Ever since Alec Baldwin got kicked off of a plane recently for playing Words with Friends, you may have been wondering what the fuss was all about. Words with Friends is a fun and addictive Scrabble-like game from Zynga, the company that owns other fun and addictive games such as Farmville and Cityville. The game is available to play for free on Facebook and on apps for Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
To play on Facebook, go to the Words with Friends page on Facebook. You can start a game with friends, a mobile player or a random opponent.
You begin by choosing a user name. You’re then shown a list of your Facebook friends who are playing the game. Don’t be surprised to find that quite a few of your friends are actively playing. On the app you can connect your account to Facebook and Twitter to find even more friends to play against.
Warning, this game is very popular, it’s one of the top Facebook games and iTunes apps so you may find yourself invited to play by several friends. You can play multiple games at once, increasing your fun exponentially!
The board closely resembles a Scrabble board, with a grid of squares, complete with bonus squares for double and triple letters and double and triple word scores. You place tiles on the squares to form a word. Your tiles must connect either horizontally or vertically to form a word of at least two letters. The first word played must include a tile on the center square with a star. Subsequent words must connect to an existing word on the board.
You begin with a rack of seven letters. You can make words with two or more letters, but no abbreviations, contractions, proper nouns, hyphenated words or profanity are allowed. The value of the tiles is somewhat different from Scrabble, with more common letters such as U, N and L worth two points, instead of one point, as in Scrabble.
To maximize your score, try to use the premium squares, the double and triple letter and word squares. You can build on existing words, such as adding an “e” to “quip” or adding an “s” to pluralize words.
You can also try to use letters that build words both horizontally and vertically at once. This strategy has the double advantage of increasing your score and clogging up the board for your opponent. In the sample board above, the letters “F – A – T” spell three words, “fat”, “aha” and “mot”, increasing the score.
If you use all seven letters on your rack in one turn, you’re awarded an extra 35 points.
The game continues until either:
1. Someone resigns
2. A player passes three or more times
3. A player doesn’t take a turn after a “reasonable amount of time” or
4. A player uses all of his tiles and no more tiles remain.
After the game is over, the value of the tiles remaining on your rack will be deducted from your final score.
During the game you can chat with your opponent, either with encouragement such as, “Brilliant play!” or trash talk such as, “Read it and weep!” This chat feature is not only entertaining, it recently helped to save a life:
What is particularly fun about Words with Friends is that you can have several games going at once. You may find that you have some friends who respond immediately. Others may take a day or so to get back to you, either because they are busy or because they are taking their time choosing the perfect word. As you play different opponents, you will learn which players play at a pace you enjoy.
If you enjoy word games, check out Words with Friends. Just don’t blame me if you get kicked off a plane for playing the game too long!
Have you tried Words with Friends? Are you a fan of Scrabble and other word games? Let us know in the Comments section below!