ShareThis Page
Business

'Words With Friends' free app redefines 'Scrabble'

Kim Komando
| Friday, Aug. 19, 2011

Remember family board game night• Even though your family is now spread out across the country and schedules are crazy busy, you can still relive this wonderful pastime. New technology lets you play across the miles and make moves when time avails.

Probably one of the most popular games in this category is "Words With Friends." At last count, approximately 2.5 million people daily are creating words using smartphones, tablets or Facebook profiles to earn points. Game play is very similar to Scrabble.

Players draw tiles and exchange turns to create words horizontally or vertically on the board. The game ends when one player runs out of tiles or if there are three successive turns that result in no scores by either player. The person with the highest number of points at the end wins.

Aside from the fact it's truly great fun, what makes the game so attractive is that players do not have to play at the same time. You make a move and get on with your day. After your friend makes his move, you hear a sound effect signaling a new word has been played. That means it's your turn.

Bounce back and forth at your leisure. You can play up to 20 games at once. Games can go on for days, weeks or longer. The game also has a real-time chat system to give a jab to your opponents from time to time.

Unlike the board game played with people sitting around the kitchen table, you cannot challenge the use of a word and haul out the trusty dictionary. The word is either in the game's dictionary, or it's not. Case closed. There are about 200,000 words to choose from.

In addition, the game works on the honor system. No one knows if you cried out and sought help in time of desperation. The problem with this help is that it's all or nothing.

If you're stuck for a word, there are a number of "assistive" sites. ScrabbleCheat.com is one such site. Enter the letters on your tile rack and instantaneously, words you probably never knew existed appear for your selection and use. Here's a hint: If you plan on using such a word, do yourself a favor and click on the word. You will be taken to the definition of it.

There are several others, including WordswithFriendsCheat.com and one with a more positive slant, WordswithFriendsWin.com. There are also a number of lexical word finders. These are evil.

Here, you recreate the game's exact board as it unfolds. Play for play, you enter letters played by both yourself and your opponent. At each turn, you will be presented with the best word to use to gain the highest number of points.

"Words With Friends" is available in both a free and paid version for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The paid version is advertising-free and costs $1.99. There is also a free version available for Android devices. You can play with friends and family that have either system.

There are many multiplayer social games to share with family and friends. For example, you can play chess, Uno, air hockey, and more. Each is very similar to "Words With Friends." Take a turn and wait until you're up again.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me