You watch; my mother will probably get “bezzy” on a triple in one of our usual spirited Words with Friends games. So don’t tell her about the words that Scrabble now officially accepts, including:
- Augh: An interjection expressing frustration (shades of Charlie Brown!)
- Bezzy: Best friend
- Cazh: Casual
- Eew: Exclamation of disgust
- Emoji: Digital icons like :0
- Grr: Expression of anger or annoyance
- Lolz: The plural of LOL (laughing out loud)
- Pwn: To conquer (from the gaming world)
- Vape: Inhaling nicotine vapour
Not that Words With Friends sticks to official Scrabble words. As well as playing Words with Mom, I often go up against Solo Play, which is basically playing a computer rather than a friend. It regularly throws out words that it claims are “a valid Words With Friends word” but “Sorry, no definition is available at this time!” Thus words like toited, gae and netty. Whaaa?
I used to just look for one word and try to open up new parts of the board with both Scrabble and Words With Friends. After playing my wily Mom, though, I realize that there is way more strategy involved. Here is some of what you need to know to play Mom’s Cutthroat Words/Scrabble:
- Learn as many two-letter words as you can. “Qi” (another way of saying “chi,” or vital life force in Chinese medicine) is one Mom and I lay on each other any chance we can. If possible, save it for a triple word or triple letter space. Other good ones are jo, xu, za.
- Create “decks” where multiple words overlap and form new words. Two-letter words are particularly important here. See the image above for an example.
- Learn words that use no/few vowels and no/few consonants. Examples are brr, hmm, pfft, shh; adieu, moue, etui, queue.
- Add to existing words using prefixes (anti-, im-, re-) and suffixes (-ish, -ing, -ed)
- Try not to set your opponent up. Guaranteed if you play a word where you opponent could add an S or D, then put a new word on a triple word score, he/she will have exactly the right letters to do so.
- If you have a chance to cover a double/triple word square, do so, even if you don’t have high-scoring letters. You’re blocking a possible bigger score from your opponent.
- A dictionary is helpful to have on hand, or there are online sources for Words/Scrabble help. You can also check the Scrabble website to see if a word is official.
- In Words With Friends, even if you don’t think it’s a word, try it. I’m often surprised by what’s accepted. (In Scrabble, be prepared to be challenged on iffy words. If the word proves to be invalid, you must remove it and your play counts as a pass.)
Do you play Scrabble or Words With Friends? What are your secret strategies?