option, which can be used on any platform (Facebook, Android, iPhone, etc).
You can also challenge random opponents (not just your own friends) and have multiple games going on at once, so despite not being a very original game, the social options of the game are hands-down the best part.
Words With… – STRATEGY
The way to win is to quite simply get the highest score. The highest score is achieved by creating valuable words. The more double/triple-letter or double/triple-word tiles you land on and the more obscure letters you use, the better.
How valuable a letter is is generally determined by how many letters there are in the pack. For example, there nine “A” tiles, therefore “A” tiles are only worth one point. The distribution is as follows:
- nine A’s
- two B’s
- two C’s
- five D’s
- thirteen E’s
- two F’s
- three G’s
- four H’s
- eight I’s
- one J
- one K
- four L’s
- two M’s
- five N’s
- eight O’s
- two P’s
- one Q
- six R’s
- five S’s
- seven T’s
- four U’s
- two V’s
- two W’s
- one X
- two Y’s
- one Z
- two “wild” tiles
Likewise the value of each letter is as follows:
- A, E, I, O, R, S and T tiles are worth one point each.
- D, L, N and U tiles are worth two.
- G, H and Y tiles will get you three points
- B, C, F, M, P and W are worth four
- Letters start getting more valuable at K and V, which are five point words and X is worth eight
- Finally, J and Z are worth a whopping ten points each
So let’s hope you find a lot of opportunities to play the word “ZEBRA”!
Your word will be considered invalid if any of the words formed when laying the word down is not a real word. For example, if one person has laid down the word “PUPPY” and you then play “UVULA” off of the “U” but the “L” in “UVULA” is directly next to a “T,” “LT” is not a word, therefore you cannot play “UVULA.”
Words With… – TIPS, HINTS & CHEATS
Words With Friends is a free base game with a few premium add-ons that may or may not be helpful to players.
Some of these add-ons include an “instant feedback” option which will tell you how much your words are worth before you play them – not particularly useful considering anyone with basic addition skills should be able to figure that out.
About the only add-on that is worth the money is buying the ad-free version, because ads, especially on the mobile interface, are very invasive to the game and slow gameplay down (and because you are waiting for the person to make a move on the other side of the web, gameplay is already quite slow). As for help with the game, that won’t be found through add-ons. One of the biggest keys to success in Words With Friends is knowing your two-letter words, because once there’s a few words on the board, you’re going to have to deal with two-letter words.
There’s actually a plethora of two-letter words:
- AA, AB, AD, AE, AG, AH, AI, AL, AM, AN, AR, AS, AT, AW, AX, AY,
- BA, BE, BI, BO, BY,
- DA, DE, DI, DO,
- ED, EF, EH, EL, EM, EN, ER, ES, ET, EX,
- FA, FE, FI,
- GO, GI,
- HA, HE, HI, HM, HO,
- ID, IF, IN, IS, IT,
- KA, KI, LA,
- LI, LO,
- MA, ME, MI, MM, MO, MU, MY,
- NA, NE, NO, NU,
- OD, OE, OF, OH, OI, OM, ON, OP, OR, OS, OW, OX, OY,
- PA, PE, PI,
- SH, SI, SO,
- TA, TI, TO,
- UH, UM, UN, UP, US, UT,
- WE, WO,
- XI, XU,
- YA, YE, YO,
If you’re not a wordsmith, there are a few websites which allow you to input your available letters and can come up with good words for you. My personal favourite is http://www.anagrammer.com, but don’t tell anyone! Shhh!). Aside from that, practice makes perfect.
So either work on the real board game (though it should be noted that letter values and the layout of the word and letter multiplier tiles are different) or practice on some strangers on the Internet. In either case, get busy with ol’ Merriam Webster and word-build today!
Genre – Is the official game classification on Facebook
Developer – The owner or company who is the official name behind the game
Skill Level – The difficulty level is either Easy, Medium, or Hard
Addictive It’s “Rarely Play It”, “Here And There”, “Play It Often”, or “Like A Drug”
Platforms – Some games can be played on iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac, etc. as well
DataGrabbered – For cheat sheets and answer list charts: Yes or No (not yet or N/A)
Quick To Learn – How fast you can get playing with no experience
Fun Rating – No point if it’s not much fun to play
Killer Graphics – This isn’t the ’90’s. Killer graphics are a MUST in games today
Stability – Does the game crash? stall? crawl? or eat credits?
Bang For Buck – If you spend real $$ on upgrades and credits, is it worth it?