An Addiction: Words with Friends

I’ve never been big on video games. But move-at-your-own-pace computer games are something else. Computer Solitaire has long been a close friend.

When I learned that my wife, Kathleen, had begun playing a popular game called Words with Friends, I was curious. I knew games could be played by people across the globe from one another by way of the Internet, although I had no idea how it worked.

So I took a look at Words. Hmm. Pretty much like Scrabble–except there was no time limit and no penalty for trying to play a non-existent word.

Hey, I’d been an English major, although I’d forgotten a number of words in the forty-some years since college graduation. But I decided to give it a shot.

Kathleen beat me. Once. Twice. No telling how frequently during the first week or two.

You need to understand this about me. I’m not so proud that I can’t take defeat gracefully. But every single time?

I finally started to win occasionally. That was more to my liking.

But this game was still frustrating. Like Scrabble, success depended as much (or more) on the letters received than on one’s skill at using them. Nonetheless, I started developing various strategies–especially:

  • Don’t set your opponent up for a triple word if you can help it
  • Do your best to use a triple word even for a small number of points just to keep your opponent from using it
  • Get rid of the really high point letters as early in the game as possible

A number of things still frustrate me. For example, some high point words have a reason for their value. “QI” is the only two-letter Q-word. “ZA” is the only two-letter Z-word. “K” can be a real pain. You get the idea. Especially if you’re a Words fan.

But it’s fun, and you’d probably get a good laugh watching Kathleen and me playing. She sits on her end of the sofa (only the ends recline) crocheting between turns–she plays on her Kindle Fire–and I sit in a rocking chair beside my end of the sofa doing something else on my computer (maybe playing Solitaire) while she’s playing.

There’s no telling how many times each play literally circles the globe before coming to rest on the other person’s device.

We make it a practice to announce the points we’ve just played (I keep the sound muted) so the other person knows it’s his or her turn.

Now that we both win frequently, it’s not unusual for us to share the problems we’re having. All consonants. All vowels. Only a “U.” Things like that.

Words with Friends was definitely easier to catch on to than Five Crowns, a card game that is best played with more than two people.

What’s your favorite game? Do you actually enjoy it? How about sharing a comment?


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