Even as a professional wordsmith, I lose in Words With Friends a lot to some highly strategic friends of mine who I swear are making up words. These strategic Words With Friends Tips are tricks I’ve seen done to me that make me want to reach through my phone. However, two of those friends are lawyers. Instead of reacting violently, I just use them on the next unsuspecting opponents.
Defense Wins Games. My friends have sacrificed high scoring opportunities and instead occupied tiles where I could have made a sizeable comeback. An opponent can come back really quickly if high scoring letters are still out there and there is plenty of tile space to work with. I’ll do all I can to put the most difficult letter combinations those spaces. Another defensive trick that’s been pulled on me is to spell long, low scoring words to occupy space instead of holding out for a high scoring opportunity.
Letter Distribution. While I haven’t seen an official letter distribution chart for Words With Friends, I used to think it was the same distribution as Scrabble. There is only one Z, one Q, one X and so forth. However, there are actually five S’s instead of four and 13 E’s instead of 12. When the score is close and the letter count is in the twenties, knowing what’s left becomes critical game strategy. That’s when you should start assuming that your opponent will get the best available letters left. For example, if there’s an empty triple letter spot next to an O or an A and the X hasn’t been played yet, it’s better to fill it up for cheap points then to take the chance that your opponent will get the X.
Dump The Q. I’ve made this mistake many times over. When you get the Q, dump it as soon as possible. It’s rarely worth trying to keep and hope that you can place it on a Triple Word Score block. Most people try to keep the Q in hopes for one of four Us. But by doing that you will always prevent the possibility of scoring a Words With Friends Bingo since you are keeping that Q. That’s also one less better tile you could get for every subsequent turn. Instead, play it quickly on an open “I” for “QI” or “QIS”. Also consider words like “QAT”. And if the rest of your Words With Friends letters aren’t too good and there are plenty of tiles left, exchange it.
Empty The Rack. If you see a board full of open vowels and not many big letters have been played, exchange your rack or start spelling long words to get them, even if it means you’ll score low points or lose a turn. It’s likely that your opponent doesn’t have them. With lots of vowels on the board and empty spaces around them, you can build your points quickly with a well-placed J or X next to an O and so forth. I once had an opponent place the letter X on a Triple Letter Score spot to score 56 points against me with one tile.