Monday, October 22, 2012

Words, With Friends

With Friends 

Words with Friends is a scrabble like game played with other people via a smart phone or iPad. It has been around for a few years and is very addictive, just ask Alec Baldwin.  Unlike Angry Birds, another game and guilty pleasure for many, people feel justified in the time spent playing Words. It is after all, spelling WORDS, helping us improve our minds. Right?

I personally love this game. I am addicted to it and have no plans to enter the twelve-step program to recover from it. Over the years I have played loads of games with friends and family. I’ve avoided playing with strangers, which is an option in Words with Friends. Somehow that just didn’t feel right. For me, part of the fun is playing with people I know.   One Words with Friends bestie and I have had as many as eight games going at one time. Words with Friends is one of my happy places.

I like to hear the alerting “pling” sound my iPad makes to let me know another player has studied the board and made their best move.  I like the fact that I can still make a great word even if I only have four “I”s and three “K”s .  I like the place Words takes my brain, mixing vocabulary knowledge with strategic game play. I like the community of Words. I like the chat board that allows me to check in on a friend or grumble about the number of vowels I’ve been allotted this game.  I like to win, but can appreciate it when an opponent hits me hard with a 100+ point word and I feel good about saying, terrific play!

I modestly say I am a good player, having read so many words in my life I have a cozy relationship with them, so I usually do well in the game of Words.  There are many players much better then me and I enjoy the challenge of competing with them.  There are players less skilled and I enjoy those games just as much. Words with Friends is fun!

Like most games there are ways to cheat when you play Words with Friends. Early on, there were web pages you could use to make words out of the letters you had available. If an opponent played a word like phenakism and their next word is pulveratricious you could be pretty sure those words didn’t come out of their brain unaided.

But that is old school, now one so inclined to cheat need only download any number of Words with Friends “cheat” applications. These apps essentially play the game for you, making the most strategic use of the available letters to maximize points.  I discovered these apps while updating my iPhone Words game. 212 cheat applications were gaily proclaiming to be the best Words cheats available. At first I was shocked. Here I was thinking this was a fun challenging game to play with friends, when clearly it is a fun game played with friends, which must be won at any cost.  There must be lots of players out there that can’t approach the game without the security blanket of cyberspace.

I don’t use cheats when I play Words with Friends. I don’t say this in some noble, head thrust upward gazing off into the middle distance kind of way. I say this in a, what the heck it’s a game, one that helps keep my brain from turning to mush, one that makes me feel good when I play a great word, one that helps me feel connected to people I care about, kind of way.  I hope and I think that the great group of people I play Words with Friends with finds the same joy in this game that I do.

Here is a little secret. It doesn’t take long to figure out if your opponent is using cheats or not.  If they suddenly start playing brilliant perfect moves each turn, or you find yourself consulting a dictionary after each of their word placements, chances are you are playing the computer not the person you assumed was at the other end of the iPad.  My advice, run with it, and if you lose don’t feel bad. Know a player beat you with access to way more information then can be stored in a plain old corporal brain like yours.

Diana, self proclaimed Words with Friends addict, for the Poplar Grove Muse


  1. Love this. Fun to read and shame on those cheaters.People get so competitive they forget to have fun and to win on merit, just ask Lance Armstrong. Great post!

  2. What a fun post. My daughters play this, and you have inspired me to get over my reluctance to use my monthly data and get into the game. I'll have to find out how to connect with you! MKP

  3. Can't stand cheaters, and I know I am playing with one. But can't get out of the situation of playing with them. I wished I could be as forgiving as Diane.